Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Q + A: Isaac Orloff

Name: Isaac Orloff
Age: 24
Location: Baltimore, MD

Q: How and when did you first become interested in art and illustration?

I was lucky enough to be born into a family with two illustrators for parents. So as long as I can remember, I have been encouraged to draw and be creative. I specifically became interested in visual development for animation my senior year of college. I had never even heard of the genre beforehand. Pretty hard to believe.

Q: Do you have a strategy for starting a project? Any warm-up rituals?

I really struggle starting new projects sometimes. I don't like to half-ass things and finding time to do personal work can be rough. I recently did a pretty lengthy write up on my workflow on my blog..located at No warm up rituals, but usually I like to draw after doing some physical activity. After a bike ride or a hike. It allows me to mellow out quickly and I also don't feel like a slob for sitting in a chair for the next 8 hours straight.

Q: Can you briefly explain your illustration process?

As most artists do, I start out with a sketch. I used to sketch with pencil but now i sketch in corral painter on a cintiq. Usually the cintiq21ux, but sometimes the smaller one. ( I highly recommend the larger one for any digital artist) After completing a sketch I will bring it into photoshop. I usually have a pretty good idea of the mood I am looking to accomplish for the piece, so i take some time to locate some visual reference for lighting and color. Once my material has been assembled I like to build the piece from background to foreground using vector shapes. After this I use a series of multiply layers to darken shadows and textures. Once the main colors have been blocked out and shadows added, I will then add more layers over the top with more traditional digital painting brushwork. I enjoy the hard edges of vectors but sometime they need to be softened up a bit. That's mostly it!

Q: What was your first illustration gig? Did it go smoothly?

My first big illustration gig was working for a studio called " Digital Kitchen" in NYC. We created a piece for the US Census Bureau titled "Living Mural" . It was a real eye opening experience. I was so excited and so nervous, I went out and purchased expensive clothes to make sure I looked professional. While sitting in my first-ever meeting, I looked around and I was the only one in the room not wearing a t-shirt. Not only was I completely over dressed, I had no idea what many of the terms were that were being used freely in the meeting. Jotting things down, looking them up on my iphone when no one was looking. Somehow I managed to fend off any unfamiliar questions. We hand painted nearly 200 frames of animation in 2 weeks in the freezing cold. It was rough, but an amazing experience. Thank you Danielle Amaral, Bryce Wymer, and Josh Laurence!

Q: Do you think your first illustration jobs came more from promoting yourself or from knowing people and having connections?

I think those things go hand in hand. By making connections you are promoting yourself. Getting your name out in every way possible is key if you want to be successful in this industry. There is a lot of talent out there in the world, but every little connection counts. Its all about knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. When I was avidly searching for freelance work, I made it a rule for myself to do one thing to promote myself everyday. It could be email a producer or give someone a print as a promotion. Anything helps.

Q: What is your ideal project you’d like to work on?

One word… PIXAR

Q: You were one of our original contributors and worked on some of our first themes. Now that our blog is almost 6 months old what comments can you make about it's growth. Are there any new themes you would like to see thrown into the mix?

It is fantastic! I wish I had more time to contribute. Im hoping early 2012 I will be able to do more personal pieces. I would like to see the base of artists continue to grow in the same fashion. Showing peoples' process would be a neat addition. It really is a fantastic blog.

Q: What are a few favorite pass-times aside from making awesome illustrations?

Walking my dogs, mountain biking, painting, photography, hiking, interior design/buying furniture, traveling

Q: What is the most inspiring thing about where you live? People, scenery, environment, etc? What’s your favorite thing about your location?

Being so close to a city environment and the woods. I need a good dose of both on my life on a daily basis. Baltimore provides that for me.

Q: What are you currently working on – a job, a personal piece? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I'm working on an unreleased game at ZYNGA. A mural design for a theme park as well, and some other nonsense.

Q: Is there anything we should know about you or your illustration work?

I love drawing…I love networking..lets work together! Contact me at:

Check out more of Isaac's amazing work on his blog, and website.

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