An interview with fantasy artist Robb Wallace
First off, it is hard for me to call myself a fantasy artist, maybe, for me easier to say, I am an aspiring fantasy artist. I am a fantasy author, and as a part of my author journey, I create art pieces to inspire myself, for promotional purposes and to help me conjure up the worlds I am describing. I come from Ayrshire, on the West coast of Scotland and I am happy to be here.
About Robb Wallace Artist. Tell us something about your art, including your genre and your style and/or themes.
I love drawing faces and landscapes. I am colour blind (a strong red/green deficiency) and because of this; I tend to draw in black and white and then block colour later. I also do a lot of photo manipulation and digital collage art.
BTW for those who are also colour blind, procreate can now label colours as you pick them and https://colorblindawareness.org/ has some great tools to assist, like chrome extensions and tools for the PC etc.
Where are you based?
I come from the west coast of Scotland. Famous for William Wallace and Rabbie burns.
Robb Wallace Artwork Examples!
Latest art pieces, commissions and upcoming works?
The main pieces I have been working on at the moment are all related to my upcoming epic fantasy book. Book cover, map, landscapes, CGI-generated faces etc. I think this will be my focus for a while. And when it is released, I am completely open to fan art!
What are you currently working on?
The main thing is the book cover. As we know getting this right is key. I used an AI-generated face to get past licensing a model’s face, the rest is a combination of photo manipulation and digital art.
What inspires you to create?
I do not think I have an answer for that. I am always creating, be it art, writing, music, or conspiracies hahaha. I just love to bring forth new ideas into the world.
When and why did you get into fantasy art?
I have always loved barbarians, spiritual ideas, different cultures and religious stories and from a young age was captured by fantasy films on TV and at the cinema. Conan, Willow, Labyrinth, Red Sonja, Crull etc and later reading comic books and graphic novels with similar themes open up my eyes to the incredible talent in the fantasy genre and I have been hooked ever since.
Who is your favourite fantasy artist?
To many new artists but some of the classics are Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, Christopher Lovell, Alex Grey, Alex Ross. These are the main ones that come to mind.
What are your favourite fantasy genres to draw?
I don’t have one, landscapes and faces and that covers almost every fantasy genre.
Who are some of your all-time favourite fantasy characters? And why do you think they became your favourites?
Conan, Druss, Kaladin, Skilgannon. The authors brought these characters to life and created larger than life beings worthy of being drawn. Hopefully, my characters, like Nanoc and Arran will get the same immortal love. If not I will draw him!
Do you follow any fantasy entertainment outside of art? (Books, Video Games, Boardgames, Comics etc)
Mainly books, I used to play various board games, but my main fantasy art fix comes from Instagram art feeds and books.
What’s going on in the next few months? Anything on the Horizon?
Yip, just publishing my first epic fantasy book and working through everything that needs to be done for that. You can keep up to date with it at https://www.robbwallace.co.uk/books/the-silence-in-the-song/
Was your upbringing pretty geeky?
I grew up on Star Trek and loved everything sci-fi, fantasy, esoteric, magical, and folklore. So I would say yes. Very alternative!
Why should anyone follow your art?
Why not 🙂
Do you read digital, paperback or hardback or do you listen to audiobooks?
All of the above.
What kind of books did you read that contributed to your upbringing, as far as fantasy and science-fiction?
Conan Robert E Howard, Raymond E Feist – The Magician. Ursula K Le Guin Earthsea Quartet, Game Of Thrones, Brandon Sanderson, and everything by David Gemmell and Dan Simmons. Also, read lots and lots of short stories and graphic novels.
Favourite fantasy genre?
Epic or Heroic. However, I do love a book that has themes of ancient mythology, reality, the occult, religion and spirituality.
Who are your favourite fantasy writers/ fantasy authors?
Same as above, still my favourites.
What is your favourite fantasy series and why?
David Gemmell’s Drenai series, with characters like Druss and Skilgannon wow. Amazing.
An author everyone should check out.
Me haha and David Gemmel.
The artistic process ( Inspiration, discipline, planning, software, editing)
Do you have a process, do you plan or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
Loose plan, then fly by the seat of my pants.
How has your artistic process changed since you first started drawing?
I think I have got slightly better. I think the main difference is I have invested in courses, software and hardware to assist me. In the beginning like everyone else, I was simply paper and pencil. I now have more kit.
How long does it normally take you to create a fantasy art piece, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?
Almost everything I create is done in a few hours. I make a rough outline, then refine it, then shade it all in black and white. Then I block colour and set transparency to colour, then I add some highlights. Just a simple process.
What is your favourite part of the creation process?
I love the initial idea and the excitement and possibility that comes with it.
Have your previous vocations influenced your art?
Yeah, my years working in the outdoors, inspires my love for landscapes.
Do you involve other people in your process, as collaborators etc? How do you make this work?
As far as art goes, what do you use? (Software, Apps)
For drawing, I use my Ipad and procreate and for all finishing work, composing and photo work I use Affinity Photo and What Color for picking colours.
As far as art goes, what do you use? (Hardware etc)
I use an I pad Pro and an Apple Pencil.
On the desktop, I use a Huion graphics tablet and Affinity Photo.
Do you do a lot of research for each piece? If so how do you conduct your research?
Yes, just my own reference images or Google photos.
How do you overcome blank creative spells?
I don’t get them.
A number of fantasy/sci-fi artists have been known to use art, music, exercise, alcohol and even drugs as a way to find inspiration to enter the zone! Do you use any tools to enter into your creative headspace?
Mainly sober, but occasionally a wee beer or two.
Do you prefer to create in silence and or have some sort of sound in the background?
Both, however, I create in silence most of the time but I do like music on occasion to inspire my mood.
Describe the road you took to distributing your first art pieces? And how that has changed.
Not a lot has changed, I just publish on social for friends.
What sort of input do you give to marketing?
For my books, I go hard but for fun art projects, I just push them up on social.
What do you do pre and post-release to help get your art get noticed?
I have a few books on marketing, they are cheap and full of practical advice. I would start there. (I market sports brands for a living.)
Marketing is so important nowadays, what’s your best advice to fellow artists?
Let people know you exist!
What legal advice can you give?
How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work?
For art on T shirts and prints, I use various Print On Demand Platforms and I just set the margins at 30%.
Must check Fantasy artists?
Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, Christopher Lovell, Alex Grey
Must check non-fantasy artists?
Alex Gray, saying that it is a kinda fantasy too.
Most prized fantasy art piece in your collection?
A few comic books of note. 1st edition barbarian Claw the unconquered, Conan, Wulf and a few others.
What are some encouraging words you’d give to another artist?
You can do it. Make it happen, and have fun. Yeah, art is fun, don’t compare, just have fun, get loose, be creative, and doodle.
Get in touch
@robbauthor on most social platforms
Any final words for the readers? (Anything, open platform, call to action, close the sale.)
Check out my debut epic fantasy novel if you are into that sort of thing. Stay awesome, be the change and live long and prosper.