One of the friendliest and skilled artists I’ve ever met at a convention would have to be Anthony Christou, an artist that brings amazing skills in landscape and character design to his fans and the public in general.
Anthony has been creating art for the last five years (and beyond), has a Patreon page (which I support monthly), and currently has a Kickstarter campaign for his brand new Worlds and Creatures – the Art of Anthony Christou. The book is 100 pages, hard cover and full of art of his last five years of publishing, video games, comic and film projects he has worked on.
I contacted Anthony to do an interview with MCA Studios to find out a little bit more about his background, his Patreon, as well as this new art book he is releasing soon.
(Doesn’t this look magic!)
So, the obvious question, how long have you been creating art, and how did you become the artist that you are today?
Well I have always been drawing since a child. In high school, I just noticed I had a love for it and I was lucky to have awesome art/design teachers that pushed me. I took weekend classes with the amazing Marjorie Hann one of Australia’s leading pioneering illustrators who worked on the Alice in Wonderland books in the 1960’s. She believed in me and said to pursue art as a career. Unfortunately I went into graphic design for a stable job and also cause of fear of my own failure for 8 years! But graphic design helped me later thankfully. I then in 2009 got a tutoring teaching job at UniSA in design. I started to train myself in illustration when I met Simon Scales the creator of CDWA.
I was training myself from 2009-2012 with the gnomonworkshop.com and doing a masters under Simon Scales. I then got my first gig in 2012 and left the uni and have not looked back since. In 2011 I won a few art awards and that gave me confidence. I did loads of freelance work in 2012-2013 but found I was limited and always waiting on money from slow paying clients. This is when I had the idea to not only work for clients but also sell my own art at cons and develop my own stories and original art ideas. Nothing is more satisfying than owning what you do and people supporting it.
What inspired you to become a full-time artist?
I have always wanted to do it I wish I started earlier to be honest. But having graphic design skills is great now because it helps to present my art professionally.
I think the big catalyst was I wanted to work for myself as I constantly found every job I got or career path felt very limited restrictive and boring. I kinda jumped in around 2012 it was sink or swim!
What inspired me is Legends like Brom who have been doing this for years and now are great artists making a great life style and living from doing what they love daily.
Where do you search for inspiration?
Everywhere really. Video games, movies, books, nature. I love bush walking hiking, travel and photography. I also love ancient legends mythology and stories. People also inspire me, my family, friends and the people I meet are in my stories. I try to tell their stories in comics.
Do you think there is such a thing as artists block, and do you ever get it?
I believe that when I paint I get hurdles in paintings. I would not call it a block. I just find I can get to a point in a painting where I know something is wrong but I cannot fix it or know how to solve it. I usually take a break, write a story or start a different painting. If I give my art time I then come back to it and solve it. I can work well under pressure but I prefer a more relaxed deadline to give me time to reflect. Reflection is a great thing to have with art as it makes art better.
I hear you have an interesting way of dealing with con-goers that try to take pictures of your art at events. Would you care to elaborate?
I find it incredibly rude, offensive and downright criminal if you take photos of an artist’s artwork without their permission. I usually jump in the photo and pull a funny face to annoy the photographer. 80% of the time people know they are doing something wrong because they run off. Some people do not know and are apologetic and end up buying art or signing up to my newsletter. But honestly if you can’t afford someone’s art go on their newsletter and grab a copy when you can afford it. Or help spread the word on social media about them.
I also have a hand drawn sign which has the eye of Horus and Greek evil eye and says it will curse people if they take photos. I do it as a joke but if someone really pisses me off I hope the ancients are listening!!!
(You can see his Eye of Horus sign right at the top of his stand)
Do you have any advice for artists who are struggling on their journey or just beginning?
It is incredibly hard. It is hard to give advice because everyone’s journey is so unique and different. All I can say is work hard, get good at art. Enter competitions, apply to work for clients. Try and be original and set yourself apart from other artists. I may look successful and to be honest I make a living from my art but it is a 6-7 day business. Treat your art like a business. Cost of Goods sold can really impact your income. I have had to cut costs and say no to opportunities cause I just know they would eat into my time. Do not do paintings for $100- $200 unless you know you can get it done in a day. Try and look for opportunities that are going to give you residual income. Patreon is great as is kickstarter. Build your own audience versus working for big studios. Or work for big studios that will give you exposure you need. Treat art as a business because it costs money to make it and exhibit it.
How would you respond to people who say to you, “I’ve seen you at Supanova/Oz Comic Con. I would like to buy your art, but I don’t have the money right now. How can I get it?”
Jump on my free offer I have online. On my website you can get a free comic, 20 page artbook, art video and wallpapers. It is my free offer newsletter. I have loads of cool stories from cons from my clients and project. I also have free stuff I give away plus discounted online offers.
You have successfully released two issues of the comic “Luminous Ages”, what is your next project for “Luminous Ages”?
Luminous Ages has had a popular card game released also. Presently we are packing cards and shipping them out to people. I am always working on the story and comic. I release 2 pages a month for the comic we are about 1/3 of the way into issue 3.
Do you have any current or upcoming Kickstarters we can know about?
Yes I am presently launching an Artboook on May 29th . The kickstarter runs until July the 4th. So jump in as soon as you can to get my book and other goodies. I have a few early bird deals and options.
How can we find out more about your Kickstarter?
Register on thunderclap
Also jump on my newsletter.
If people say “I can’t afford to back the Kickstarter right now, will there be a chance to buy the book at a later date?”, what is your response?
Well I only have 1000 copies of the art book as I cannot for the life of me find ways of storing a board game, trading card game and 2000 or more books, plus the art I have. So the idea is to sell as many as I can on Kickstarter. If they are all gone they are gone. However if only 250 books sell I will make it available on my store, I may take a few to comic conventions with me. But there is no guarantee. If you want to back the book you will not get charged until the end of the kickstarter which is roughly July the 4th . I am running a few early bird deals for the book or the book with a gaming mat or 2 copies of the book so get in while you can. I will be doing a $10 discount on the book for the early bird deals.
And finally, just for the interviewer, and other horror fans…I read that you worked on the art for Wolf Creek, what was that like, and can we expect some horror art (as well as fantasy and sci-fi art of course) in your “Worlds and Creatures, the Art of Anthony Christou” art book?
Well working for studios is always restrictive and to be honest hard work. All I can say is it was a good experience for me to get faster and better. I learnt so much from the experience. Presently I am still waiting for the “Territorial” film to come out, so it has been a nightmare waiting for the film to be shot (horrible horror pun). The experience was a good one and made me a tougher artist.
In terms of placing art I will need to ask Wolf Creek and Odins film for permission to use the art in a personal art book so it is highly unlikely. This is the problem with being a concept artist and working for studios they own your work, hence why I am working for more indie authors and smaller studios with higher budgets (they exist) and making my own art. I will have concepts I did for a short film Artifice in the book. I have other client work on show such as book covers for a horror book and other cool stuff. But in general I have other horror art I can show.
Also this book is about me more than anything and would prefer to build a name for myself for my own art and stories versus being that artist that has done x-men or whatever. I want to be known as the guy that paints epic worlds, dragons and tells amazing stories in comic book form!
I am a zombie and lovecraftian fan so horror will always appear in my epic worlds!
Here is my kickstarter profile so you can find out about all my cool projects.
So, in the words of Ian “Molly” Meldrum – “Do yourself a favour” – go to the Kickstarter page and pledge to get yourself a copy of Anthony’s book Worlds and Creatures – the Art of Anthony Christou now before the Kickstarter runs out of time.