PK 054: Artist Jesse Aclin on How to Have Fun With Your Style

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Artist Jesse Aclin loves experimenting with sketching and coloring to develop his own, unique style

鈥淎 lot of people see an artist鈥檚 style and want to copy it. But what鈥檚 gone into that style is years and years of knowledge and experimentation.鈥滭/strong>

When Jesse Aclin isn鈥檛 working as a development artist at Paramount Pictures, he鈥檚 doing something many of us wish we could get better at. And that鈥檚 to develop his own, unique style while still having fun with his art.

So how does he find time to do this? And, how does he stay motivated?

The answers are all in this week鈥檚 podcast interview鈥?/p>

Jesse Aclin: His Creative Career so Far

In his current role, LA-based Jesse is a development artist at Paramount Pictures. He鈥檚 responsible for taking an initial idea, and then developing this into a more finished piece. You can see some of his work in Kubo and the two Strings, Book of Life, and Turkeys.

He鈥檚 also taught online courses at AnimSchool and will soon be teaching character design at CalArts.

But it may surprise you to learn Jesse Aclin didn鈥檛 actually go to art school!

He says: 鈥淚 graduated with a degree in toy design from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, but by the second year, I knew I wasn鈥檛 really digging it.

“So I started looking for classes in character design, but there weren鈥檛 many opportunities nearby. Then, I discovered a character design class run by a guy called Rick Lacy in Brooklyn.

“I really enjoyed it, and wanted to do it so badly, I just took everything in!鈥滭/p>

Jesse on Developing Your Own Art Style

If you take a look at Jesse鈥檚 portfolio site, you鈥檒l see a whole range of sketches that look like he鈥檚 really having fun with his art. Although he works digitally in Photoshop, each sketch has got a loose, hand-drawn quality. So how did he develop his unique style?

He says: 鈥淭he keyphrase here is to have fun with your designs! With your own work, you can take chances you can鈥檛 always take in your day job in the studio.

“A lot of my sketches are done really quickly in about 20 minutes, so instead of surfing the net during my lunch break, I鈥檒l try and get some ideas out of my head!

鈥淚 also like to experiment a lot with color and explore each one differently. It doesn鈥檛 really matter which Photoshop brushes you use, but Kyle T Webster has some really good watercolor, mixed media, and inking brushes.

鈥淢y advice to any artist who wants to develop their own style is to just get in there and get your hands dirty. I鈥檓 learning something new every day!

鈥淎 lot of people see a certain artist鈥檚 style, and they want to take that style. But what鈥檚 behind that style is years and years of tinkering and experimenting.

“It may look simple, but there鈥檚 years of knowledge underneath it. To develop your own style, you should learn the fundamentals. A really great book to study is Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield.鈥滭/p>

Jesse Aclin鈥檚 Advice for Artists

Jesse says: 鈥淚 can鈥檛 remember who said it, but I read this quote that really made sense. It went like this:

鈥淚f you want something badly enough, you鈥檙e doomed to succeed.鈥滭/strong>

鈥淚n other words, if you really work at something, you鈥檒l get there in the end. It may not always be easy, but you鈥檒l get there.鈥滭/p>

Listen to this week鈥檚 show and learn:

  • How to develop your own, unique art style
  • How to stay motivated and keep developing as an artist
  • Why your hard work will always pay off in the end

People on this Episode:

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5 Responses to “PK 054: Artist Jesse Aclin on How to Have Fun With Your Style”

  1. james c

    Awesome interview! Loved the humility of a very talented dude. Jesse’s work makes me want to draw! Inspired.

    • mm

      Chris at PencilKings

      Hey James and thanks for getting in touch with us! Glad to hear you enjoyed Jesse’s podcast – it’s awesome to hear that another established artist like you is getting inspiration from others 馃檪

  2. Stephanie

    I found this podcast through a recommendation for Jesse’s blog on Tumblr and he had linked to this interview. I’m so glad I did! It’s a really great podcast for an aspiring artist like me. Being in my first year of art school, all tips and advice as so welcome right now. Thank-you!

    • mm

      Chris at PencilKings

      Hey Stephanie, great to hear from you! I’m really glad you enjoyed this podcast, and I hope you find all our other resources useful 馃檪 Congrats on getting into art school – as a former fine art graduate, I’ll be more than happy to help you in any way I can. In the meantime, you might enjoy this blog post I wrote recently – The Ultimate Guide to Art School: 馃檪

  3. How to Launch Your Creative Project - With Artist Brenda Chapman

    […] PK054: Jesse Aclin on How to Have Fun With Your Style […]


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