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Spotlight: Daniel Voss

What do you study?

I am a fourth year Visual Communications Design student.

How did you start illustrating?

It started in my final year at high school. I saw some stuff online by Feng Zhu a Singaporean artist. He does game and movie art. I had never seen anything like it before and thought it was the best thing. I got really excited about it and started practising really hard.

What do you love about illustration?

I didn’t know the field of concept art and concept design existed and when I found it and realised there was an actual field I had already been doing – I started working hard towards it.

You won a competition through Weta in your second year, can you tell me more about that?

In second year there was a competition that Weta was running in conjunction with a city council equivalent in Seoul, Korea. We had to produce a science fiction based concept illustration. For my image I explored climate change and how it’s always mankind dominance over nature, for my image it was a person entering a world, being attacked by nature instead. I was fortunate enough to be picked as the winner and I got to travel to Seoul with Richard Taylor and another Weta designer. I was there for five months. Richard was very focused, a really interesting character. He had some big ideas about what the future could hold and I think that’s what informs his business and the quality of work it produces. It was really inspiring.

Can you tell me about the process of illustration from start to finish?

I start with little sketches in a sketch book to get the ideas down. Then I start doing thumbnails on the computer using a tablet and Photoshop. While doing this I collect photos and use them as reference. I then slowly build the thumbnails up with colours and silhouettes.

Who do you look up to? Do you have a favourite illustrator?

A guy called Maciej Kuciara, who works on doing design for movies. He seems to always be pushing the boundaries, pioneering things and using a lot of 3D programmes and special effects for his art. He is someone I believe pushes the limits and I find it really exciting.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would love to start by working for Weta, which would be amazing. It’s hard to say because I think a lot of the industry is in Los Angeles – it’s the main hub for this kind of work. Feeding off some of the best people in the field and working on creative concepts for movies would be amazing.

How many hours a day do you spend illustrating?

Around six to ten hours.

Who is your favourite cartoon character?

I used to always love Garfield I think that’s just a nostalgia thing.

What is your favourite movie?

Blade Runner. It was pioneering for its time. It is so original everything else was a copy.

How would you describe your illustrations?

Most of them are science fiction and they are trying to evoke emotions about what the future could be and ask some sort of question.

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