Friday, August 31, 2007

THE INTERVIEW



Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?


I was born in Vancouver Canada and worked as a freelance cartoonist and advertising illustrator and had a previous career as a minor league baseball pitcher before coming to Los Angeles in 1978. I am the son of an artist and am self taught but have been very inspired by the work of Sports Illustrator Willard Mullin, editorial cartoonist Lew Saw, and the creators of Mad Magazine. I have been lucky enough to have spent the past two and a half decades in animation, principally with the Walt Disney Studios doing character design and working with some really talented people.



How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?


In the famous words of Joe Grant, "Look three times, think twice and draw once." Before I start to draw anything I research the character, study it's back story, do more research and more research and a little more research. I begin to see it clearly in my head and then just put it down on paper very quickly. I like quick sketches because they have an immediacy and a life in their first impression that you just don't get with a drawing that's been tickled to death. I just like the honesty and imperfections of the quick sketch.



What is a typical day for you?


I go to work to draw what someone else wants me to draw then I come home and draw what I want to draw and twice a week I go to Cal Arts to teach others to draw and any other time I am working with others to improve their drawings and designs. It's GREAT.



What are some of the things that you have worked on?


I have had my own syndicated cartoon, done advertising illustration and illustrations for books, published sketchbooks and created designs for animated shorts and feature films for TV, DVD and Theatrical release and recently created a line of online e-cards called AwdBallz.



Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?


I've always been very proud of the work I've done for John Musker and Ron Clements at Walt Disney on Fraidy Cat, Hercules and Treasure Planet.




What projects have you done in the past, and what are you working on now? (if you can tell us)


Frog Prince
Leaf Men
Joe Jump
Rapunzel
Fraidy Cat
Treasure Planet
A Few Good Ghosts
Dinosaur
Finding Nemo
A Bugs Life
Lion King
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hercules
Home on the Range
Fantasia 2000

I am currently very proud to be working on Illustrations for the Baseball Hall of Fame Educational Division and will be lecturing at the Hall of Fame about my process in October of 2007.








Who do you think are the top artists out there?


There are so many talented people out there right now it's really hard to say. Some of my students who graduated from Cal Arts are doing very well and I'm very proud of them.




Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?


I use a Stabillo 8008 pencil and sometimes ChartPak color markers.



What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?

I'm really just a quick sketch artist and the most fun is the exploration and the actual drawing part. The hardest part is the approval process.



What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?


I prowl around in used book stores looking at anything and everything.



What are some of your favorite character designs which you have seen?


I have never seen a bad drawing by Marc Davis.



What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?


Anything with a lot of character and back story. They are just more interesting to draw and to look at.



What inspired you to become an Artist?


I'm really just a quick sketch artist. It feels like I always have been.





What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?


Make sure the check doesn't bounce. But seriously, I have been very lucky to have worked with some of the best in the business and am continually amazed that there is still so much I get to learn.



What are some of your favorite websites that you go to if you have the time?


As I mentioned before, I prowl around used book stores and one of my favorite online haunts is http://www.book-by-its-cover.com.



What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?


Just draw!



If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?


I own my own design studio Digital or Not and can always be reached there.
http://www.digitalornot.com at info@digitalornot.com or I can be reached personally at rikmaki@excite.com. I'm here if you need me.



Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (Books, sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?


I have 7 self published sketchbooks that can be seen and purchased online at:
http://digitalornot.com/dig_books.htm.






They are also available at:
Carter Sexton 818-763-5050
House of Secrets 818-562-1900
Meltdown Comics 323-851-7723
Mile High Comics 1-800-676-6423
and Stuart NG 310-539-4648


And like I said I also have created a new line of video e-cards call "Awdballz". They are quick sketches done live and are free at: http://awdballz.blogspot.com
Check them out, share them and leave a comment. Thanks.