June 26th, 2012 | Published in Blog
This week for our artist interview series, we sat down with the amazing Matthew Skiff. Mr. Skiff is a freelance designer and illustrator who designed our current logo as well as the Lone Wolfs and Occultist designs from our current collection. You can check out more of his work at http://www.ithew.com/
First off, would you like to introduce yourself and explain what you do?
My name is Matthew Skiff, and I am from Denver, Colorado and soon to be living in Burbank California. I basically illustrate and design a bunch of wacky stuff every day.
What is your favorite part about being a freelance designer and illustrator?
This answer changes every time I’m asked. At this moment in time, I like the versatility of job commissions that I get. One day I could be working on a super simple logo type design, and the next day it could be a super detailed skeleton or comic strip style design. It keeps things interesting. Being able to pick and choose what designs I want to do, and who I want to work with is also a great plus!
How has your artistic style progressed since you began designing professionally?
As with all artists, style progresses as you continue to work and get older. I would say I am in the 3rd year of doing this kind of stuff and my style has changed a lot. When I started to get a lot of clients in the beginning, my style was more colorful and gorey. Now it is a little more streamlined, but I hope that it still keeps the same spirit of who I am and what I like. I’d like to think the designs have also progressed in terms of technicality and execution too, if not then I wouldn’t be doing a very good job.
What is your favorite subject to draw? Why?
Women would rank at the top of the list, just because of how challenging it is every single time. I always walk away learning something new with each piece, but with that comes frustration as well. The female figure is really hard to draw and still make it beautiful. There are so many curves and lines to it that if you draw something out of place, it looks strange. But if you can get it looking right, it’s worth the headache.
Any 80’s trend you wish would come back?
I’d like to see a lot of the fashion come back. I love how experimental people were in that decade when it came to fashion. Bright colors, heavy metal t-shirts…everything. However, the hairstyles can stay in that decade, yeesh!
What do you do when you aren’t at the computer?
Most of my time is spent in front of the computer. If not there, then I spend my time in front of the TV (haha) watching cartoons, or spending time with my girlfriend, family and friends.
We know you’re a big fan of classic video games. What’s your favorite?
It’s so hard to choose one, but I’ll spare anyone from having to read about the TMNT Arcade game or Perfect Dark for the millionth time. I don’t know if anyone would consider this game a classic, but my favorite video game is Kid Chameleon for the Sega Genesis. The game where this kid gets sucked into a video game and get’s special powers from these helmets that he wears. I can play that game over and over for hours and not get tired of it.
A genie gives you 3 wishes, what do you ask for? No asking for more wishes or genies!
Muscles (I am skinny)
The ability to each as much candy as I want and not get any cavities.
Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
Napoleon Bonaparte would be my favorite, just because he has that short-man complex that I can relate to. He appearance in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure further solidifies my feelings on him.
Best movie of all time?
This is a very touch question because there are so many favorites from specific genres, it makes it really hard to compare. I would have to say, John Carpenter’s The Thing. It a movie that still is great some 30 years later. The movie is still scary and suspenseful, the special effects still stand the test of time, and in my opinion, Kurt Russell is the best actor…ever.
Favorite thing about designing for Vicious History?
Chaz is a really easy person to work with. He gave me some direction and he was really open to changing things if it needed to be changed. It felt like a collaborative effort, and that’s what I look for in people/companies that I work for.
What would you end up being if you weren’t a freelance illustrator?
A Pizza delivery boy? Free pizza, right?
Who are a few of your favorite designers and illustrators?
There have been many that have inspired me throughout the years. On the top of that list I would say Bill Watterson, Tim Jacobus, Alex Toth, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Jim Lee, Frank Cho, Robert McGuinness, and Frank Frazetta. I wrote up a blog post a couple years ago on these artists: http://www.ithew.com/2009/12/influcences-and-inspiration/
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Teleportation. The ability to be anywhere, whenever you want in a split second would be amazing. No waiting in traffic, being able to see family, friends and places anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat. It would be wonderful.
If you won the lottery, what would you spend it on?
A big house with a lot of secret passages and slides…and then some old Ninja Turtle figures.
Who would win in a fight to the death? The Lone Wolf or The Occultist?
It’s a battle between brute and brains. However, I think the lone wolf would win, just because he’s hell bent on survival.
Anything else you would like to add?
I love what you are doing with VH, and I hope we get to work on more projects in the future!