If you aren’t familiar with artist Daniel Isles aka DirtyRobot’s illustrations, you need to be. With the release of the new Kidrobot VOID 5″ Mecha Half-Ray Android Dunny’s, we got together with the artist behind the designs for a Q&A interview with Daniel Isles. Are you ready to get down and dirty with DirtyRobot?
KR: What is your first memory of playing with, or looking at a toy, and what was the toy?
DR: In my early years, I used to love playing with toy cars— matchbox and Corgi stuff. The figurines I had growing up were mostly from my favourite cartoon series like, Thundercats, Turtles and Transformers etc. My brother and cousins and I would share these toys growing up and the characters we didn’t have we’d just make them ourselves out of card and paper… Fun times!
KR: Where did you grow up? How has that place influenced your art and development as an artist?
DR: I grew up in Birmingham, England for most of my life. It’s a place that will forever influence and inspire my work. I always drew people around me as crazy characters and dropped them into my comics for fun, things like this always inspired me to create my own original characters. My Mother played a huge role in my art, with her support and guidance. Weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be doing any of this stuff today.
KR: For those out there who are unfamiliar with your artwork, can you give us a quick bio?
DR: Sure thing, I love drawing cool characters and placing them in environments or scenarios to tell sometimes cool, sometimes weird and interesting stories.
KR: Are there other artists that have inspired you?
DR: To name a few— John Coltrane, Madlib, Moebius, Otomo Katsuhiro and Kon Satoshi have constantly inspired me over the years with their imagination and insane body of quality work.
KR: What do you do to get yourself into a creative state of mind and what’s your creation process like?
DR: I generally start with random rough sketches or doodling to get going in the morning. I’ve recently started drawing digitally quite a lot these days. I always like to start a piece using traditional pencil, paper and inks before scanning to add colours in Photoshop, creating a good balance of traditional and digital.
KR: What from your life and the world around you inspires your art?
DR: Definitely my family and friends as they contribute mostly to my life experiences, some of them I can’t explain and some are personal. But, I think that’s the beauty of it all because everyone will have a completely different take on each piece— irrespective of what I say about my art. My current location is hugely inspirational because of the great balance of concrete and nature.
KR: Before you teamed up with Kidrobot for the VOID Dunny, did you know anything about Kidrobot or the world of designer art toys?
DR: Yes, I still have a couple of Dunnys from back in the day. I remember Kidrobot being absolutely everywhere in the UK back then.
KR: I read that you participated in the #365Project where you created a Sci-Fi drawing every single day for a year. What did you learn about yourself and how did that experience influence your art? What came of the experience?
DR: It was such a great experience and one I will never forget— probably the fastest I’ve seen a whole year disappear. The year felt like it was fused into one long movie sequence. The project in essence was started in order to gain a level of consistency while building up a body of work, trying out new techniques and to output ideas I’ve had in my head for years.
Throughout the course of the year this began to grow organically into something totally different, where I began to link pictures from a previous days and tell stories, not realising a world was being constructed as the days and months passed. There were many obstacles to overcome, with life stuff etc. Sleep was at a premium as my daughter had just turned one at the time.
Overall I was quite happy with the project in its complete form, but there were a few things I wish I had done; like, experimenting with more mediums, drawing more animals/insects and vehicles etc. Maybe for the next run, who knows?
The great thing about doing these sort of challenges, be it 30 days, 6 months or a year, you notice improvements in your artistry. I noticed my aesthetics had changed and how I drew human anatomy had improved, although this is an ever changing process, it was interesting to see how much development was made in one year. This experience also helped with navigating through artist block a lot better. I actually created a character during the project called “Block” who would pop up during those days I was out of creative juice or things weren’t quite flowing, which helped a lot to keep things rolling.
KR: What is the inspiration/story behind the VOID Dunny? How does the Create Edition differ from the Destroy Edition?
DR: With nothing but a clean canvas— in this case the Dunny. It felt endless, as I had the freedom to create absolutely anything I wanted. So I focused on simple and fun, and from that standpoint in the void of nothingness, these space creatures were born. Originally, only the Create edition existed, but then the we decided to throw a colour variant in the mix, and so another came through the void— Destroy!
KR: What advice would you give to new artists?
DR: There’s a lot of noise in todays world, but draw/create as much as you possibly can without pressuring yourself into thinking your work is no good, or comparing your work against other artists you admire. The only way to get better is to consistently apply yourself to your craft, levelling up after each completed work. And lastly stay focused, stay humble, enjoy the process and be true to yourself.
KR: Is there anything else you want the Kidrobot collectors to know?
DR: Yes, they’re awesome and I hope they welcome the VOID Create and Destroy Dunny to their family.