Dave Mott

Hi, I’m Dave Mott: a dad, husband, illustrator and designer. My illustration work is featured on my blog MonkeyWorks.org and my professional work can be seen on my portfolio.

I’ve been designing for 10 years, doing mostly site designs. I was always drawing as a kid and I never stopped. I studied graphic design and illustration in college, but the real learning came from jobs that I liked and even jobs that I hated.

What inspires me these days is the balance of design and illustration as seen in the works of Mary Blair. There are so many great artists doing amazing work like A. Micah Smith, Jon Klassen and Tad Carpenter.

Also, illustration has a rich tradition. If you go through everything from vintage magazine ads to book illustrations, it’s really inspiring.

I draw it out first. Starting with sketches and sometimes just keeping them as drawings if I’m happy with them. But in the process, I’m always researching. It’s so important to keep in mind that history of illustration when I’m creating something.
Some of your work is a play on existing design or pop culture references.

My process is a mess, just kidding. Since there are different problems to solve, the process can differ. It always starts with sketches. I spend most of the time on sketches, just trying to get it down and in the right direction. Everything evolves out of the original drawing, even if it looks different in the end. Next, I’ll work on rendering it. Depending on the goal, I’ll do it completely analog on paper or get it digital if that’s the end goal. I always try to carry paper and traditional elements in everything. If an illustration needs to be digital, there are always parts that are hand-drawn or painted.

A nice textured paper, pencils and eraser pencils. Digitally, Illustrator and Photoshop are my go to programs. Also, Manga Studio is a great drawing program that allows me to be spontaneous with the line work.

Self-initiated projects are personal. They should come from things you enjoy. For me, it goes back to childhood. Star Wars was a huge part of that, and it was a large part of childhood for so many kids. Especially growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The 1970s are rich with imagery and lifestyles that I could draw on forever. The Star Wars characters are so well-known, it’s easy to delve into to creating a different perspective on them.

 Art is life.
I’m lucky enough to get to capture moments from it and that some people may want to see it.

You gotta love this. Thick skin, like an armadillo’s Kevlar vest. The love will help feed the work ethic. I know hard work sounds cliché but it’s true.

Respect people. You’re going to be on both sides of this one.

Mentor: Tons of virtual mentors who I haven’t met, but hope to someday. My painting professor, Al Bright, who taught me so much about seeing things differently.

Most inspirational book or artwork: I enjoyed the “Perfect Bait” by Bobby Chiu. Oh, and “Cartoon Modern” is an amazing book.

Inspired artwork by what I see on blogs like Drawn, Cartoon Brew. Anything created by Mary Blair and the Provensens [Alice and Martin].

Music that gets you in your zone: Fleetwood Mac. Any day, all day

One reason you love what you do: I get to create things for a living. It wouldn’t matter what I did for a living, I’d still want to draw everyday.

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