Spotlight Artist: Justin Donaldson
Posted 5 years ago and submitted by the HAI team | Share link:

How many years have you been a freelance illustrator?
I have been a freelance illustrator for the last three years.

How did you get started in illustration?
I have always drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. I started illustration as a profession when I got picked up as an illustrator for a games company about four years ago. That company has since disbanded, but it gave me a ton of experience and confidence. I decided that I would love to work on a variety of IPs and projects, and so I have been working freelance ever since. I love the life that I get to live, making my own hours and working like a dog, but spending my time with my family and creating art.

What can your work be applied to commercially?
I have found a lot of work in pre-visualisation. I get contacted relatively often by authors, or people trying to pitch a movie or video game, wanting me to help them to visualise their work so they can pitch their idea to a producer or publisher. I have also done a fair amount of concept art for video games. At the other end of production, I also produce polished pieces for marketing these games & books, and these often comes in the forms of book covers, advertising banners, splash pages and the like.

Where would you most like to see your illustrations being used?
There are a couple of cartoons that I have always wished I had a chance to create backgrounds for; IPs like Avatar, The Last Airbender or Samurai Jack. If I could get the chance to work on creations like that which are dear to my heart, I would be elated.

What inspires you?
I get very inspired by nature. I love to go outside and spend time at my local botanical gardens or in the forests nearby. A lot of my work is based upon recreating those feelings of peace and wonder.

What are your favourite mediums or tools to use?
I use Photoshop mostly for the speed and options it affords me, but I consider it my hobby to go out into the wild with just my watercolors or gouache and capture what I see. There is a sense of immediacy, permanence and wilderness to the process of water-based paints that is somewhat thrilling.

What do you most enjoy drawing?
I love to paint plants and science fiction for two completely different reasons. Plants allow me the freedom to create out of this world forms that are very hard to break. It’s hard to create a plant that looks like its been painted wrong because plants come in an infinite amount of forms. And science fiction, despite being literally out of this world, is actually a lot more grounded in our reality than the plants! The hard surface structures can look so very wrong if created incorrectly, and I love the challenge and satisfaction of creating something that feels right, but looks alien.

What do you really dislike drawing?
I dislike drawing crowds. While it’s moderately easy to create the forms, it’s very difficult to create the feel. Every crowd has an atmosphere, and it’s difficult to create a single cohesive atmosphere within such a disparate group of people.

Apart from illustration, what other skills do you have?
I love to play piano!

If you could travel to any place, where would that be?
I would love to travel throughout Asia. I have a strange fascination with a lot of the ancient cultures that Asia produced, and I love the sense of peace, beauty and balance that was highly valued, especially by the Japanese.

What’s your favourite sandwich filling?
Tomato, chicken and avocado! You can’t beat it.

Cats or dogs?
Cats. They love a good warm lap to sit on, and are the right size for it. My dog also would love a good warm lap to sit on, and is exactly the wrong size to do so.

If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
I would be able to teleport. As an Australian living in America, it would be particularly useful to be able to teleport back to the motherland from time to time.

Justin Donaldson
Central, USA
Tel: (01) 828-404-2255

Justin Donaldson is an artist who has achieved acclaim for his peaceful and epic fantasy landscapes. As a book cover illustrator he loves to create an emotional reaction for you an… Show more.

Message Justin
Profile updated 4th August, 2022
Member since 3rd October, 2017
Clemson Mayoral Portait Commission
Blizzard, DDraig House, Caravan Palace, Poly Want A Pixel, Kick-Flip Studios
Justin is timely and professional. Quality work, communicated well, and understood my project!
— Chris Cartledge, Poly Want A Pixel - Game Studio