“Ghoulish” Gary Pullin
images copyright “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin
10 Questions with “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin
1…. what medium and tools do you use to create art?
I start out with quick thumbs and roughs in my sketchbook and then I’ll move onto my computer using a Cintiq drawing tablet to finalize things. Occasionally, I’ll create an almost final pencil drawing or a pen and ink drawing and then scan it in, colour it and clean it up digitally.
2…. can you describe your creative process when making art?
If I’m tasked with a film poster, I’ll watch the film, do some very rough thumbnails and brainstorm some concepts. Throw on the soundtrack and really try and find the essence of the film or whatever it may be. I’ll then refine my thumbs a bit more to present to the client. Usually three to eight concepts, it really depends. Once the client picks a direction, then I’ll start finalizing the artwork and plug away until it’s finished. Coffee helps.
3…. what helps boost your creativity?
Seeing other people’s artwork is very inspiring and it kick starts my own drive. I’m lucky to be friends with a lot of creative people so we all trade secrets and inspire each other. All the encouraging emails and blog posts such as this one, are a big motivator too and it’s also very much appreciated for getting my artwork out there.
4…. what helps you maintain focus and motivation when creating?
It can be a challenge sometimes, we’re basically hired to be problem solvers. We create a visual solution and it can be tough to stay motivated, especially when a client is micro-managing your every move, but usually I try to keep things positive and get jobs like that off my plate quickly so I can get to the stuff that I may have more creative control over or may excite me more.
5…. what is the secret to creating a great piece of art?
I don’t know. I just know what I like and what I like to see in a poster. It’s a combination of concept and execution. I’m a sucker for conceptual stuff, so if the poster has a great concept, then you’re half way there. I love fully illustrated posters but I also really appreciate a minimalist poster that presents a great idea. As my illustrator buddy Justin Erickson and I like to say, “Concept is king”.
6…. do you feel its important to follow your passion in your career?
Yes, of course. Passion is a major ingredient to anyone’s success. To quote the great horror punk band The Groovie Ghoolies, “Be passionate. Or don’t do it at all.”
7…. how do you find your passion?
As a creative person, it’s pretty easy to be passionate about the things we love. I get excited about collaborating with filmmakers and clients on their projects. Or I’ll hear a band or watch a film and want to get involved, so sometimes I’ll contact them and before I know it, I’m working with them. Music, art and movies have been my wheelhouse since I was kid, and now at this point in my career, I feel blessed to be contributing to the industry I grew up loving. It’s been a real trip to work with the creators behind some of my favourite films and music. You find out that most of them are actually really great people and love the same things you do. What’s better than that?
8…. who are your favorite artists?
There are so many incredible artists out there, but to name a few: Basil Gogos, Reynold Brown, Saul Bass, Charles Burns, Bernie Wrightson, Jason Edmiston, Phantom City Creative, Ken Taylor, Jay Shaw, Martin Ansin… the list goes on.
9…. do you offer workshops for artists?
Yes, I’m doing one called The Horror Artist Workshop with Ghoulish Gary Pullin at FanExpo here in Toronto at the end of August. It will be the second time I’ve done something like it, but it’s kind of fun to put together a presentation and reveal some behind the scene’s stuff on making a poster. I would love to be able to travel it around and offer it to other horror conventions, which I’m doing a lot more of these days. I think a lot of people, especially other creatives and horror fans, get a lot out of seeing how an illustration comes together and the methods behind the madness.
10…. if you could give other artists one piece of advice what would it be?
I love what I do but it’s important to remember that while art is a passion and it’s done for the love of it, it’s also a business. This is your living. You are selling yourself as much as you are selling your product, so act accordingly. It’s also wise to promote yourself on social networks and try and to get your artwork in front of as many people as you can. If you want to be the anonymous artist, then you will succeed in staying that way, so be modest, but don’t be afraid to get the work out there.
Also, work hard and work for many, things will start to pay off.