PK 049: Artist Brandon Pike on Style and Simplicity

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Brandon Pike likes to break his compositions down into simple, but effective, shapes and lines

鈥淕ood art is聽all about finding the right聽balance in your compositions.鈥滭/em>

When you look at a painting by Brandon Pike, the first things you notice are his clean simple lines and bold, organic shapes. Yet, although they appear simple, the creative process behind his charming creations can take many hours of planning.

Listen to this week鈥檚 podcast to get a fascinating insight into how this San Francisco-based artist works and hear what inspires him鈥?/p>

Brandon Pike was just five years old when he decided he wanted to be an artist. He鈥檇 seen Batman: The Animated Series, and was聽inspired by the work of Bruce Timm and many other comic book artists.

He says: 鈥淪eeing Batman was what really set me off on my journey. Ever since that point, I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career.鈥滭/p>

So he started copying images from comic books, spending hours and hours practicing and getting everything right. And, as he worked, Brandon Pike found himself becoming increasingly interested in the shapes and silhouettes in the drawings he was copying.

Although he was too young to know it then, this fascination with shapes was to form the basis of Brandon鈥檚 unique style.

How聽Brandon Pike Became an Artist

And, as he went through high school, it was something he was able to explore further when a local movie theater in his small Maine hometown commissioned him for a series of murals to announce their latest blockbusters.

鈥淚 learned such a lot from working on those murals,鈥 says Brandon, 鈥渂ut, growing up in a small town, I had no idea what opportunities there were for becoming a full-time artist.鈥滭/p>

It was only while sweeping up one night at the movie theater that those opportunities presented themselves to him. As he watched the end credits roll for the Lord of The Rings trilogy, Brandon noticed the huge list of artists鈥 names who鈥檇 worked on the film.

And, at that very moment, he decided that he wanted to become a concept artist.

The San Francisco Academy of Art And Beyond

So, after graduating from high school in 2006, he went to the Academy of Art in San Francisco to improve his skills – even though the tuition fees looked pretty daunting.

He says: 鈥淚 had no idea how I was going to pay for going to art school, but it seemed like it was something I had to do.鈥滭/p>

Brandon will probably still be paying back his student loan for many years to come, but he says he doesn鈥檛 regret a thing, saying: 鈥淚t was a really good education and, for me, it was exactly the right thing to do at the time.鈥滭/p>

So what鈥檚 life been like for Brandon Pike since leaving art school?

He now works as a concept artist in San Francisco, and has spent the years since leaving art school to work on developing his own unique style. It鈥檚 a journey that鈥檚 made him completely re-evaluate how he sees and draws things.

鈥淲hen I was at art school, I found myself always being very literal,鈥 he explains. 鈥淭here are lots of rules to follow with realism, and I always felt like I was missing something.

“It wasn鈥檛 until I started working in a team that I saw how other artists could work completely differently from each other. It鈥檚 then that I started to pay more attention to stylized lines and shapes and develop my own style.鈥滭/p>

How to Develop Your Own Style

Brandon Pike鈥檚 style can be seen in all his work – from the cats on our featured image to the Star Wars and comic-book influenced pieces on his website.

鈥淚t鈥檚 all about the little details,鈥 he explains, 鈥渟uch as where the characters are looking, what poses they鈥檙e in, and the materials things are made from.聽It鈥檚 those little hints of life that can make all the difference to a painting.鈥滭/p>

Although Brandon鈥檚 paintings are often based around simple shapes, the planning and concept of these pieces can take many hours. For example, the cat painting took between 12 and 16 hours to complete.

He says: 鈥淒oing all the preparation and research for a painting can take up to 75% of your time, and it鈥檚 only in the final few hours of a painting that you can wrap it all up.鈥滭/p>

In other words, you can鈥檛 hurry art…but you can keep pushing through until you get the results you鈥檙e looking for!

Listen to this week鈥檚 show and learn:

  • How to聽find the key elements in your composition
  • How to simplify shapes in your paintings
  • Why聽working in a team can help inspire you
  • Why planning and research are crucial in any painting

People on this Episode:


Mentioned in the episode:

Brandon聽on Facebook
Brandon聽on Twitter

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