As a young boy I always had the great opportunity to know a real live artist. Before I really knew of any famous artists both modern and historical I could look up to my uncle Dwight Donarski. He is a phenomenal illustrator that gave my parents a drawing of my brother and I of which they proudly hung on the wall. I was always amazed at his skill with the pencil and fancied that I could one day grow up to be like him. I still don’t think I have the technical skill that he empowers. He was the first to teach me shading with my crayons as a child and I have been encouraged and inspired by him ever since. I thought to share an interview I conducted with him so that others may be inspired by him as well.
I’m the younger one in this drawing from 1988:
What was the first creative or artistic thing you remember creating?
I think it was when I was in early grade school, I was outside on break and I was by myself. I was playing in the mud/clay and started modeling it. A teacher saw it and told me that it was very good, and showed it to other teachers. That surprised me as a kid.
What made you want to go into an artistic field?
Well, I always enjoyed drawing and working with my hands. I guess I just have a love for it.
What education have you received?
I have a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.
How did you first find work and what was your first illustration job?
Well, the job I currently have and have had for the past 20 years is not in my field. it’s in technical illustration (cad). Designing windows. Took the job to be close to family.
What made you go into a technical illustration field as opposed to something like advertising or even fine art?
Well, when I first went back to school, I applied for the Fine Arts Degree and was accepted the first time (not an easy task). After two years, much to the dismay of my adviser, I switched to a technical degree, (it’s all about, where will the money come from)
What was the most inspirational thing or moment in your life?
I don’t think it’s one thing or one moment, it’s a combination of many thinks that inspire us.
Who or what inspires you regularly?
Look around, everything inspires you. I had an instructor in college that told me something once that has always stuck with me, he was looking at one of my works and said “you see things many people don’t see”. cool!
What kind of materials do you use, are you still traditional or have you moved to the computer?
When it comes to fine art I’m strictly traditional. I’m not saying that are not great things created on computer, it’s just a preference.
Do you have a favorite work?
Well not a favorite, but I do love the old masters, Titian, DaVinci, Michelangelo.
Do you work from life or from photographs or a combination?
Well, I mostly work from photographs, basically because most of my work take so long. I do love to work with the live model (figure drawing) don’t have that option.
How long does it typically take to draw a portrait?
2 to 3 weeks, on and off of course. I take my time.
What would you suggest to an illustrator just starting in the field?
Practice, practice, practice. I believe it was once asked of Mozart “I wish I had your talent” his answer was, “if you play for 10 hours a day for 30 years you will”
And most importantly, cake or pie?
Pie, definitely…..humble pie!
Huge thank you to Dwight for answering these questions. If you have a suggestion on someone I should interview, drop a name or any other comment below.
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