Illustrator Sam Weber has become a household fixture in the industry in just six short years. Looking at Sam's work today, you would scarcely believe he spent the first couple of years of his career with relatively little work on the table, which makes his rise to success even more impressive.
Sam earned a BFA in Calgary, Canada where he met his wife artist Jillian Tamaki and continued on to earn an MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New Your City. He credits his time there with instilling within him a more independent attitude toward art. It also shattered some of his illusions about famous illustrators saying that living in New York rids you of being star struck pretty quickly.
Sam Begins by sketching out his ideas and then gathers reference material from a variety of sources. He stressed the importance of creating your own reference in order to control your vision. He frequently brings professional models into his Brooklyn, New York studio to shoot, ensuring that he gets exactly the pose and details he wants. Once the drawing is established, he uses a graphite transfer method to get the drawing onto his painting surface.
When building up value and texture, Sam employs many different tools to achieve organic results.He has a collection of natural sponges that he uses and also likes to press a sheet of Plexiglass into a wet wash to get random textures. Weber continues glazing wet into wet and building up values that retain soft edges and textures.As he gets more layers built up, the paint becomes dryer and he scumbles the paint more.
Throughout the demo, Sam threw out advice and hard gained wisdom to the group He said the sketching process is his favorite part because that is when all the potential still exists. The excitement swells and then sinks to uncertainty in the middle and then settles into relief at the finish when it all works out. Weber advocates setting aside time for personal work as the most interesting leaps and growth come from exploration.
After a little more than two hours of building up the acrylic washes, Sam then shifted to Photoshop for the finishing touches which is how he finishes nearly all his work. He scanned the image full size at 700 dpi. Using multiply layers, he continues with digital glazes of color to refine the value patterns and sharpen edges. Color dodge was used to achieve highlights toward the end. This was a fairly simple subject, so there were not a lot of tricky digital effects, but Sam will employ various selections and quick masks in order to get the effects he wants.