Interview With Illustrator Greg Andrews

  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork
  • Greg Andrews artwork

Interview With Illustrator Greg Andrews

– Comiccoverage.com met with the creative and skilled illustrator Greg Andrews at Ignition INK...Greg Andrews is a Fantasy/Pinup Illustrator based out of West Central Florida. He has spent over twenty years working in the commercial art field doing everything from murals to architectural rendering. His career started in painting custom vans at the end of the Van Craze. He moved from there to paint tee shirts on the gulf beaches for nearly fifteen years. He took a break and moved to the south pacific in the tradition of many artists of the past, Guam to be specific. Upon returning he went to school to learn computer design and illustration and has become a masterful photo manipulator and digital artist.

Greg Andrews still prefers the old school traditional techniques on his personal work though. He worked in house for years doing tee shirt art but always felt restricted, never being able to expand. He’s now branching out doing what he’s done as a hobby for years. Fantasy/Pin up and even a little Hot Rod Art. He has turned his love of the Gulf of Mexico and beautiful women into paintings of Beautiful Mermaids. He was published on the rear cover of the November 2009 Heavy Metal Magazine and has done posters for two Palm Harbor Parrot Head Parties and two Taste of Palm Harbor Festivals. He also painted the ceiling in the foyer of the renovated Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton, Florida. Over the years he has developed a style that is unique to him and that isn’t the same old Florida art that has become so common. Greg Andrews said, “Sometimes we need to step outside the lines and traditions of the past and move things in a fresh direction.” You can see more of Greg Andrews work at www.gregandrewsart.com and www.facebook.com/GregAndrewsArt/.

It was great to get to know the talented Greg Andrews and to have the opportunity to learn more about him and his amazing artwork. We hope you enjoy the following interview as much as we did.

comiccoverage.com C.C): Greg Andrews, you have been creating art for some time. What is your favorite medium that you’ve worked with?

Greg Andrews (G.A): That would be airbrushed acrylics on watercolor paper. I’ve tried several other techniques from pencil to oils but nothing gives me the same look. Oils were the worst for me. I have this bad habit of putting my hand on the paper when I’m working so all I did was end up with a pinup surrounded by smudges and hand prints. I’m currently going back and digitally repainting some of my old pencil pieces that I did during lunch when I was at school to make them more marketable.

C.C: You mentioned that you used to do custom automotive painting, what is the most outrageous custom paint job on a van or vehicle  that you painted?

G.A: The most outrageous was actually on the hood of low rider truck back in 1990. One of the rich teenage kids on St. Pete Beach, where I was painting shirts, wanted me to paint a sexy girl with the earth behind her on his black truck. The truck was called Down 2 Earth. I painted a pic of hot girl in a T-back space suit sitting on a space scooter on the hood. It was a beautiful piece and took several awards but dear old dad wasn’t too happy. I was a little nervous at first but it all cooled down when he started winning shows. I did a pink panther on a truck that took best of show in the state of Florida that same year.

C.C: I really would love to see that space girl on the truck. The tee shirt painting on the beach sounds a lot like a dream job. What is your fondest memory at that job?

G.A: In many ways it was the working hours. I worked form  3 pm to 10 pm. I had time to do the things I needed to do during the day. All the beautiful beach girls were pretty great as well. But one of my coolest memories is of a family from outside of Toronto Canada. They came down every year for like 10 years. The last year that I saw them I ended up inviting the oldest son and his girlfriend over for a few beers. Great People all together.

C.C: I imagine that Guam would be a very inspiring location for an artist to live. Did you receive any direct inspiration for your artwork while living there?

G.A: Aside from all of the strippers I hung out with on  the beach everyday, it was the Asian influence on my work. I became very detail oriented at that time. It was a beautiful place and would have stayed there if the money didn’t run out. Luckily I was staying with my brother who was stationed there on the Navy base at the time. If Florida had the Cliffs and mountains that they have on Guam it would be the perfect place. But it’s still pretty damn close. I love living here.

C.C: You said that you prefer the old school techniques on your personal work. Do you mind sharing a few of those techniques?

G.A: One of my personal beefs with digital art is that 99% of it all looks the same. Like it was all done by the same person. The second is that with digital art you will never ever hold the original piece in your hand. I go back to the days before anyone even knew what a computer was where art and design were concerned. Back then cut and paste meant that you literally cut out paper and pasted it on another piece. It was called paste up. That’s where I leaned in the first place. When I left the beach I started working as an in house artist doing several different types of art. We used a thing called a stat camera to enlarge and reduce the art. Consequently everything had to be tight with good contrast so the camera would read it properly. So I learned I had to use a bit of masking to keep my edges tight. I use the same techniques today.

I’ll trace my work onto  the paper via a light table. I’ll then prime the paper with gesso. After letting that dry overnight, I’ll give it a light scuff with  a 180 grit sanding pad. Very lightly though, just enough to take down any high spots or bumps. Then I’ll stretch my masking paper over the whole piece and cut out the areas to be painted. I’ll remove them usually background first. Especially when I’m doing something with an intense background. I’ll put a base color down and then detail on top of that starting with the airbrush. Then I’ll put in some details with a fine brush then do some fine feathering with the airbrush. I use a Paasche Vision by the way. The guys at Paasche are the greatest. I work backwards from most artists. I work light to dark and then I work in the highlighting from there. I like the paper because it’s easy to store and great to trace on to via the light table.

C.C: Wow. That sounds like such a tedious yet rewarding process. So now that you have found your Zen in painting Fantasy/Pinup, what would you say your favorite piece in that collection would be?

G.A: I don’t know if I’ve found Zen exactly, but It’s much nicer than having some over stimulated art director breathing down my back. Hmmm. Favorite piece. I would have to say Freedom Fighter. If I could do work like that all the time I probably would hit Nirvana. It was a mind masher to do though. The piece that’s most loved universally is Summer. It’s my second fave and my most popular piece to date.

C.C: How long is the painting process from beginning to end?

G.A: Something like Freedom Fighter could take up to eighty hours to complete. The layout time is the worst. Mermaids take on average about twenty hours or two to three days.

C.C: I must say, I love your artwork, but the Mermaids are absolutely stunning. It seems like the possibilities are endless with possible fan art. Is there a themed Mermaid that you would like to paint?

G.A: That’s a good question. I’ve done a cop, firefighter, cowgirl and a Harley Quinn {fin) I’ve had few requests to do a Poison Ivy. Maybe I’ll do one of those. I’m currently going to be working on a set that are in a fetish pinup style. We’ll see how that goes.

C.C: You have had several pieces of your artwork published and on public display. It must be pretty awesome to see your work and think, ” I did that.” Have you ever experienced a moment like that?

G.A: I was really happy to get published on the rear cover of November 2009 issue of Heavy Metal. Doing murals in public places has always been great. The Bishop Planetarium was fun.

C.C: If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be?

G.A: It would be here. I’ve been around the world a bit. In spite of any flaws it’s a great place to live. As much as all the “transplants” may complain, you don’t see many of them leaving. Also St. Pete is developing into an art Mecca.

C.C: You are a very talented artist with some amazing experience. What are some tactics that you would recommend to hone your skill and continue to progress in your artwork?

G.A: To just keep improving. The better I get the farther I need to got to achieve my goal. I’m seeing things much better now than I have in the past. I look back on the work that I did while on the beach and I realize that I’ve come a long way.  But I still have a long way to.

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