Brandon Steele was born in 1988 and raised in California which a fairly simple childhood. His single hobby, when he was two-years-old, was coloring and watching cartoons. When he got a little older, that coloring turned into drawing, which Brandon did passionately all the way through high school, and he still watched cartoons. Brandon dabbled in sports and other social activities, becoming really involved in Church. His spiritual identity helps to inspire him now as an artist. He still lives in California, striving to grow as an artist and develop as a professional. Brandon really enjoys painting “en plein air,” painting outdoors and responding to nature. He still enjoys sports, both as a fan and a participant (particularly tennis), old cars, old architecture, and spending time with friends and family. It was a pleasure for us to take an interview with Brandon Steele and we wish you a pleasant viewing of Brandon Steele illustrations.
AP: Brandon, thank you very much for coming. We are happy to see you here and glad to take an interview about your illustrations. Hope you will enjoy our questions. Could you please tell me what got you started?
Brandon: I have been producing commercial design work since 2004, and, upon graduating high school in 2006, I immediately found a passion in the visual arts through illustration. A mentor who was working toward his Master of Fine Arts degree, who was teaching me the basics of design during my Junior High years, pushed me into pursuing an art degree, myself. Throughout my collegiate career, I maintained a job as an in-house graphic designer at a church in Fullerton, California. During that time, my passions for the fine arts grew and by my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to work professionally as an artist. In May of 2011, I completed my schooling and immediately entered the market as a freelance artist. I am continuously working toward building a better professional network and getting my work out there.
AP: That is great start! Do you have any formal education in visual art or were you self-taught?
Brandon: I believe all visual art skill is self-taught to a certain degree, however I would not, by any means, be the artist I am today without the teachers and classmates I had at California State University, Fullerton, where I completed my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Art, with a concentration in illustration. I would not trade my formal training for anything.
AP: I agree that everyone contributes something to our lives. What genre are your illustrations?
Brandon: I like to jump around from genre to genre. I love historic, automotive, and aviation illustration. I am also passionate about visual development and concept art for animation and video games. I think my favorite genre is narrative illustration—something that could accompany a body of fictional text, telling a story in a single image.
AP: Yes, I’ve noticed that every of your illustrations has a story. And how would you describe your works?
Brandon: I would describe my work to be painterly, yet realistic. I love to push color in my work, utilizing it to create mood and invoke feeling.
AP: Brandon, what kind of equipment and techniques do you use to draw your illustrations?
Brandon: My work always begins in my sketchbook as tiny, rough, pencil or ink thumbnail sketches — at times, the sketches are almost unrecognizable. The point of this is to decide on a composition, vantage point, and general idea of the painting or illustration. Next, I create a more detailed drawing based on one of the sketches, deciding on direction of light, value, and overall feel. Depending on the medium, I may continue my illustration as a digital painting, doing color comps in Corel Painter. If I’m working traditionally, I may use watercolor. My final works are most often digital or oil paintings.
AP: Thank you very much for describing your creative process in details. I am sure your readers will find it useful. By the way, do you have a dream project? Tell us about it.
Brandon: No specific project comes to mind. If it involves drawing or painting, I’m excited to be a part of it.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
Brandon: The formula for success in my activity is persistence in developing my craft and sticking to the basics. Drawing, doodling, and sketching are keys in maintaining a strong artistic foundation. I love painting for no reason at all and simply taking the time to study color and light. My world easily becomes consumed by a need to create, and I never stop looking for work or ways to grow as an artist.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Brandon: My entire family has been very supportive of my artwork and my decision to pursue a career in illustration. My friends have done all they can to help support my creative process as well, volunteering time to be models, critics, and by being fans of mine at any art shows. Last but not least, my beautiful girlfriend of several years has been my biggest supporter of all. Visual art is a continuous, life long process, requiring loved ones around you who understand that process and can encourage and push you.
AP: Could you please give any piece of advice for those who try to discover their talent and cultivate it?
Brandon: Draw! Draw a lot! Draw anything. Draw everything. Always carry a sketchbook or a pad of paper. Try different mediums and find out what you are passionate about. Let the personal and spiritual nature of creating visual art flow; if you feel inspired, draw or paint and discover your own creative process. It is also a great idea to research past artists and illustrators, learn their techniques, and study their work.
Thank you very much, Brandon for such an interesting story about your illustrations. We wish you great inspiration and continued success in all your endeavours. To learn more about Brandon Steele illustrations feel free to visit his personal website or Facebook page. If you’ve got any comments feel free to leave them in the comments section.