VISUAL ARTIST & MARINE BIOLOGIST

FAQ

Below are Frequently Asked Questions that René has received. Use the navigation tabs below to locate questions by topic, then click on the desired question to expand/collapse the answer. If you have a question not answered here or want clarification, Contact René!

 

general  /  digital art  /  traditional art  /  advice  /  personal  /  permission


GENERAL

How long have you been drawing for?

I have been drawing since I was a toddler, essentially since I could hold a pencil. I'm currently 24 years old, so that's about 19 years or so. Like anyone else, I started with the usual scribbles and stick figures, and then progressed into drawing cartoon characters. I spent hours most days drawing, even from a very young age, which allowed me to improve on my skills.

Are you self taught?

Yes. I am completely self taught apart from taking art and design elective subjects in high school. Most of my learning comes from consistent practice, trial and error, observation, experimentation, imitation and online tutorials.

How long does each artwork take?

Each artwork varies considerably due to the size, medium or amount of detail in each piece. Larger works (e.g. A3-A2 size) take many hours longer than smaller ones (A4 or less). Traditional mediums on average take me longer than digital works, and traditional painting is probably the most time consuming. Finally, lots of detail or realistic components take more time and effort to complete. The amount of time taken for each artwork is notified in the artwork description.

Do you use references?

I do tend to use several references for my drawings, either from my own photographic sources or elsewhere. If it's a highly realistic artwork, I may heavily reference one or two references for the realistic components and go from there. In regards to my realistic Pokémon, I will reference heaps of photographs of many different animals and even research taxonomy or physiology. For my illustrative animals, I only use reference for the basic shape and anatomy of the animal, while all geometric shapes are completely drawn from imagination. Same goes for fantasy illustrations. If a drawing of mine is heavily referenced from one or two sources, I will credit the original photographer/artist in my artwork description.

Do you take requests?

No, I do not take requests in any circumstance.

Do you do commissions? If so, where can I find out more information?

I do take commissions! You can find out pricing information here and other important information regarding the commission process. A quick reminder that I don't have a waiting list and commissions do close often, so check back on my website or social media for updates on commission status.

Will you do an art trade or collaboration with me?

I do not do art trades.

I may collaborate with some artists (e.g. close friends), but I am picky. If you have a good idea that may work well as a collaboration, please feel free to contact me!

Do you sell prints/merchandise? How about original artwork?

I do sell prints. You can find them via my Society6 (or by clicking the "Online Store" link above). Please be aware not all artworks are available for print, and that originals may have prints available at my own discretion.

As for originals and limited edition prints, I do sell them on rare occassions via exhibitions or when I make announcements on my social media. Prices, framing and shipping is negotiated with the buyer and I will always send an original with a Certificate of Authenticity. You can see available originals here. In addition, if you are interested in making a purchase, please make sure you read the T&C's regarding the sale of original artwork.

What are your favourite/least favourite mediums?

My least favourite medium is traditional painting. I don’t mind acrylics and watercolours, and have only tried oils once so I don’t have a lot to say about it. I also dislike oil pastel. So messy! I am, however, trying to push myself to paint more and completed three watercolour pieces in a row in early 2016! My favourite medium would be pen/ink, colour pencil, brush markers, graphite and digital illustration. I have also used charcoal and dry pastel competently in the past as well.

What inspires you? How do you come up with your designs?

In my early drawings, I would often play with shapes and forms, particularly in my dragon designs. After drawing realism and fantasy for so long, I decided to incorporate both elements back in 2011, and thus my first illustrative animal, 'Dreamer,' was created. I would find a photograph of the animal that I wanted to draw, and just draw in the shapes to follow the contours of the animal's anatomy while taking on their own three-dimensional structure. The patterns and geometrical shapes in my work are inspired by forms and patterns found in nature, and to a lesser extent, man-made objects. As a scientist, I am constantly observing the morphology and symmetry in animals and plants. Other artists’ work, photography, music and dreams also inspire me, and often create a snowball effect for my ideas.

Who are your favourite artists?

If I had to pick one favourite artist, it would have to be M.C. Escher. His drawings are not only incredibly detailed, but the incorporation of mathematics, geometry and illusions in his work is very impressive. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know a lot about past art movements or the Masters apart from what I had to study in high school. This was partly due to my arrogance when I was younger to draw what I wanted instead of studying history, theory or other artists’ work.

My favourite modern artist changes almost daily. Nearly every artist I follow on social media has inspired me in some way.

How would you describe your style?

In regards to my illustrative animals, I used to call them "abstract illustrative animals" when I first started. I was then informed that I was using "abstract" incorrectly, so at the moment I've stuck to "illustrative." This particular style has been considered to be similar to ornate/mandala animals or biomechanical/steampunk animals: I consider them somewhere in-between. In the past, my work has been compared to the likes of Ian Macarthur or Ben Kwok ("Bioworkz") but I started this style before I was ever familiar with their work and don't particularly asspire to follow the popular "ornate" trend.

Will you provide feedback on my artwork?

I am generally more than happy to look at your artwork and provide feedback upon request. Do keep in mind that I will provide constructive criticism so if you're only looking for positive feedback/compliments, I will ignore your request.

Can you share my work/ do a share-for-share/ follow-for-follow??

I only share artwork that a) inspires me; or b) was drawn by close friends. I do this on my own accord and will feel less inclined to share your work if you've asked me (although I will look at it). This may sound harsh at first, but learning how to market yourself to an audience is an important skill for an artist. I don't have a massive following by any means, but I never once asked other artists to share my work to get where I am.

Under no circumstances will I do a "share-for-share" or "follow-for-follow" on ANY social media platform. Again, learning how to appeal to your audience is important. In addition, there are many accounts out there that strictly exist to share other's work: generally these accounts allow you to submit your work to them or to tag them in your posts. Asking for shares/follows on single artist's posts is rude and attention-seeking. I remove all comments on my artwork that ask for shares/likes/follows for this reason. Repeat offenders will be blocked and reported for spam. Thank you.


DIGITAL ART

What program do you use for your digital illustrations?

I use Adobe Photoshop for all my digital artworks. Currently I use Photoshop CS5, but I have also used CC, CS2, Elements 2 and Elements 7 as well. I have about 13 years experience with Photoshop use, but I'm still learning! I've also been exploring Adobe Illustrator recently, too, for more graphic design.

Do you use a tablet?

Yes. I currently use a Wacom Cintiq 24 HD tablet. Previously I used a Wacom Intuos 4 and my first tablet before that was a Wacom Graphire 4. I have been using a tablet for about 11 years or so.

Are graphics tablets worth it?

Buying a tablet is, in my opinion, one of the best investments you can make if you're serious about digital art or design. It adds a level of control that far exceeds using a mouse (even though there's some good mouse artists out there). You're essentially drawing with a pen on a metal pad, so it feels a lot more natural. Plus the tablet pens are pressure sensitive, meaning the harder you push on the tablet, the thicker and/or darker your line becomes. You can also have different pen nibs that imitate different traditional tools (e.g. pencils, pens or paint brushes).

Consider what you plan to use your tablet for and how often. Many art schools have tablets you can try out and practice with. I have a few friends that never got used to them and so it was actually a poor investment. Best to give them a go. If you like them, refer to my next question regarding brands and styles.

What brand and/or style of tablet would you recommend to someone who is serious about digital art?

I have personally only ever used Wacom brand tablets, and a larger majority of professional digital artists do use them. They have a wide variety of tablet styles and sizes to suit artists of all skill levels (from student to professional, home or office, mobile or stationary) and their products are generally reasonably priced for the quality. In addition, Wacom customer service is usually pretty good based on experience. The only Wacom product I don't recommend is the Inkling (mine didn't turn out as expected). But brands are brands, and there's some lesser known brands out there that are also good quality and affordable.

The style of tablet is definitely a more personal choice. When starting out, it's better to buy cheaper models (for example, Wacom's Intuos models or previously, their Graphire or Bamboo models). Cheaper models are a pad that plugs into your computer, which means you'll be looking at your computer screen while your hand is out of your sight drawing on the pad. This style of drawing is very foreign at first and will require some hand-eye coordination, but you'll pick up the skill fast.

If you want a tablet where you actually draw on the screen, such as Wacom's Cintiq model, you're looking at paying thousands of dollars more (I got my Cintiq for $2,500 AUD which was the cheapest on the net. Plus it weighs 40 kg). An investment like this should only be made when you're financially stable enough to buy such a product and will use it to its full intention. Most people that own the really expensive tablets are full time professionals or have had over a decade's worth of experience (such as myself). Size is completely up to you. I started with a small Graphire and moved onto a large Intuos. You can buy smaller tablets that better represent your monitor size or are completely mobile, so you can take them to school and back etc. Again, it's what you plan on using the tablet for.

In addition, many tablets and even large smart phones also contain apps and styluses that are similar to using a cheap Cintiq. A popular app at the moment is Autodesk's SketchBook Pro.

What resolution/ image size do you work at?

All of my current digital works are drawn at 300 dpi and usually between the 2500 - 3500 pixel mark. The largest I've worked was around 22,000 pixels in height at 300 dpi. Unfortunately when I started digital art no one explained the importance of resolution to me and so many of my early illustrations are low dpi (72) and low image sizes (less than 1500 pixels). My computer is old and doesn't have the best graphics card so I hope to update that in the coming months so I can work larger and more efficiently!

What do you find easier: drawing with pencil on paper or using your graphics tablet?

It really depends, as both traditional and digital methods have their pros and cons. Digital art is easier (or more forgiving) in the sense I can control my layers, colours, brushes etc. all with ease, and I can delete mistakes easily or modify anything at will. But when it comes to traditional I feel I have better control as I can look at my hand whilst I draw (this has changed since I bought a Cintiq). I also prefer the texture traditional art brings; it has better physical feeling and a certain level of vibrancy that digital art doesn’t. Having said that, skills learnt practicing traditional art transfer to digital art, and vice versa.

What digital program do you recommend?

The most common digital program used is Adobe Photoshop for illustration, and Adobe Illustrator for design. Both are super versatile and the amount of tutorials and walkthroughs made for these programs are insane (DeviantArt is a good place to start). Many art or graphic design classes will have Photoshop/Illustrator installed. You can download trials from the Adobe website and give them a go yourself. I've been using Photoshop for about 13 + years. Do keep in mind that Adobe products are quite expensive.

Other good programs include Paint Tool Sai (never tried it myself), Corel Painter (which I have tried), Manga Studio or SketchBook Pro. Even Microsoft Paint has improved a bit!


FAQbanner3.jpg

TRADITIONAL ART

Which colour pencils do you use? Can you recommend some brands to choose from?

For colour pencil works, I tend to use Derwent Pencils (a set of 36), either the Studio (hard) or Artists (soft) variety. Sketches and graphite works are done with Derwent Soft Graphite Pencils (a set of 12) or a mechanical pencil. I've also used Derwent Watercolour, Metallic, Pastel and Charcoal pencils in the past. I really like Derwent, but I've heard great things about Faber Castell's Polychromos range and Prismacolors! Just as long as they have decent pigments then usually whichever brand should be fine!

Pencil stumps, cotton buds and tissues are good for smudging. I use a kneadable eraser to get rid of lines and a Tombo brand, ‘Mono Zero’ eraser pencil which is awesome for highlights. I also like to use a combination of black felt tip pen and white gel pen for lineart, shadows and highlights in my pencil work.

What brand of paper do you use?

Many of my pieces have been drawn on various brands of visual diary throughout the years. I use a variety of papers for pencil work. For smaller pieces, I tend to use Derwent brand visual diary paper. I've now moved on to using better quality paper with a higher GSM, such as Canson Drawing Bristol paper, for higher quality artwork. I have also used Moleskine notebooks and Winsor & Newton in the past.

For toned paper, I used kraft-coloured Stongehenge paper, but they also come in a variety of tones. For watercolour, I currently use Arches hot-pressed watercolour paper.

There are heaps of textures and thicknesses to try, along with brands. It might help to buy a small sample to try out first, as some mediums work better with some papers compared to others. This article is a good introduction on the subject. Ensuring that the paper is acid-free will reduce fading/yellowing over time.

What brand/types of pens do you use for your illustrative animals?

For my early illustrative animals, such as "Observer," I used a simple black ballpoint pen. Brands ranged from BIC and Papermate. Naturally, ballpoint pens are for writing and not drawing, so the quality does vary. In addition, many ballpoint pens aren't archival the way that felt tips or fountain pens are, meaning they tend to fade over time. I preferred to use them however, as the ball gives me great control for shading, and when used on good-quality paper, can last for some time. I prefer to use felt tips for lineart or stippling.

I then expanded into using felt tip pens, sometimes in conjunction with pencils or markers. Brands I use are often Artline and Pigma Microns, but I have used many inbetween. I use a variety of nib thicknesses, but most commonly use a 0.2 or 0.4 thickness. I suggest reading this article when choosing felt tips.

What are your thoughts on the Copic marker range? Have you tried any other marker brands?

Love them! I currently use the Copic Sketch and Copic Ciao range, in limited colours at the moment. But they have so many colours to choose from, it's a bit daunting! So you can also buy them as packs, like skin-tones, pastels etc. For the range I use, there is a nib on each end: one is chisel-tipped, the other is brush-tipped. I love using the brush nib, as it's super smooth and allows for awesome blending and shading. Copics are expensive no doubt, but you can buy refills for them so they do end up being economical. Ink quality is great, but make sure you use them on good quality, smooth paper, as they can tend to bleed. They also have a strong scent. and the brush tip may fray a bit with extensive use.

On par with Copics, and for a similar cost, are the markers from Prismacolor. I haven't tried their range personally, but I do hear good things (although they are non-refillable). I've also tried Chameleon pens, but I find them a bit overly-ambitious with their innovation i.e. the blending pens felt pretty gimmicky. Other brands worth trying include Spectrum Noir and Winsor & Newton. Given that not all of these are super cheap, this article explains the pros and cons of many brand markers and their costs. I can afford Copics, so I'll probably stick with them.

Do you experiment with paints often? What brands/types of paint do you use?

No, I don't experiment with paint often. In fact, this year I did three watercolour paintings in a row, which was probably the first time I had painted anything for 6 years! It's used to be my least favourite medium. This was due to incredible stop-start nature of painting, the amount of layering and planning required, and previous difficulty with mixing colours and blending. All of this caused incredible frustrations. In addition, the equipment involved was a lot more rigorous, which was of-putting. I only ever used to paint during class at school.

Having said that, I'm not inhereintly bad at painting and I've warmed up to it a lot more and have improved vastly. In the past, I've used acrylic and gouache, which are probably my favourite kinds of paints. This year, I experimented with watercolour for the first proper time in many years, and loved it! I essentially treated painting with watercolours like I do with acrylic, so I look forward to experimenting with the diversity watercolour painting allows. I've tried oils once before, but the paints were old and I didn't have the right equipment, so naturally I haven't touched them since. I may experiment with them in the future if time permits. Regardless, I do hope to continue with watercolours and acrylics, and have ideas for future paintings in mind!

For watercolours, I use Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours, and love the quality. I haven't really tried enough brands and types of paint to give an overall confirmation. The acrylics I used in the past were a rather amateurish brand, such as Monte Marte.


advice

Can you teach me how to draw?

No. I do not have the time nor the necessary training to be an art teacher or tutor.

Have you made any tutorials/walkthroughs showing your process?

I have done some basic tutorials in the past, yes, but they are very much out-dated. I've also uploaded process gifs, progress shots and video snippets on some of my social media. I do plan to do some full step-by-step tutorials for traditional and digital illustrative work, and start utilising my own YouTube channel to share full time-lapse videos in the future.

Will you look at my artwork and provide feedback?

Sure, I'm more than happy to provide feedback and constructive criticism on anyone's work.

What art school would you recommend?

This is a very difficult question to answer, because I never went to art school and so I have no experience in the matter. I studied art-based subjects in high school, and that's about as far as I got. Since I went down a science path, I never ended up studying art for tertiary study, although it was something I strongly considered in my later teen years. I guess it really depends on what your end-goal is, where your interests are, what programs/courses your University/school/college offer and the expected learning outcomes, if you're willing to move to study or not etc.

Some of the artists I follow swear by art school, others did not enjoy it. I'd recommend doing some searches or post on forums like Reddit (the Art and Design subreddits) to get more insight.

I want to learn how to draw but have no idea where to start! Any advice?

The best advice I give to people who start taking up drawing and feel doubt are the three P's: Practice. Patience. And Perseverance.

Practice. I know how much of a broken record that must sound like but it truly is. Drawing nearly everyday can improve your skills immensely. You might not realise it, but looking back, you will see improvement. 'Where’ can be a helpful factor too. Taking lessons, workshops or going to art school can only help increase your skill level and knowledge. Since I haven’t really attended any of those things, I’m sure I’d be much better now if I had.

Next is perseverance. It can be tough having a creative mind. Inspiration and motivation don’t come from just anywhere, same with good ideas. There’s always art blocks to tackle and many mental borders and restrictions. What’s hardest is looking at other artist’s work and thinking, “why am I not good as them? Why don’t I have a style like that? How come they always get work?” This mentality can bring you down, and make you want to give up. Don’t. Push yourself. Persevere. Use that as motivation to keep drawing and experimenting. And discipline yourself. Even if it's a doodle a day that you won't share with anyone, draw it anyway. Which leads me onto the last aspect.

Patience. Like any skill, you don’t become good over night. With art, it’s even more lengthy and transitional because it’s an extremely time-consuming process. When you draw everyday, you don’t realise that you’re improving. But you are. Look back at your work from last week; not very different, is it? Now from six months ago; okay so a few things have changed, maybe your colouring style. A year ago; wow, your anatomy and lighting was terrible. Two years ago…you get the point. Art is like speciation from natural selection. When you’re in the transitional phase, it’s hard to tell how what’s different from the starting phase UNTIL you reach the end phase, but this takes time to see. It's a bit like exercise or building a house.

So really the best advice I can give, is to never stop drawing. Practice different genres, mediums, styles, techniques. Study from life, study from photographic references, study other artists’ work, study light and shadow, study colour, study perspective, composition and anatomy. Analyse art theory, go to lessons, attend workshops, watch tutorials, expose your art, gain feedback, try different things, do speed paints, do big projects and just draw really. Art is boundless and endless, the only limit to your skill is when you’re NOT drawing.

Practice, perseverance and patience; the three P’s in art. The three P s in any skill, really.

How do you draw fantasy creatures with realistic anatomy?

Fantasy animals aren't easy to tackle, and I still have trouble drawing some fantasy animals. Apart from dragons, because I’ve been drawing those since I was four and I essentially don’t need reference for them at all. But when I drew other fantasy animals without reference, I realise the anatomy wasn’t as accurate as it needed to be. I struggle a bit with mammals and birds but have a knack with anything reptilian or invertebrate-like. Most of that has just come from natural observation.

Everyone has different methods and concepts when it comes to drawing fantasy animals. Reference photos are a huge help! I use a variety and stick them together, and often make the rest up as I go. One advantage I have is that I’m a studying biologist, so I play close attention to anatomical details in the field and lab. I observe how and where things join together and how they move. Every fantasy animal follows some sort of already-existing biological rule, and it’s important that you follow these aspects to give your fantasy animals a realistic and plausible approach. I do recommend anatomy and physiology books on different kinds of animals and I recommend taking some studies.

Essentially, you can’t bend and break the rules you have no understanding of. When you start observing and understanding animal anatomy, then you can incorporate it altogether to create your own species.

Hello. I'm a teenager who plans on majoring in art in college but I'm not very good. Could you give me any tips on how to better myself other than just practicing a lot?

The short answer (and you won’t like it) is that you will have to practice to get better. That is inherent to any skill, and art has a gradual learning curve, meaning it can take a while to see results. Art is like exercise: there’s no quick fix apart from the basics (E.g. eating healthy and exercise), but after a few weeks or months, you will see results compared to when you first started. And you can make that process slightly faster and more efficient (E.g. Increasing the amount of reps in your circuit, increasing weight etc.).

  1. Try and draw every day. Doesn’t have to be big, and you don’t have to show the result. Just put pen to paper and draw something. Stuck on ideas? Get people to tell you what to draw in your inbox, or open a dictionary and draw the first word you see.
  2. Draw from life. To learn the fundamentals (colour, shape, form, shadow etc.) drawing from life is a good way to start. While photo reference helps (and I recommend that too), observing and replicating a three dimensional object is more challenging.
  3. Don’t always stick to one subject or object. If you draw the same thing every day (say a dog) you’ll end up improving and being really good at drawing dogs. But if you draw a cat, it might not be as good. Sure, the techniques you learnt while drawing the dog will transfer over, it’s best to try different subjects!
  4. Use learning resources. YouTube videos and DeviantArt are a great place for tutorials, whether it’s walking you through how to use a particular medium or art tool, or how to draw something in a certain way. Imitating what others do using visual guides is a great way to learn. You can also buy art books that are helpful too.
  5. Take classes. I never took classes, apart from doing art as a subject in high school. Keep in mind I’ve been drawing since a toddler (I’m 22 now). If you’re not doing art as a subject, research your local area and find out if there’s classes or workshops you can take. Many classes range from beginner to advanced on a wide variety of mediums. It’s great working with like minded people and having professionals to guide you. Don’t have art classes in your area? You can take them online!
  6. Seek constructive criticism. Everyone loves positive feedback right? But often you will overlook your mistakes that others can see. Obtaining constructive criticism is vital; the critic will point out what you’re doing well, what you’re not doing so well, and suggestions for how to improve. Some may even edit your artwork for you to show you a more ideal version.
  7. Take art challenges. There’s a few art challenges going around that I’ve seen and are helpful. Here’s a couple you could try: A) Daily Spitpaint: draw the day’s theme in 30 minutes. You must submit your work after 30 minutes, even if it isn’t finished. B) Find ten poses, and draw each one within a minute. Again, if you don’t finish within the minute, that’s too bad! C) Find a photo of something, draw it using the photo reference, then draw it again from memory. Repeat once and look at the improvement. D) Draw an object without lifting your pen off the paper. E) Draw or paint an object or scene (with shading) using only two colours. Someone could assign these colours to you.
  8. Research your uni requirements. I didn’t study art at university so I’m not fully aware of the process, but I do have friends that did. Getting into your course may differ based on the uni or country you in. Research art courses at different universities and look at what is required to be accepted. Some only need you to have done well at highschool, pass a test, go in for an interview or present a portfolio. If it’s your portfolio, remember five strong pieces are better than 20 weak ones. Also remember that technical skill isn’t the only thing they look for. Unique styles or thought provoking messages behind your work, along with your personality and work ethic, may also help.

Best of luck!

Could you please teach me to draw like you?

In the wise words of Euclase:

"Drawing like me won’t make you happy.

Can I tell you a story? When I was a kid, I wanted to draw like Alan Lee. I copied his sketches and tried to mimic his style. But I realized after a while that it wasn’t Alan Lee’s style I really wanted. It was the fact that he had a style at all. Alan Lee’s art is very distinct. You can always pick him out. And all of his drawings look effortless because he’s had so much practice just being himself.

And that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want my drawings to look like Alan’s—what I really wanted was for someone to come along and see my work and immediately be able to recognize it. Just like I did with his work.

The most basic advice I can give you is to draw the things you like, draw from real life, and accept that failure is part of learning.

Beyond that, if you have a specific art question, maybe I can help you. But I can’t teach you to draw like me because you’re not me. And I wouldn’t take away the pride you’ll get from figuring out what your art is one day going to look like."


personal

How old are you currently?

23 years old (30th December, 1993).

Where are you from?

Adelaide, South Australia.

What do you do for a living?

I'm currently a PhD Candidate in marine ecology focussing researching an invasive crab species here in South Australia. I'm also a demonstrator for a couple of marine-biology based University topics and a research assistant. You could say, I'm a full-time marine ecologist/biologist!

I'm also a freelance visual artist/illustrator working in traditional and digital mediums (if you can't tell already). I work casually in this field, given it's not my primary career. I create professionally and as a hobby (although I don't have as much time for it). I was also a bartender while studying my Bachelors and Honours Degrees. Glad to have left hospitality though.

Why did you choose science of art for your primary career? Is it hard to juggle both? Would you ever change direction if given the opportunity?

This question is answered in more detail if you read my Science and Art biographies above. Essentially, since I could hold a pencil to draw, I was also infatuated with nature. I grew up and loved collecting bugs or reptiles, reading books, watching documentaries, exploring, sharing facts about animals and so on. I wanted to be a herpetologist (study of reptiles) or entomologist (study of insects) while growing up, almost for as long as I wanted to be an artist.

I did have difficulties in high school deciding if I wanted to study art at a tertiary level, or if I wanted to make my art my primary career choice. I remember a post on Facebook stating how excited I was to do nothing but draw and create for money, and was hoping to get more into the contemporary scene after going to the Adelaide Central School of Art. I actually tried to figure out a way to do a double Degree that included art and science, but this would have taken seven years and seemed like a big conflict of interest! Having thought about it more, I never got into art history, barely got into art theory, and held off on commissions for the longest time because the idea of drawing when I didn't want to was off-putting. I realised that studying art at a higher level may have been a waste of my efforts, and that I wasn't "mature" enough to take on freelance full-time.

I then shifted my focus to concept art, and romanticised being a concept artist for games and movies. Many of my childhood and teen drawings were modelled after my favourite gaming characters. I attended a Concept Design Workshop, run by some amazing concept artists that I still follow to this day. It seemed appealing, but I still had doubts, especially given the industry here in Australia. Thankfully I had some very established concept artists on Facebook that suggested that freelance and creating your own IPs were much better than working with a studio, so I feel I dodged a bit of a bullet there. I still love collecting concept art books behind my favourite games and movies, however.

I ended up choosing to stay in Adelaide and put science first based on my options and after attending University open days. It was a toss up between Animal Behaviour or Marine Biology at Flinders University. I went for Marine Biology, because measuring behaviour seemed a bit too subjective, because I loved swimming in the ocean and beach combing, and because the wonders of the ocean environment became very appealing. I don't surf, haven't lived on a big boat, don't really fish, don't SCUBA every weekend, don't partake in water sports and so on, but regardless, oceanic sciences won me over. Throughout my studies, I considered going to Cairns to continue my marine-based studies, but have found a little niche here in Adelaide that is treating me well enough.

Given Australia's track record with science at the moment, I also picked science based on strategy (i.e. if my science failed, I could fall back on my artwork). I also picked it out of sheer interest and contribution to knowledge or helping the environment. I feel that drawing is a stroke for my ego, and maybe apart from tackling some themes or messages in my artwork, it felt a bit lacklustre as a primary career choice.

Any regrets with choosing science over art?

Not really. I'm not established enough as a scientist, nor as an artist, to really make that call yet. The only two regrets I do have, is that having an intellectual mind and strong work ethic means I do miss out on opportunities to do things. If I didn't choose science, I can guarantee my artistic productivity and technical skill would be so much higher than it is now. It can be disheartening following artists that seem to be constantly improving, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers, or tackling ideas that you wish you thought of. But it's important to remember that few of those artists are going to be Doctors in a completely different field. We all have our own journeys and aspirations in life.

My second regret is that I haven't travelled. Science has taken me some places, but working hard for my education for 22 years, and maintaining finances in uncertain times, means I have had very little opportunity to travel overseas. I do plan to change that soon, though.

What are your hobbies and interest outside of art?

Science is very heavy on reading and writing (both of which I used to love more as hobbies), so it can get stale quick, even for field-heavy biologists such as myself. That's why having hobbies are important.

Apart from drawing/creating being the obvious, I also enjoy photography, gaming, snorkelling or SCUBA diving, exploring rock pools, road trips, collecting books or figurines, building with LEGO, hanging out with close friends and decorating.

Right or left-handed?

Right-handed

Are you in a relationship?

Yes, I have been for over seven years.


permission

Are all your artworks Copyrighted?

Yes, as the original Artist and Owner of all works I create, all works are Copyrighted by me as per Australian Law unless otherwise stated. Because of this, other parties must have expressed written consent or permission from myself to reproduce, sell, publish or communicate my artwork. My Copright Statement can be viewed at the footer of this Website.

Instances where artwork may not be Copyrighted by me are when I have assigned Copyright of an artwork to the Client via a Transfer of Copyright Agreement. This means that the Client will have to be contacted for Copyright use. Other instances involve the use of Trademarked characters, such as those used in my realistic Pokémon series.

Can I get your artwork as a tattoo?

This is a VERY common question. The answer is yes, you can get all my personal artworks as tattoos, but I might be a bit more stringent if you're wanting to tattoo a commissioned piece. Having my artwork imprinted on someone for life is a huge honour, so I'm not looking for anything in return. I'd love to see photos of the final product though!

All I ask is that you credit me in any photos taken of the artwork. If you are a tattooist, I'm also happy for you to display tattoos of my artwork in your portfolio, under the conditions that I am credited. I will not tolerate any tattooists to sell my designs as tattoo templates, or to claim my artwork as their own design.

Can I use your artwork for non-commercial/personal reasons?

Yes, I am generally okay if you use my artwork for NON-COMMERCIAL reasons (i.e. not obtaining money or credit, not advertising to a wide-audience in which money or credit could be obtained, not entering the artwork in competitions etc.). You can read the full Terms & Conditions regarding artwork use here.

Examples of personal use might include displaying my artwork on a website/blog, printing the artwork off to hang on your wall or study, getting my artwork tattooed etc. If you choose to do so, I'd prefer that you obtain my expressed written permission first. You must also credit me as the original artist and source back to my work in any instance where my artwork was used.

Can I use your artwork for commercial profit?

No, under NO circumstance can my current existing artworks be used for profitable reasons unless a) you have expressed written permission by me to do so and signed a legally-binding agreement, or b) the artwork is licensed (which none of my artworks currently are). This is because I am the rightful Owner of all the artworks I create, and unless otherwise stated, all artworks are retained and protected under my Copyright. Using artwork for commercial purposes may infringe on Copyright and a breach in the Law. Commercial profit generally includes obtaining monetary value for selling the artwork directly, obtaining monetary value for advertising the artwork, or entering the artwork in any sort of competition.

If you are a client, an individual agreement will be made and signed with you regarding transfer of Copyright or licencing. The way in which the artwork can then be used by both the Artist and Client will be specified.

Please read the full Terms & Conditions regarding the use of my artwork here. Failure to comply may result in legal action.

Can I modify/copy your artwork?

If it is for commercial profit, absolutely not. This is because the modified artwork is likely to still breach plagiarism and therefore infringe on my Copyright. I take plagiarism very seriously when commercial profit is involved, which includes direct traces, copies, edits or modifications to my artwork. Heavily referenced or inspired works may still breach plagiarism depending on the level of similarity, and whether knowledge or permission was obtained by me prior to modification.

If the modified artwork is for non-commercial/personal reasons, such as copying my artwork for a study, or making an edit for a blog, I am generally okay with that. Again, I prefer permission to be obtained first, and I must be sourced in the edited/copied version as the original artist.

If you have referenced me in any artwork, please let me know. Please read the full Terms & Conditionsregarding the use of my artwork here.

Can I study your artwork for a school project?

Absolutely! Many people have selected me as their artist to study for particular school and University projects, which is an amazing honour! I'm also certainly happy if people use my work for artistic reference to learn or explore different styles, but I do ask to be credited in the studies or final work. If you have created something inspired by me, please feel free to share with me, as I love to see what people come up with. If there's any questions that may assist in your study, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Someone has stolen/plagiarised your artwork! What can I do to help?

Please contact me and provide a link to the stolen artwork in question, with any further details or concerns you might have. Most Copyright infringement forms, emails, take-down notices, or Cease & Desist letters aren't processed unless those responsible are contacted directly by the Copyright holder/Owner or a representative as such. This means apart from notifying me or spreading public awareness, all further action is undertaken by myself. Please do not bully or threaten the one responsible for the theft under any circumstance.

Over 90% of all Copyright infringement, plagiarism or theft I have encountered was notified to me by other people. So keeping an eye out is a fantastic help and always appreciated!

Are any of your artworks available for licensing?

No, none of my current artworks are licensed or available for licensing. I may be able to license future commissions, given that an Agreement is made between the Cient and myself.

Can your artwork be used if I found it on Google Images?

If it is for commercial purposes, absolutely not! Just because images may be found via Google, does not mean they are free-use. Google Images is simply a search engine, and at the bottom of each image there is a statement by Google saying that "Images may be subject to Copyright."

This means you MUST check the Copyright status of each image you find via Google and any statements about using said image, and obtain written permission to use the image from the Owner. Most of my images found on Google are through my own websites or via reposts on blogs and social media, although there are a few plagiarised and infringed versions out there. If you found my artwork via Google Images, please contact me about using it for personal reasons only (commercial purposes are not allowed).

Please read the following question regarding using Google reverse-image search to locate the image's source if you are unsure. You can also use Google's advanced search to find images by Usage Rights.

How can I use reverse image search to locate your artwork?

If you have found an image and would like to see who created it or the source, one of your best bets (but not 100% guaranteed) is to use Google reverse-image search.

To perform an image search, go to the Google search bar and click on "images" like you usually would. You may have to enter some keywords in if you haven't done so. On the far right of the search bar (near the Google microphone icon and Search icon) there is a camera icon. When you mouse over it, it will say "search by image." Click the camera icon, and another search bar will open with two tabs.

One tab is labelled "Paste image URL" and there's a little question mark to the right that explains how to find an image URL. When you find an image, right-click on it and select "copy image address" to obtain its unique URL. Paste that into the reverse-image search bar and click on the "search by image" button or hit enter, and your request will be processed. The other tab is labelled "upload an image" where you have the image file saved on your computer and will upload it. Click the "choose file" button and locate the file to upload it. The third method is to simply click-and-drag the image across to the search bar from your web page.

When you search using an image, your search results may include:

  • Similar images
  • Sites that include the image
  • Other sizes of the image you searched for

Search using an image works best when the image is likely to show up in other places on the web. So you'll get more results for famous landmarks than you will for personal images like your latest family photo.

I've posted your artwork on my website/blog/social media. How do I credit you appropriately?

In your image caption, please state that "Artwork created by René Campbell" and provide a link to this Website: www.renecampbellart.com. For social media accounts (Facebook, DeviantArt, Instagram, Tumblr or Reddit) please tag me as "@renecampbellart." If you obtained permission from me for any reason, please state that in your image caption.

Can I use your artwork for merchandise/branding/social media logos?

No, my artwork is not available to be used for merchandise (such as clothing or prints) or branding, as that comes under commercial/profitable use and infringes on my Copyright. It would also be extremely unfair and a contradiction to allow some people to use my artwork, but not others. I also do not accept my artwork to be used for social media icons or logos, especially for groups that have large followings and generate some sort of profit.

Would you be interested in joining our art club/website/print company?

No, I am not interested sorry!

I get this message several times a week, and have had to start using automated messages to deal with this common request. I am quite satisfied with the services that Society6 provides me, and in addition, I don't really have time to monitor or be active on other print shops, art clubs or art communities. I'm also not particularly interested in any of the benefits these offers come with and will not negotiate on the matter.