25 year-old Illustrator

Clients: Janelle Monáe, National Geographic, Childish Gambino, Angry Birds,
Game Informer, Tomb Raider, EMI Records, Warner Music, FX Network and more.

ADDITIONAL PAGES

Twitter feed

Find me on...

I’ll be in Savannah March 22nd - 26th

and swinging by the SCAD illustration building at some point just to say hi and give old professors hugs. I’ll let you know what time closer to those dates.

“After” - Portrait Contest Winner Illustration by Sam Spratt
So first, thanks again to everyone who entered my portrait contest, they’re always fun for me to make. Rob, who won the whole shebang, gave me a few vague ideas to get inspired by, and let the rest unfold. He liked aspects of The Grey, and desolate, almost post-apolcalyptic in aesthetic environments — the minimal colors, extreme lighting, and graphic look of 300, and from his FB interests I noted a lot of top notch cinematic movies and TV shows like True Detective and Memento so wanted the pose and composition to give a more in-motion vibe than I usually am keen on. I sketched out a new pose from the references given, used myself and a shirt as a lighting reference, created a vague refinery scene, added small details from cuts and bruises to his girlfriend’s name carved into the butt of the rifle on his back, and began painting.  Thanks for being an awesome subject matter with a hell of a beard, Rob. 
To everyone else, I’ll be sure to do this again, and you can of course always snag a print of many of my other works: HERE

What, in your opinion, has been the biggest effect of the internet on art?How do you get noticed in the contemporary art scene when there are so many artists on the internet and social media? With so much plagiarism and emulations of artworks, how do you keep your artworks so original? How do you make sure you style is distinct so that people know it is yours?How different is it selling art online then in a gallery? What are the main differences?What inspires you and helps you come upwith ideas?

Anonymous

1-2. What, in your opinion, has been the biggest effect of the internet on art? How do you get noticed in the contemporary art scene when there are so many artists on the internet and social media?

The Internet has allowed more people to discover art, do so easier, and thus enabled more people to be and aspire to be artists — and I think that’s neato burrito. There’s no magic recipe for getting noticed because different people, different styles, and different subject matters resonate in different ways with vastly different groups of people. I once genuinely believed I had an answer to this question like a big ‘ol idiot, but that was hilariously naive as what worked for me was based on such a specific series of choices and moments. Vague answers blow but straight up lying is worse so to that I say: “I don’t know, I have a billion theories that I could talk about for days.” That said, one small aspect that I do believe helps strongly is being a real person with a name, a personality, a voice, and a face that people can like and dislike. 

3-4. With so much plagiarism and emulations of artworks, how do you keep your artworks so original? How do you make sure you style is distinct so that people know it is yours?

Well, not plagiarizing other people’s work is really the key here. While creating something wholly original from start to finish in a vacuum is always an option if you’re a witch or exist in a less interesting parallel universe, it’s not really a realistic standard nor a realistic thing that you would ever need to do — even some of the most imaginative/”original” scenes people have created are researched and remixed. More likely you have source materials — either through ideas or references, that you can choose how to handle. If you want to copy one source directly — maybe it’s a press shot, advertisement, or still created by other people — you’re obviously welcome to do that (it can even be good practice), but for whatever you make to be substantive and valuable on its own merits (mostly in regards to anyone who would hire you), or be original even though it’s not wholly so — it shouldn’t exist anywhere else in that specific form.

It should be made having referenced the source material, materials beyond that source, references created on your own, and tied together through a technical understanding and personal treatment. When I’m painting Freddie Mercury, I can’t have the majestic snowflake that is the lead singer of Queen stand in front of me, but also just copying existing photos of him would add nothing to me painting him — so I have a folder on my computer with literally hundreds of photos, both of him and not, videos of him performing or speaking, and embarrassing pictures of myself in gym shorts and leather jacket that I took after researching him and sketching out poses — all of which then contributed to me having a full enough understanding of him to paint an image of him that is very Freddie Mercury, but from the light to the pose, to the expression, the colors, the brushwork, to the composition — doesn’t exist anywhere else in any form. It’s not a masterful achievement, it’s simply effort put into making one new thing from many existing things, and years. This isn’t the only way to do things — not even close — but much like your personality is distinct in how much you understand certain areas of knowledge, your work becomes distinct through your understanding of it as well. Personality, in humans and in art, is really just your individual interpretation of knowledge. Style is often taught as a “thing” you add to your work to give it a “hook”, when more often it’s just the natural progression of us figuring out how to interpret what we know. Especially when dealing with realism, it’s a lot of work simply to make something new of old ideas, no matter how many — but it’s worth it because it can (not always, I’ve failed many times, but it can) stand on it own legs, rather than on the legs of someone else’s existing interpretation.

5-6. How different is it selling art online then in a gallery? What are the main differences?

Very. Seeing something in person as a tangible object makes people more likely to respect it and thus pay more for it. However seeing and being able to buy something online without leaving your home is both convenient, often more affordable for the consumer because it’s deemed less valuable than on a white wall (however, will then sell more of), but most importantly (and I think this is why the Internet and Art together are the bee’s knees) — art online is largely stripped of the arbitrarily pretentious vibes of the common gallery that alienate people not normally into art from buying or even just appreciating it in some form. I don’t particularly *love* galleries because they push away a large number of people who aren’t already inclined to appreciate art — they have definitely have value and purpose, but can definitely be off-putting.

7. What inspires you and helps you come up with ideas? This is literally the worst fucking art question there is — it is the soggy floor waffle of questions and everyone knows it. It’s garbage. Garbage garbage garbage. Garbage. Just awful. There is no question more vague yet with more obvious and similarly useless answers. It’s just the worst. The absolute worst. It’s not your fault either grey-face. Art education makes it seem like it’s a question that should be asked — that has meaningful responses — but it’s just the underside of a desk used by someone that constantly picks their nose. You know what you’re going to find and it’s not going to be remotely helpful. Neither was this.

Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration Process by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html

"Mass Effect Saga" - Illustration for Bioware by Sam Spratt

UPDATE: Thanks so much to all the majestic koala bears who ordered my print — the 500 metal-inked limited editions sold out, but you can always snag the open edition for those who place no value in me scribbling my name on things: http://www.biowarestore.com/art/lithographs/mass-effect-saga-lithograph.html

Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html Mass Effect - Illustration Process by Sam Spratt
Purchase here: http://www.biowarestore.com/mass-effect-saga-special-edition-lithograph.html

"Mass Effect Saga" - Illustration for Bioware by Sam Spratt

To celebrate the anniversary of the Mass Effect trilogy, I painted this poster for Biowareavailable at their store in 2 editionsWith a little under 2 weeks and a mess of replayi—err, *research* to do, I sketched out a composition that’d get the best of it in there, and began painting the majority of key players and aspects from the series. With a roster as large as the game has: I was selective (my custom ginger Shep did not make the cut). The special edition even has metallic inks on the golden text and border elements which I’m particularly fond of. You can snag one HERE.

Contest Winner(s) Announcement:

So after wrangling 10s of thousands of notifications into my randomopolometer (a magical Calvin & Hobbes-esque cardboard box with poorly written sharpie lettering on it and totally not a simple computer script), results have been spat out and I’ve sent friend requests and/or messages to both the main winner ( Rob C ), 2 signed prints to runner ups ( Lucy Y and Bas S ), and over the next few days, eyebrow haikus will begin trickling into various inboxes.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. Truly, the comments were … well: awesome, undeserved, but always grin-inducing. I’ll be working with the winner over the next couple weeks in between my current client project (which involves space and video games) and will post the resulting portrait as soon as it’s ready — fingers crossed that Rob wants dinosaurs.

SAM SPRATT’s 2014 PORTRAIT GIVEAWAY

In short: Reblogs and Likes of this picture are each entries to have me paint a personalized portrait of you.

In slightly less short: Longtime followers are no stranger to these contests but for those new to this or me, I’m an illustrator (my work: www.samspratt.com ) who has worked with National Geographic, Janelle Monáe, Childish Gambino, FX, Game Informer, Angry Birds, Wall Street Journal, among others – creating album and magazine covers, advertisements, and posters – but a big part of me being able to do all that has been you sharing my work over the last 3 years. As my small way of paying that forward, I’d like to paint for one of you as I would for my clients, but ya know … for free. Maybe you want that regal portrait of you in a velvet smoking jacket to hang over your mantel, maybe one of your loved one, favorite character, or perhaps you just want me to paint you however I see fit (warning: this will 100% involve dinosaurs) – if you can think it, I’ll probably paint it – and I’ll work with you to make it something special.

As usual I’ll also be sending signed prints and haikus about your eyebrows to extra winners. The contest will stay open for about a week then I’ll randomly draw winners. You can enter on facebook and twitter for extra entries but be cool and don’t spam your followers.

"5 hour 30 Minute Portrait Study" - Time-lapse by Sam Spratt

Got a bunch of requests to throw the HD version of my time-lapse painting from my instagram up on youtube so here you go. 

From last year: 5 hours of work in super speed.

More progress on RDJ.

RDJ sketch in progress.

by www.samspratt.com by www.samspratt.com

"Cleopatra" - Illustration by samspratt

My Afrofuturistic take on the Egyptian queen. This would’ve been done way sooner but I was dead set on designing chained shoulder and chest pieces and unsurprisingly: chains take a ridiculously long time to paint.

Sketching.

Gilded S - Illustration by samspratt

I don’t typically only make a single copy of an illustration and never make another, but exceptions are often made for family — this one-off from my Gilded series was made just for my brother Dan where it hangs in his home with my other 3: http://instagram.com/p/jILkSYQRTL/

(The Electric Lady Album Cover) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (The Electric Lady Target Edition) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Tomb Raider for Crystal Dynamics) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Killing Kennedy Key Art for National Geographic) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Because The Internet for Childish Gambino) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Tobias Funke) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Freddie Mercury) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Bill Cosby) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Janelle Monae for Atlantic Records) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com (Blood Brother Movie Poster - Sundance best documentary winner) Illustration by Sam Spratt - www.samspratt.com

It’s been a wild year. Here’s a few of my illustrations from 2013.

Have an awesome New Year, everyone.

-Sam

Loading posts...