Interview: Rob Draws Pictures for Money – Rob Daus

Rob Daus is a genre defying artist who has a range of influences, such as Manga and Marvel Comics. You can catch up with him on facebook at Rob Draws Pictures for Money.

Joker Watercolour

Hey, Hows it going?

I’m good, thanks.

Thanks for chatting with us. When did you start drawing?

 I’ve been drawing since I was little, but I’ve been doing it professionally for about two years.

Have you studied art, and where did you study?

Not really. I did art at high school. I studied marketing, but it was so unbearably dull that I ended up really focusing on art because drawing was more fun than taking notes in lectures. That was around about the first time people actually started to suggest it as a career rather than a hobby

I had assumed from the quality of your work that you have studied art. Have you ever done any exhibitions of your work?

Thanks. I don’t think I’d have done well if I had gone to art school because I’ve always had issues in academic pursuits with being told what to do; especially when it comes to something as creative as art. I’ve not done an exhibition yet. It’s something I plan to do in the future with my original work. Most of what I do at the moment is based on existing characters I wouldn’t feel right exploiting those brands to big up my own name. Also, I’m pretty sure I’d be sued into oblivion by Marvel and DC’s legal departments.

Haha. I am not great with authority either. That’s why I work as a freelancer. How would you describe your art style?

Yeah, I think it’s probably also the reason I’ve ended up self-employed. I don’t know really, other people tell me it looks like certain styles, but I’ve got such a mish-mash of inspirations that what I draw one week will often bear no stylistic similarities to what I do the next. Trying to lock down my own style is something I’m working on, but I like experimenting, so it could be a while before I have a concrete answer for that one.

I really like your watercolour of the ‘Evil Joker’. Could you tell me a bit more about what inspired it? Which Batman film it was?

Yeah, sure, it wasn’t really any of the films. I’m told the actual design I used with the hooks holding his face on is based on the New 52 Joker design, but to be honest I really didn’t put that much thought into it. I was frustrated at the time because I felt like everything I was drawing looked really boring. My Joker drawings looked like the Joker and my Spider-Man drawings looked like Spider-Man. So I decided I would try to do some sketches where the features were as exaggerated as possible, in a caricature style.

Obscure

What projects are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m just trying to finish of some prints I’d forgotten about. There’s also talk of some collaborations with other lovely artists I know. I swore this would be the year I finally started working on my own comic but that’s a big commitment for someone who has trouble staying focused on a single task as I do.

A collaboration would be fantastic. Do you have any ideas about how you would theme the comic?

Yeah, I know quite a few of my art buddies who are looking at prospective careers inking other peoples stuff, but I really don’t play well with others. I have at least five or six different stories in my head that I would like to tell; all centred around the concept of immortality and how awful it would actually be. For some reason ever since I watched Highlander when I was about seven the idea of living forever has terrified me.

I would totally love to live forever. Have you ever done any pictures inspired by Highlander?

I have not, doing my own movie posters is something I’d like to have a crack at eventually once I get to grips with digital stuff. There’s a guy called Cakes and Comics online who does awesome stylised movie posters for stuff like Avengers Assemble and they are ridiculously good.

I have noticed that you work in different mediums. Do you prefer traditional mediums (like watercolour) or digital stuff?

I’m still trying to decide that, as it happens. At the moment, it looks like the future for me is going to be doing my lines in ink and then doing the colouring digitally. It’s just so much easier when you can adjust tones on a whim and completely change the colour palette of an entire drawing. I still like working with watercolours and charcoal, but digital gives me too many options to not make it my primary focus.

This is probably a big question, but where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m trying to think of the best way to answer this without sounding like a complete wanker, which is a common problem with me…I don’t really know how to explain it, I’ve always been able to look at things and see other things. It used to freak me out when I was little, because I’d see shadows and think they were monsters. The more I thought about it the clearer they got in my head but I guess in the long run that particular problem turned out to be quite lucrative. Now if I can just get my crippling fear of talking to women at bars to start paying dividends I’ll be set for life, even.

Do you think that you are inspired by the monsters and shadows in your head, as it were?

I don’t know really. I find inspiration in everything. I play a lot of video games and I enjoy it when they have unlockable concept art. I love seeing the creative process of other people and seeing what I can pick up from how they do things.

Optimus

Would you say that your work is inspired by Marvel and comic books etc? What do you mean by unlockable concept art?

I’m more inspired by manga and the Japanese side of things. I only really got into drawing a lot of comic stuff because it was selling better at the events I was doing. Some games let you unlock sketches and storyboards for cut scenes that show you how the artists help bring the game world to life. I think I’m probably the only person who gets really jazzed for that kind of stuff, though.

That’s really interesting. So you can access the original artworks that inspired the games…

What was your job before you became a full-time artist?

 Most of my jobs have been shelf-stacking, although I like to tell people I was a Stock Replenishment Engineer, but I did also briefly work in a little gallery learning how to frame pictures and canvases and stuff. That was good fun. I was also on the dole for a while before I got put on a work programme who sent me down this path.

 You mentioned earlier that you would like to do an exhibition in the future. Do you have any ideas for exhibition themes that you might come up with?

 Honestly it’s something I should do because it’d probably help me draw more stuff that would be cohesive for an exhibition. There was a Japanese guy once who made a video game called LSD which he based entirely around notebooks full of his dreams that he’d kept a diary of for several years. The game is really trippy and kind of broken but I loved the concept so I think I’d possibly do something like that if I can muster the discipline to stick with it.

Death II

Are there any particular artists that you like that inspire your work?

I’m a huge fan of Japanese artists like Takato Yamamoto –I’ve actually got an entire sleeve tattoo based on his work– and Tsutomu Nihei, who is like Japan’s answer to H.R. Geiger. I also adore Edward Gorey and horror artists like Junji Ito and Hideshi Hino. I could honestly spend hours listing all the artists that I fawn over.

Do you have any comic conventions coming up, or anything you would like to promote?

I have recently get involved in an upcoming horror anthology called The Grime. I think the first volume is coming out sometime this month. I submitted a design that’s going to be inserted between the stories for this volume, but hopefully in the next volume I’ll be getting to write and illustrate my own story.