|Here's my first illustration for 2018. I collaborated with my ex-wife, who provided the background while I drew Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Do you like it?|
I create my artwork using digital illustration, with a specialty for cartoons, comics, and anime art. Influenced by the television shows of my youth, I want my art to inspire young audiences in the same manner I was during my formative years. Cartoon art tells stories, features amazing characters, and uses vibrant colors and motion effects to bring an otherwise static image to life. Geek culture is so strong these days, in part because of our fascination for the super, the other-worldly, and the hope that good always prevails.
My original art is a combination of Eastern “anime” style mixed with the traditional Western “American” cartoon. I cater to both comic book readers and manga enthusiasts. I have plenty of stories that I hope to publish someday, each with a color cast of striking characters. In the meantime, I let my creativity flow with each new drawing and I do my best to polish it as a stand-alone work of art.
A significant portion of my artwork depicts pre-established characters from popular media. As I am not the original creator of these intellectual properties, the original artwork that I create using these characters is classified as “fan art”. This is quite common among digital artists and there is a market for it, not necessarily for profit, but for fostering community and allowing followers to show appreciation for their favorite heroes and heroines. These works are not for sale, but they drive traffic and jump start conversations.
It is my hope that I can create a movement of anime and cartoon type art. Growing up, I felt pressured to use my creativity to produce artwork using traditional media such as oils, acrylics, water color, etc. I felt as if though my cartoons were looked down upon, a childish hobby that would never amount to anything in my adult life. Every time I walked into an art gallery and saw the highly detailed and/or interpretive pieces hanging on the wall, it reinforced my insecurity as an artist and I felt like I didn’t belong in the art community.
Having been published recently as a children’s book illustrator and graphic novelist, I want to encourage others to learn the value of their drawings, doodles, and sketches. Digital media like the computer, drawing tablets, and painting software don’t need to replace age-old mediums, but they certainly belong side by side as legitimate tools for artists to create, explore, and express themselves. I want to create a call to arms for young artists to embrace their own styles and to follow their dreams. I want to encourage aspiring artists to draw every day and never give up in the face of criticism, self-doubt, and worst of all, comparing themselves to others.
Drawing has been many things for me. It has been a way for me to cope with my struggles. It has allowed me to escape and visit faraway lands, where I am the both the author and participant of my own stories. I have been able to express how I feel in ways that my words were unable to do. It has given me lifelong friends, characters, that I will never forget and will always contain a part of me. It would be a dream come true for the opportunity to share these things with others and let the world see my art, a huge part of my life, a glimpse into my heart.
James Art Ville is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. His love for art began when he was four years old drawing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As an adult, James continues to draw heroes for both children and adults alike. From book covers to children’s books, most of his work is done from home where he can be close to his four children.
James' latest work, the Raising Dragons Graphic Novel, is available now!