Steve Ferris

Illustrator and Artist

By Chad Lockwood: Epilogue
Would you introduce yourself and give a little personal background?
My name is Steve Ferris. I live out on eastern Long Island, NY with my wife and two sons. I didn't always paint and draw. Actually I wanted to be the next Jaques Yves Cousteau, and explore the ocean floors looking for treasures. But the movie "Jaws" put an end to that. What actually hooked me into the Fantasy and Sci-Fi world of Illustration was when I was working at my dad's special effects graphics shop in Manhattan. We always had Illustrations come through for color separation work but today was going to be different. Today Frank Frazetta's "Beserker" came in. I was in a trance the whole time it was there. I never thought any more about what I wanted to do.
How long have you been an artist? How long have you been creating fantasy art?
Since that time and on and off for 30 years.
Have you had any formal training in the fine arts?
I attended college at SUNY @ Farmingdale for Advertising, Art & Design. I mastered figure drawing under Professor Rafael DeSoto (A direct descendant of the world explorer). He recommended that I go directly to the publishing houses and I did. The rest was up to me. I began doing paperback jacket covers by 1982.
What are your biggest artistic influences and inspirations?
I love to draw and design people and animals in some sort of situation or action. But all artwork seems to inspire me. I love a good concept. You can create great work with any medium if your concept is good and on the flip side, a person can work slavishly for months on a piece and if the idea is poor, it will fail. Also I will say that music inspires me to draw. When I can't seem to get into that "zone" I put on a CD at 1:00 am and then I see mermaids, monsters and maidens. Trust me.
Can you describe your creative process - how you come up with ideas for a new drawing and how you take those ideas and create a finished piece of art.
You have to "doodle" a lot. I have ideas all the time for projects and they start out as doodles. Many will remain just that but if I like something I then go about doing a tight pencil. When I am happy with my design and pose, only then do i set out to collect some reference materials to "enhance" my pencil. I use photography but only to clarify some details and lighting. I avoid getting to close to it because it is full of limitations that your mind doesn't have. I finish them in oil and I never feel completely satisfied so my artwork will finally be over with, when I am over with.
Do you have a favorite fantasy artist or an artist you admire?
YES! Frank Frazetta. No other artist ever affected me the way he did. I even had the pleasure to meet him and talk to him a few times. Best "kick-in-the-butt" I ever had.
What advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out?
Paint and draw! Paint and draw! Paint and draw! Then learn the Macintosh and its programs to assist you with this new frontier we are experiencing. There are many ways to use a computer to set-up a comp, originate an illustration, or even finish one. But first you must paint and draw or you will always lose out to the artists that "Paint and Draw"!
If you could be a character from a fantasy novel, movie or game, who would you be?
Han Solo
Finally, what cartoons did you watch as a kid?
I was weaned on "Bugs Bunny" and "Road Runner"............beep-beep!


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