Hello again, dear group members
Administrative team have to inform you that during next 3 weeks we might meet some difficulties in approving your submissions as fast as we used to do it. In case of approval delay occurrence we hope for your patience and understanding
Hello pin-up artists and admirers!
A week ago we posted last of your lovely interviews and we would like to thank everyone who participated:
From now on we would not accept any new interview applications. The event is officially closed.
One of the interviews, the one with was lost and never got a chance to be seen, here it is finally found and ready to face the music:
Please introduce yourself in a few words
My name is Thom Chiaramonte, and Third Rail Design Lab is my publishing entity. I do comic art, character design, and commercial design work under the TRDL banner. Though my publishing has slowed int he last few years thanks to two small children being involved, I've been pretty busy nonetheless: I released the fourth chapter of my ongoing graphic serial, Finit-e; I also completed a number of client commissions, not only commercial design but mainstream comic art requests and a number of character design projects, which are my favorite of the bunch. I've also grown a reputation for doing good girl pinups in a vintage style, often of contemporary characters, and these have been used for stickers, prints, and so on. All told, I generally release between 75 - 100 illustrations and pin-ups, including mainstream character art done for a weekly art challenge I host on my site, as well as contributions to my pin-up series, Third Rail Thrills. I wouldn't say I have much mainstream notoriety at all, but in the last few years I was featured in an article on Comics Alliance and included in a collection of work published on iO9, so that was pretty swell. Behind the scenes, I have been working on the new editions of the TRDL Sourcebooks, which are world-builder resources for RPG campaigns, set in an collective universe, with interwoven origins and universal stats for easy conversion to various game formats. I haven’t had much time to breathe! All this is moonlighting: I'm an architect by day.
As far as what I do, my TRDL work is focused in a few different areas: We have the TRDL Source books, which I talked about above, set in the superhero genre. The FInit-e graphic serial is more of an espionage thriller, or at least appears to be at this point in the story. I do fan art and original design for both mainstream and creator-owned characters, both as commission work and for amusement. I have a few art series that i add to over time, the most popular of which being Third Rail Thrills, which is a pin-up girl illustration collection inspired by good girl pinups of the 30s-60s but with contemporary subject matter from com
- When did you start drawing? What medium do you prefer to use for your work?
I’ve been drawing since I was very young, around three or so. My parents were graphic artists, so I was surrounded by the tools of the trade and encouraged to explore my own artistic expression as much as possible. It was never really a question: I’ve had a pencil or stylus in my hand my entire life, and have taken great comfort in the satisfaction of creative outlet through art at times when life was otherwise difficult. I was influenced by my parents, absolutely, being surrounded by their work and the artist environment at home. Growing up I was neck-deep in comics, so certain artists jumped out at me as well as characters or stories that were general influences.
I've always been interested in the idea that technology allows artists to expand their own versatility and skill sets however they desire. But the race to use the newest tools and techniques is one I saw as a lost cause long ago. For example, I worked with computer rendering years ago when the industry was fairly new, from using computer programs (Mac paint, Photoshop) to digitally draw and color 2D work, to using 3D applications in architecture (what we call Object Based Design)… and as I would struggle to remain competent on the tools I learned and keep up on the emerging techniques in both industries, the younger designers were using these resources in school, and were producing amazing work before entering the workforce. The younger crows will always have a leg up as far as contemporary tools go.For me, it’s more about exploring what kind of work you want to do, and then building your competency around the tools necessary to get there, regardless of what might be the hottest app on the market or style in the funny books. That exploration phase is critical, and in my mind, never stops. But in architecture, as well as in illustration, i fear that people race to the glittery new tools without having a foundation in basic principles or the history of their trades. I know I struggle with that myself.
These days, the majority of my art is produced by hand in pencil first, then scanned at high resolution, printed in blue line onto a heavy stock called #234 from Borden & Riley, inked with Micron pens, and then rescanned for digital color in Photoshop using an Intuos tablet. I work on a Macbook Pro, and this year I finally bought a 21″ Cintiq display, and have been doing more and more digital inking as well as rendering directly on screen with it, when time and schedule permit. For the sequential art work, I also use Illustrator for text, balloons, page set-up, and so on. Overall, though, I’m a digital stylus guy when it comes to putting the illustrations together, and am very comfortable with those tools.
- What things and events inspire you the most?
As a kid, I was all about John Byrne! His work was everywhere and really exciting. As I got older, I would probably point to Masamune Shirow, for technical illustration and world-building design; Greg Rucka, for his ability to weave espionage, drama and comic formats together in a successful marriage, and Mike Mignola, whose character design and strong compositions and ink work taught me much about the less-is-more principle. Outside of comics, I was inspired by the work of Syd Meade, and very interested in the idea of being an world building designer: where everything from the characters to the design language of the costuming to the setting in which they interacted, were all part of a cohesive vision. My interests in his work in film led me to architecture school to get some experience before trying my hand at set design for film, and while I ended up becoming an architect instead, I took those same ideas to heart when creating the TRDL Universe and the Source books, which are absolutely a top-to-bottom world building exercise.
- If you were a famous writer what title would you choose for your future book and what kind of book it would be?
That's a tough question, as I am already a small-press publisher. But my next non-TRDL Sourcebook release looks to be 'Third Rail Thrills', capturing some of the good girl pinup art I've been doing the last few years...
- Do you enjoy drawing Pin-up? What Pin-up means for you and your creativity?
Certainly. It's really been growing to become one of my favorite subjects, along with doing character redesigns. I've always been in love with vintage pinup techniques. I'm a 'less is more' guy, so I like a little tease and flirty pose but not much more. The thing that drew me to pinup art when I was young,r I think, were the curves. The emphasis on posture and gentle curvature throughout the piece, as well as a certain playfulness, though much of that content is deemed sexist by today's standards.
- Please describe your vision of the ideal woman
This is a tough one, because I'm not sure what that even means. In terms of women I've known and loved, and certainly the one I married and the one I brought into this world, I value honesty, intelligence, creativity, and quirkiness. I've never been the guy that was going after the prettiest girl in school (unless she was also the biggest dork) but have been drawn to personality, in women of all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds and personal affectations. I really crave being engaged and amused. I like being challenged. And I like being part of a collective experience greater than my own. So, as you can probably guess, there's a certain disparity between the types of women I seem to draw in pinup or superhero art and the great diversity in women I've found personally engaging in real life.
As far as drawing pinups, I'm into period hairstyles, lots of waves and curls, curvy, hourglass figures, and lots of leg.
- Imagine that you were asked to make an illustration to decorate something. What would you prefer to decorate?
Bikes! I've been designing pinup girls as nose art/bomber girls for bicycle frames, and it's really fun to try and integrate the frame color into the piece, and fit the figure on the tubes properly, while capturing something that the client was interested in graphically.
- Are you a hobbyist artist? What is the most wonderful thing about drawing for fun?
I will always consider myself a hobbyist artist. I chose to go to college for a professional trade rather than make comic art a full-time gig, and that freedom to draw and create what i want on my own schedule comes with it limitations in making it successful as a business model. I tend to prioritize projects based on personal interest or collaborative challenge over strictly financial considerations. I think it's kept me well-rounded. Plus, one of my favorite things to do is design characters for gamers who don't draw. I love bringing their imagination to life on paper, and that generally means they aren't big pocket clients. I do it for the fun.
- And the last question ^^ How did you find out about group ?
I found this group through the group participation of other artists I was following. I actually found over the last few years that many nominal pinup groups on dA seem to be fairly unpleasantly restrictive in the types of work they wanted to see int heir groups, and focus on professional published works, scans, whatever. I don't take that personally, but I have run a site dedicated to giving both pro and amateur artists a place to collaborate freely for years, so I would rather see a variety of skill level enthusiast works than just slick pro work I can find other places. This group is my favorite!
Thank you, everyone! Have a great day