In 2019, digital rules the world. And for those that have perfected it, there’s gold in them thar hills. Enter Absorb81, a wildly talented artist with a natural gravitas for the growing tech tools far too complicated for us simpleton noobs to ever figure out. Bold, menacing, blocky. Here he is, dropping knowledge on us all.

Full Name: Craig Patterson
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Instagram followers: 42.2k

What color would your lightsaber be?
Definitely blue.

Pixel or pencil?
Although I love the way pencil on paper feels, I do bounce back and forth from pencil to digital. Don’t make me choose!

Where did the name Absorb81 come from?
So I was born in 1981, and I feel like I’ve been taking in inspiration throughout my entire life whether I was aware of it or not. So you could say I’ve been absorbing art and inspiration since 1981. 

How long have you been doodling?
I had to be about 7 or 8 when I got my first drawing book. It was Mark Kistler’s “Draw Squad” — that book and “How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way” kept me busy for the next few years.  Then, in middle school, I was fascinated with skateboard graphics and comic book art. Anything by Vernon Courtland Johnson (VCJ) and comic book artists like Todd Mcfarlane (Spawn) and Sam Keith (The Maxx) in middle school.

Your style really seems like you’ve perfected it, at what point in your life do you feel like it really clicked?
Honestly just in the last couple of years. I have to say though, even though it may seem that everything is clicking, there are those days where nothing seems to work. This usually happens when I try and design something I’m not feeling. I figure you stay true to your vision and everything seems to fall into place.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired daily by artists on social media. Photographers. Videographers. Musicians. Artists and Designers who are passionate about their craft and it shows in the work they put out into the world. Truly pushes me every day.

Music of choice while you work?
I tend to listen to a lot of trip-hop when I need to focus, but It all depends on the mood for the day. I’ll jump back and forth from other styles too like Danko Jones to Stevie Ray Vaughn, to The Devil Makes Three, to Mos Def, to The Mad Caddies — just to name a few. I’m a little all over the place.

Sunnyside up or scrambled?
If I’m just trying to get some quick protein, I’ll go with scrambled. Now if there are bacon and pancakes also … sunny-side up, without question! 

Best thing on Netflix?
The second season of Punisher was pretty killer, pun intended. But I can never get enough of Breaking Bad. I’m usually just running through all the seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Hulu right now. I should probably start some new shows. [laughs]

Best advice you’ve ever gotten (and followed)
I hate to say it, but the best advice I’ve gotten from anyone was that I needed to charge more. I was basically giving art away for so long that it made the idea of this ever becoming a full-time job seem impossible. I created art because I loved it and that was all I needed — or so I thought. When I finally decided to make this a career and listen to the advice of a friend I quit my job and went all in. The only thing I regret is not jumping sooner. 

PC or Mac?
I’m on a Mac because I just love the way everything looks and feels.

What kind of software do you prefer to use?
I bounce back and forth from Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. I use Clip Studio Paint for my sketching and inking because it handles brushes so well and it seems to perform faster than Photoshop. I use Photoshop for all my raster coloring and social media mockups. And then I use Adobe Illustrator for all my vector work for typography, mascots, logos and some detailed illustrations when I need everything clean and crisp.

Your ‘Blockhead’ pieces are crazy, what’s the story behind those?
I really just starting drawing dumb faces contained in the Instagram square and the name blockhead just fit. [laughs] I should really think about having more meaning behind my artwork.

Who is your dream client?
Honestly, I don’t have a dream client. I really enjoy working for anyone who loves what I do and trusts me with their brand. My goal though is not to have clients someday and just be able to create anything I want all day long. If you can dream it, you can do it, right? Isn’t that what Coach says in Saving Silverman?

Shameless plug(s):
I have a bunch of new products on the back-burner right now. New shirts, stickers, enamel pins, patches and screen print posters should be coming out soon. Also, I’ve had a lot of requests for online tutorials and process videos, so I’m really trying to make time to get that started. 

Instagram: @absorb81


Time Lapse video of some digital sketching. I turn the canvas a lot while I draw so buckle up and have your barf bag ready. SOFTWARE: Clip Studio Paint. #Timelapse #Skull #Sketch #Drawing #Artwork #Pencils #Digitalsketching #Absorb81 #video

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