Allen Douglas was educated at Syracuse University and has been freelancing as an artist for almost twenty years for many notable editorial and book publishing clients, including Penguin Putnam, Tor, Berkley, Random House, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Harcourt, Little Brown, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Bookspan, Weekly Reader, and Realms of Fantasy.
What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?
I have to say that my artwork appearing on a beer bottle has to be right up there… more so than the many book covers and competition appearances that I have been part of.
What are you currently working on?
Three fantasy book covers, a holiday animal mutant painting, and a wildlife painting.
How’d you get started as an artist?
I just never stopped creating artwork after crayons were placed in my hand as a child. Professionally, I studied to be an illustrator, so it was a lot of just sending my work out in the form of postcards to clients and slowly building up a respectable client base with better and better assignments over the years. Only recently have I started bracing out with my independent work.
Who or what influences your art?
Mostly nature. I often turn to folklore for the concepts of my work and distort size relationships, environments, or the animals themselves to create visions that are truly unique, while at the same time paying homage to animals’ natural physical attributes and behaviors. To a lesser extent I will also create paintings of animals as they exist today in their natural environment… sometimes the creatures of planet Earth need no embellishment.
What is your creative process like?
Ideas come to me usually when I am going about my business doing mundane tasks. I will then let the concepts gestate in my mind until they crystalize. Then it’s a matter of creating many very rough sketches until I work out the composition and lighting. This is followed by reference gathering… usually I will use my own photographs to support and help formulate my ideas. Then it’s just executing the final painting based on all of my research… this is done in acrylics at first and then sometimes I feel the need to switch to oil paint. There is nothing I can put my finger on that triggers this switch, just a gut feeling.
How do you feel our Art + Brewing initiative can benefit emerging artists?
Any exposure to artists is a benefit. One can not rely on any one venue to showcase your art. When one avenue for your work experiences a downturn, there is hopefully some other areas that help keep you afloat.