I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dusty Peterson over the past few months after he agreed to do the artwork for my band’s latest album (Behold! The Monolith). He is one of the nicest people you could ever interact with and is supremely talented and one of the fasted up and coming artists in his fields of album cover art and video game art design. His artwork has graced the cover of two Bloodbath records, the aforementioned B!TM record and many video games. He agreed to be interviewed a few weeks ago and this is what followed:
Kevin McDade: When did you get heavily into drawing?
Dusty Peterson: When I was about 15. I’ve drawn my whole life, but I think that was the year that I really started to push myself beyond just being a hobby. Other than a little part time job at a Pizza Hut, I basically spent every hour of the day drawing.
KM: What were/are your influences?
DP: Michael Whelan is probably the artist I was most influenced by. When I was around 13 or so, I loved to go to the book store and sit in the art book section and just flip through art books. One that caught my eye was his book, “The Art of Michael Whelan”, and it totally changed my life. From that point on, art books were constantly on my Christmas and birthday lists. My dad bought me that book and many others, he was very supportive of me…those books are really expensive! Other artists around that time frame that helped forge my style are Wayne Douglas Barlowe and of course H.R. Giger. Then of course there are a ton of other metal album artists that I get inspired by daily.
KM: Did you go to any schools or academies for art?
DP: As far as illustration goes, I am self-taught. I do have a degree in Industrial Design Technology that I received from the Art Institute of Seattle, however. A little different than illustration, but at the time I had a fascination with Stan Winston and other similar creature shops and was still looking for a way to realize my dream of drawing monsters all day. Industrial Design Technology seemed like a decent degree to get me well-rounded and knowledgeable in the ways of model-making and prop building. Unfortunately, I found that industry to be quite difficult to break into after graduating and so I had to adapt to find work, which ended up being video game art. But really that degree had nothing to do with drawing at all. I think I might have had a perspective class in the first quarter that was mandatory for everyone, but that was it. Everything related to illustration has been on my own research and willpower to learn more.
KM: I know you do a lot of artwork with computers, what other mediums do you use/what is your favorite?
DP: I do primarily do my work in photoshop and other programs, but it’s all based around knowledge of fundamental painting techniques and I usually paint on 1 layer. I haven’t painted in traditional media in years, but when I was, I preferred acrylic and sometimes watercolor. These days unless it’s digital or pencil I don’t even mess with it. I miss it a little, but I just don’t have the space to set up an easel and stuff like that.
KM: I understand you do video game artwork for a living, what company do you work for, what games have you done, and what are you working on now?
DP: I’ve been in the video game industry for almost 10 years, so I’ve been at a few developers. The most noteworthy titles I have worked on are Spiderman: The Movie Game when I worked at Treyarch and F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2 when I worked at Monolith. Right now, I am working at a small developer called Cat Daddy Games and it’s great because we make casual Wii titles. Still very much a serious job, but the crunch and workload is far less demanding than at more “high profile” developers, so I am able to pursue my album cover side-career much more easily. When I was working at past developers, I could never have had the momentum I am having right now due to the 4-6 month long crunchs that would completely take over my life 2 times a year.
KM: You’ve done album covers for Bloodbath and my band, have you done any others and are you working on any album covers at the moment?
DP: Definitely, 2009 has been a great year for me. I just finished working on Six Feet Under’s cover for their next Graveyard Classics album and currently I am working on Whitechapel’s next. I also have another one coming up that I am really excited about, but the ink isn’t dry on it yet. I’m just so honored to be asked to do these things. From a band’s standpoint they are just looking for a cool cover for their new album, but from my standpoint I’m just constantly excited to be an artist and to have the opportunity to be able to work with such talented musicians to help realize their visions. It really is a dream come true.
KM: What are you working on (as a freelance artist) at the moment?
DP: The album cover thing is pretty much all I am doing right now beyond my day job. Both are completely different, but important parts of my life at the moment. When I am not doing either one of those, I just try to spend time with my wife, relax, and catch up on video games as I am quite a hardcore gamer (It’s “research”!).
Original article located HERE.