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Interview with Jason Chan

Jason Chan was a typical kid growing up watching movies like Terminator and Aliens and playing video games like Mega Man and collecting X-Men comic books.

June 8, 2005 | Stryker


Name: Jason Chan
Chan, Evil Gerbil King

LOCATION: California, USA
Student, Illustrator
Currently studyding at the Academy of Art in San Francisco

OS: Windows XP

PROGRAMS: Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter.

HOBBIES: Art (surprise), Video/Computer Games, Movies, Anime, Manga, Sci-fi/fantasy novels, eating, sleeping.

FAVORITE ARTISTS: Too many… Juno Jeong (Lineage), Hioroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal), Yoji Shinkawa (Metal Gear Solid), Akihiko Yoshida (Final Fantasy Tactics, FFXII, Vagrant Story), Range Murata, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Brom, Gil Elvgren…

FAVORITE MOVIES: Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, Battle Royale, American Beauty, Terminator 2, Aliens, Saving Private Ryan, Figth Club, Gladiator, Matrix 1.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Lord of the Rings, Heroes Die, various Shadowrun book, R.A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms books.

Click on image to view BIG size
Click on image to view BIG size
Click on image to view BIG size
Click on image to view BIG size

Please introduce yourselves.

Hi, my name is Jason Chan. I’m a student and freelance artist here in California.

How do you spend your free time?

What free time? Lol. Well, when I get a moment to relax, I like to read, watch movies or anime, and play video games.

How did you get engaged with creating art and when did you realize this was the direction you had to follow?

I’ve wanted to be an artist pretty much my entire life. I think the moment I realized that this could be a job (probably as a little kid), I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was always drawing video game characters out of my instruction booklets and Gamepro magazines. I also tried to make up my own characters to go into those games. How cool would it be to do that for a living?

Where have you learned to draw, did you receive any formal education or are you self-taught?

I learned all over the place. Both of my parents, as well as some of my uncles all have artistic talent. They were my first teachers. Then around fifth grade, I believe, I began to take private lessons. I took those for a few years and then some art classes during summer and in high school. During highschool I began frequenting online art forums and using those as inspiration and learning from people there. Now I’m attending art school at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I still frequently visit art forums to keep learning while I’m not at school and see what other people are up to.

Do you have a personal favourite piece in your gallery?

Not really. I like each image for different reasons. At the same time, I dislike each image, aswell. I’m never %100 satisfied with an image. I’m always thinking, "that could be better" and then next time I paint, I keep that need to improve in mind and I try to take my work up another level. Then that new work becomes a favorite because, theoretically, it should be better than my previous work. Theoretically.

What software programs do you use for your work and why?

I use Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. I love Painter for it’s brush functions and papers. It feels much more natural than Photoshop. However, Photoshop has superior layer systems, color manipulation, etc. Everything except the brushes. What I would really like is a hybrid of the two programs so I don’t have to keep switching between them…

What are your techniques and or methods to produce a solid 2D piece?

Wow, that’s a big question in a small sentence. Basically, I start with an idea. Next step is to find a good composition. I normally doodle a lot making scribly shapes until I find something I like. From that I start defining it into a more comprehensive line drawing. I don’t normally work with a super tight line drawing because I tend to change things when painting anyway. I take the drawing I have created and bring it into Painter, where I begin to add colors to it. I paint like you would paint with oils. I don’t usually use a million layers. I used to use a layer per color when I first started, but I’ve become more confidents since then. Now I just use layers to test things and then just flatten it when I feel it looks good. I just keep painting until I feel it looks finished. I might take it into Photoshop to adjust colors and contrast if I feel it needs something. Of course, there is much more involved in this whole painting process, but that would take forever to explain in detail.

Tell us what is necessary to begin with before creating a piece. Describe the process!

Most important is your idea. What are you trying to say with your image? This idea has to drive your image. Also, you need inspiration. Trust me, you don’t want to work on an image without inspiration. This happens to me sometimes when I’m commissioned to do something that I wouldn’t normally illustrate. It quickly becomes "work", which is not good. So inspiration is key! I can’t stress that enough. You need to learn to love your work, even when you hate it. Also, you need a plan. How are you going to make this image? What does it look like? Do you need any references? This way you have an idea of what you are going to do and the process should go smoother.


Click on image to view BIG size
Click on image to view BIG size

What settings do you use (image size, mode, resolution etc.) when you are producing a piece?

This really just depends on what the piece is for. If a client needs a print quality painting, I work at 300 to 600 dpi. If it’s just web graphics, I don’t need to work that high. For myself, I normally work above 300dpi just in case I want to make large prints.

How long do you work on a piece?

Anywhere between a couple of days to a couple of months. It all depends on the project. I used to be able to do pieces in a single day, but my style has become more involved since then.

What kind of monitor do you have and what type do you want to have?

I have a 17 inch LCD. I wouldn’t mind having a bigger one, though.

Do you sell your pieces online?

I have prints for sale on my website: www.jasonchanart.com (shameless plug). I also take commissions. Since I work digitally, I have no physical works to sell, unfortunately.

What are you plans for the future?

Well, I’m really just beginning my career. I haven’t even finished school yet. My interests definitely lay with movies and games so I’m hoping to find myself working to produce some nice titles in the future. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for the conversation.

It was my pleasure

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