I first met Dave at Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and I’ve been a fan of his art ever since. He has worked on an impressive array of clients including American Greetings®, Coca Cola, Cartoon Network, Nike and Red Bull®. Dave and his wife reside in their Savage Monsters Secret Lair somewhere in LA, and are expecting a little monster of their own very soon.
What exactly do you do?
I’m a Color Stylist on the Cartoon Network show Uncle Grandpa, which means that I choose the colors for all the characters, props, and effects on the show. I also own Savage Monsters Industries and work with clients on a host of projects ranging from toy design to advertising and marketing to digital content. In what little spare time I have left, I also design products like stickers, buttons, t-shirts, and other fun stuff.
How long have you been working in this particular field?
I’ve worked on cartoons for television for a few years, but I’ve been an illustrator, animator and/or graphic designer for two decades, founding Savage Monsters in 2000. Of course, I’ve been drawing and doodling my whole life.
Do you have a current art obsession?
My brain goes in too many directions to have just one obsession. I love discovering new street art, making stickers, designing t-shirts and textiles, and making zines with other artist friends.
Are you a customer of Michaels? What do you look for in the store?
Tell us something about your creative work that almost no one knows.
Although I love monsters and my site is SavageMonsters.com, not everyone knows that I’m kind of a font nerd. In fact, I love designing my own typefaces. Okay, admittedly some of them look like monsters too.
Do you take part in any other art forms aside from your current profession?
Besides the stickers, buttons, t-shirts, zines and fonts? I’m not sure where I’d find the time.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from unexpected places. Cool product designs or vintage cereal boxes can lead to really fun ideas just as easily as hitting a museum or opening an art book.
Do you have any advice for young creatives who may be interested in pursuing a career like your own?
The best advice I can give is just to draw all the time. No, really, all the time. Yes, watch cartoons and look at others’ work—those things help. But if I have a spare second while my wife is in the changing room at a store, I’ve got my sketchbook out. I always keep one with me and I use it constantly. It’s become an integral part of my process now, even if I don’t always “use” what’s in it. But you’d be shocked at how often something I’ve dashed off in my sketchbook becomes the germ of an idea for a project. Oh, and be grateful. Thank the people who help you on the way up. They’ll remember it. (They’ll remember it more if you don’t.)