I’ve joined deviantART about 10 months ago in order to connect with artists from all over the world – and it was certainly worth it! Since then, I’ve been following the artistic activity of many gifted people, one of them being Rob Harrison. His drawings are simply fascinating: expressive and beautiful in a subtle way. So I made an attempt to ask him a few questions and he was so kind as to answer them. See the results.
Rob about himself
Art is a passionate hobby for me at this point in my life. I own a digital printing company and that takes up a good bit of my time. It also puts food on the table. We do a bunch of printing for a lot of famous American comic artists. This is what got me back into drawing after a 14 year lapse. I tried to make a living as an illustrator right out of art school, but my wife and I had children and I had to try to make a more consistent paycheck. I still sell some stuff from time to time.
Did you already draw when you were a child? If yes, do you remember the subjects of your pictures?
I was always drawing as a child. I loved Spider-Man and Captain Marvel. I was very attracted to all the lines on Spider-Man. I still have a love affair with lines. I drew until I was about 14 and then I became very aware of girls.
Are your drawings more likely to be consciously based on a personal experience or rather to display something that is going on ‘underneath’ without you having been aware of it?
I think it is a little of both. Sometimes I have a very specific idea and I am very aware of what I am trying to say. Other times stuff just kind of falls out of my hand and it is not until later that I realize what I was doing. I am a very vivid dreamer so those wacky dreams creep in sometimes as well. I really try to stay out of my own way and not over think.
Would it be enough if you were the only one to look at your pieces?
I don’t think so. I feel like people draw things to somehow connect to other people. I think most artists want people to see their work… They may not admit it… but I think that most do.
I still have a love affair with lines.
Do you sometimes feel unable to start, continue or finish a drawing? If yes, are there any ways to cure such a block?
Yes! Yes! The only thing I do is try to not worry about it and practice. Maybe I will try drawing hands for a week or pick some part of human anatomy that is difficult. Sometimes you just have to let stuff come to you. I just try to make sure I am prepared to draw when I am ready to draw. Usually once I get started I finish. It was not always like that. I used to get really frustrated and that would cause me to give up on drawings all the time. The more you draw the more confidence you have. You also learn what works for you and what does not. So my only solution to those problems is to keep drawing… again and again and again.
Where do you think craftsmanship ends and art begins?
I don’t know. Some people think good craftsmanship is art. I really don’t know if there is a correct answer for that. I practice to try to be a better craftsman so my ideas won’t be so difficult for me to execute. I am constantly struggling to get better at my craft. For me personally, I lose interest very quickly with things that just look like they were hard to do but have nothing else to them.
What would you tell someone recognizing to be just one humble artist novice amongst hundreds?
The only thing you should worry about is getting better. Don’t worry about a ‘style’, do your thing and your personal style will happen naturally. Draw what you like. There is room for everyone.
~ Rob, I want to thank you kindly for your effort and for sharing your art – it means a lot! ~