Featured Artist Interview With Steve Prescott

Get to know Featured Artist Steve Prescott in this Q&A

Steve Prescott is one of our three Featured Artists for Gen Con 2020! Get to know him and his work in this Q&A, then check out his work this year at the convention!

The Art Show is a special section of the Exhibit Hall where more than 80 artists display and sell their work. The artists are selected by an independent jury and work primarily in fantasy, sci-fi, comics, horror, and gaming illustration.

Ohio native Steve Prescott has been drawing all his life, and professionally since 1995. His savvy and often whimsical eye for character, design, and storytelling has brought him work from a variety of clients including Blizzard, White Wolf, FASA, Animal Planet, Draco Games, Copenhagen Creators, Valve, and most notably Wizards of the Coast, where he has contributed heavily to Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. 

What inspired your interest in art and illustration?

The simple answer would be art, illustration, and the world around me inspired me to want to be an artist. The more complex and egocentric answer would probably be the desire to create things my own way and with my own vision. I approach most all of my work with the thought of, “That thing is cool but how can I make it cooler?”

What’s the first step in starting a new piece?

I have to get a feel for the tone or mood of it. What’s the mood here? If there is a focal character in the image (usually), is the character going to be angry or serene or jolly, etc.? Then I envision kind of the energy I want that character to be presenting. It’s not quite the actual pose or gesture because that tends to change as I try different positions to fit the frame and composition, but it’s more the body language I want to show. Once I have a feel for those things, I get to drawing.

What’s your working setup like? Do you have a set battlestation, or do you like to work wherever you are?

My studio at my drawing table or easel is generally the place I make the major creative decisions. Anywhere else can be too distracting when I’m really trying to work out the meat of an image. I can do less intensive decision-making stuff (like just plotting out design elements in a costume or whatever) on my porch or at a coffee shop or friend’s house.

What’s the best piece of technical advice you’ve been given about making art?

Don’t be afraid. I cant remember who said this and it definitely wasn’t in so few words. But the general idea was how can you learn and grow and become more proficient at this or that if you’re too timid to trip and fall on your face?

Do you listen to music while you work? What’s your favorite record lately?

I go back and forth between music and playing movies in my studio. Some of my favorite bands to work to are Nine Inch Nails, Goldfrapp, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Soundgarden, and Wolf Alice. But lately I’ve been hitting repeat an awful lot on King Buffalo — great, brooding, almost psychedelic/hypnotic rock that keeps me in my zone.

What’s the best thing someone could say to you about your work?

That it changed their life. That has been said to me twice before. It’s super touching. I don’t create art with deep, profound messages but I feel like I put a lot of heart and soul and character into my work. That my work speaks to somebody so strongly that it changed the person’s way of looking at things or drawing or creating or whatever? That’s really powerful.

If you could pick anyone in history, alive or dead, to commission you to make their portrait, who would it be?

Oof! Tough one. I’d either do Chris Cornell or Stan Winston. Chris’s voice has been profoundly moving to me since 1990 — BUT! … Stan would give me a great opportunity to paint aliens, predators, terminators, and a T-Rex!

You’ve been trapped in a swirling, purple mist in interdimensional limbo by an ancient and omnipotent being. Before they will let you escape and re-enter your reality, you must draw them something. What do you draw?

Meek, hairless, and highly annoying animated TV star Caillou barfing into a sock.

Jordan Augustine
Jordan Augustine

Content & Marketing Specialist at Gen Con