Episode 2: David Revoy

For our second interview, we spoke with David Revoy from Toulouse, France. David has worked as a professional illustrator for many years. He has recently earned the distinction of being able to make a modest living from his freely licensed webcomic, Pepper & Carrot, thanks to an army of Patreon supporters. His prior experience with free culture includes art direction for Sintel, an open animation movie by the Blender Foundation.

As background for our conversation, David shared some of his early and previously unpublished works with us. He talks about these paintings, and also about his perhaps most famous work, the “Yin and Yang of World Hunger“, which has earned him lots of admiration and, as he shares in the interview, negative comments and even death threats.

David talks, of course, about Pepper & Carrot, his technique and setup, and his hopes and dreams for the Krita community. He explains his choice of different Creative Commons licenses for his works, and his vision of turning Pepper & Carrot into a studio for free culture art and animation.

Days before the interview, David learned about a Kickstarter campaign raising funds for a print edition of Pepper & Carrot. The campaign is not his, and it was created without his knowledge, and initially without proper attribution of his work. This was resolved, and David has since tweeted in support of the campaign. In the interview, he explains why he sees such commercial uses — if done correctly — as completely fine.

Finally, David shares some thoughts and advice for artists seeking to use sites like Patreon to raise funds for their work. If that describes you, or if you simply enjoy David’s art and work as much as we did, we think you will find his motivations and insights inspiring.

For any further background on David’s work, we suggest you explore his well-structured homepage. It contains not only a selection of his works, but also tutorials, brushsets and a description of his hardware/software setup. For more specifically about his use of the open source painting software Krita, we also suggest taking a look at the recent Krita.org interview with David. And if you want to support David’s work, and just maybe help him make his dream of a free culture art studio a reality, you can do so on Patreon.


Transcript

Note: This transcript is edited for grammar and readability. A more literal transcription can be found in the subtitles (see below).

David, what’s your passion?

Oh, my passion is to draw pictures. I think those are the most generic terms I can find for everything I do. From concept art, to illustration, to everything. The common thing is making pictures. So, yes, I’m a picture painter.

But it’s all under a free license, right?

Yes, yes, I also have this passion for  free culture in general. For delivering things free, and open source.

How did that start, how did you get involved in open source, in free culture?

Oh, as far as I remember I always was interested in the open source movement. Even when I was using Windows and proprietary software I always kept an eye on the Linux distributions. I always kept an eye on GIMP. It was one of my first digital painting tools. And I always really appreciated the whole movement.

I was also very near to the Blender Foundation. And this culture finally got really inside of me. I finally got a part of it somehow. And now I try to also be an actor in it.

So you, as far as I recall, don’t have an education in art, right? You got involved on your own time. How did you get started doing art, and then making a living doing art?

I have a very tiny little education in art. But it was industrial art. It’s the art of making object design. And it was before I was 18 years old. So it’s not really serious study. (…) That’s why I often say in interviews that I have no education art. But as with everyone, it’s a bit false to say this. Because there’s thousands of tutorials available on the Internet.

Even if I studied them alone, I had a lot of books, I had plenty of resources. I can’t say I learned all by myself. I don’t live in a cave, and I didn’t find half of the tips and tricks I use alone.

You did some street art early on as well, right?

Yes, yes. I started as a portrait artist in Avignon. It’s a city with a lot of tourism in summer. And on the main place of the city, there already were portraitists. So I took time to watch what they were doing.

And because I was very young and they were not really afraid I was taking some money from them, they let me start next to them and I learned a lot of things next to them this way.

How old were you at that time?

19 years old.

I think you shared some pictures with me from that time, right?

Yes, yes.

We look at the pictures together.

01_Portrait-street-carrier

Provided by David Revoy, used with permission.

This picture was taken by a Japanese tourist. She was very nice to send it to me back at this time. It was a real photo, sent by postal. So I was happy to scan it a few years ago.

How old were you in this picture?

19 years old.

19 years old, wow. And where is this taken?

It’s taken in front of a bar in Avignon.

And what were you drawing there? Do you remember?

I was drawing this girl. [laughing]

(…)

And what’s the story behind this picture?

03_Vanity_davidrevoy-early-painting

Copyright (C) David Revoy, Creative Commons Attribution License.

At the same time I was doing portraits, I started to make paintings, because in the winter, it was harder to live so there were no tourists, but there were a lot of art galleries in Avignon. So I started to do a lot of paintings. And this is a painting I made for this exhibition.

But this one is one of the rare ones that wasn’t sold. It’s very black, and I even kept this one for myself. Because there is a very strong focus on the portrait. And there is some weird reflection on the vase of the flower.

And if you see on the corner, you can see that it’s a skirt with the candle on
it. So there is this flower that’s almost dying. It’s on the theme of nudity, some smoking. There are a lot of irregular things in this painting. She also clearly has an arm of man in front.

So, this is probably one of my weirdest paintings. And one of my probably more interesting.

Because at this time, to sell paintings I mostly did flowers, flower in vase. I mostly did decorative paintings. The kind of painting as you can buy at IKEA. Just decorative, a lot of colors, low price. Very fast to do, just to sell them.

04_Smoke_davidrevoy-early-painting

Copyright (C) David Revoy, Creative Commons Attribution License.

Oh, this is a picture from the same period. But just after. And I started to mix the decorative aspect with the frame painting, and with keeping interesting subjects, like bodies, and not flowers anymore.

And I was starting to go a bit abstract. So, yes, I really liked this period, because it was colorful, abstract and I started to be a bit more artistic. Less figurative. Less trying to do gradients, skin textures and everything.

You can sort of recognize the date by the cell phone.

[laughs] Yes, yes, this is the old Nokia phone from 2000, yes!

05_flowers_davidrevoy-early-painting

Copyright (C) David Revoy, Creative Commons Attribution License.

And this is one of the more decorative paintings you were mentioning?

Yes, and this is the end of my painting period. This piece was one of, like, 20 similar to this one. In different colors. I was totally going to almost abstract, and the pleasure of color and form for themselves.

So, I’m really happy to have made a lot of paintings and to have pushed my creativity to deconstruct things, still going to abstract.

It’s very satisfying now, what I learned. Because now I’m an illustrator, but I do very figurative things. And I still remember what is more important in art than just representing, or just the technique.There is something emotional that you can just reach with colors and don’t need to represent ..

Very beautiful choice of colors, for sure.

Thank you. On a screen it’s nothing. In real life, with all the glazing, and all the layers it’s, when there is a sunray on it, it’s wonderful.

I can’t see it anymore. It was bought. [laughs]

So, in the opening sequence we saw this painting , The Yin-Yang of World Hunger. Can you talk a little bit about the story behind this painting?

Yes.

And I think that one is computer art.

It’s computer art, yes. Like 80% computer art. There was a drawing made on paper at first, and I did a scan of it.

Sometimes there is some idea that won’t leave your mind. And this was one of them. I just was working I think on the metro in Toulouse, and suddenly I just saw a yin-yang somewhere.

And I get this idea that the black part is not really balanced in real life. But it was really controversial, and I said no, if I represent this, people will believe it’s about racial things, and geopolitical.

When the questions started to circle like this in my head I said, okay, I will not survive with all these questions in my head. I need to put it down to see what it will be. It resulted in one of my most controversial pieces, probably.

Controversial how?

Yeah. Because even this week I still received a lot of comments about it. Some people sent me statistics and said, “You see your artwork is not the truth.” Or: “This doesn’t represent white people.”

They’re totally off-topic. It’s not really about white and black people. It’s really about two sides that should learn to share the resources, and that can’t.

The two sides are suffering, and people don’t get it in this illustration. They think there’s one side that’s very happy and the other side that suffers. And I want to show that the pain for the body exists on both sides.

I’m just angry at the out of balance things. And this artwork was all about it. Not race, not really geography, not really all the things I could learn about it. But it’s really about things out of balance, about food.

Yes, I still receive some crazy emails about it. Some even threaten me to death for this piece.

Wow.

Yes, but I feel secure. I think it’s just email. I also receive email from political groups – there are political groups who want ot use this piece. In South Africa. And I always refuse.

This is, for example, one of the pieces that would be very problematic for me
to put in Creative Commons Attribution. Because the sort of reuse that would be too difficult to manage.

Yeah, so on that one, I think you’ve chosen the Non-Commercial and No-Derivatives, so people can still use it like in this video but not if it hey’re using it commercially and not if they’re manipulating it or adding meaning to it that isn’t there to begin with.

Yes, and if someone hear this during this interview, my art in Creative Commons Non-Derivative and Non-Commercial, is just the public license behind it. (…)

But if you come to me with an email, or if you want to work with me, just contact me, and I can give exceptional permission to override, to let you display it in a video, or to support some things.

There are plenty of associations about hunger that use this illustration, and I’m really happy to give them the illustration for free. But it’s just a filter.

So, recently you’ve started to create a webcomic, called Pepper & Carrot. And Pepper & Carrot is a very ambitious project. The individual episodes, how much time do you take for any one of these episodes? They’re huge, right?

I don’t count. [laughs] Probably if I say the amount of hours, people won’t believe me and they would say no. Really, it probably represents more than 10 hours per frame sometimes. Because I start over.

If I don’t like the story I remove something, and I add. I just want to make it perfect, as I would like it to be. This idea is very crazy, because when I look back to the first episodes now, I see them as very not perfect.

But maybe I took a bit of skill along the way, and I’m really happy about seeing that now I would handle them totally differently.

I’m really happy to put all what I have inside it, and to push them to the point that I can’t push it anymore. Because it’s the only true way to see where I am as an artist. When I see now an old episode I know that I couldn’t do better even if it’s crappy, I couldn’t do better. I gave it all I could, so it’s really representative of all my skill at that moment.

I don’t have really a lot of regret but of course I always want to do them all over, and think them all over, and make everything look better.

Can you talk a little bit about your technique? You sketch a little bit on paper for P&C?

Oh, Pepper & Carrot is a pure laboratory of techniques. I don’t have any rules for the techniques. I have drawings that come to my mind in color. I have drawings that come to my mind in concept, and I need to invent a machine, or to make a plan. And I have things that come with words.

So, depending where the input comes from in my mind, and how lazy I am — because sometimes starting on paper can take more time than starting on the computer for some topics — I manage all of this inside my brain.

I often start with a method, it’s always the wrong method. I’m really, really gifted to pick always the wrong method. [laughs] The one after ten panels I hate, and I say, no, not anymore, next time I should find something else. This is too hard.

But yes, I don’t have any rules. Yes, I can start on paper, I can start on the computer, I can ink directly with pencil, or I can ink on computer.

Do you have some sketches you can show us?

David pulls up some sketches. Follow the links to jump to the relevant segments in the video.

Oh, yes. So, sketches about Pepper. Is it good like this?

Yeah, we can just barely make it out, yeah. We can see her hat!

Yeah, I think if I remove her hat, a lot of people wouldn’t recognize her. Yes, her hat is just a big part of her personality. Yes, I had one user who submitted a story. It’s a story of Pepper losing her hat. And I was really curious, if she loses her hat, it would be very difficult for her to ..

So, another. Yes, there’s a bit of storyboarding on the top.

And a unicorn, I see. I don’t think the unicorn was in the webcomic yet, so ..

Yeah, no, rejected for the moment. [laughs]

It’s a slightly bored unicorn.

[laughs] Ah yes, I really want to make this fantastic and beautiful creature look totally boring and depressive. [both laughing]

I think I have a dragonpig on this one.

Oh, that’s awesome. We’ve seen the dragoncow before, but not a dragonpig.

This one is still rejected. It looks too fabulous for a dragonpig. Dragonpig should probably be maybe be more like this one.

Yeah, that’s a more conventional pig with wings.

All of these drawings are cleaned. I work on it and all. And I found something that I never show, but this is really the true stuff. When I do sketches, this is how it really looks. And you will see it’s not looking really good.

These were the sketches for the city of Komona. It’s notes, it’s a type of picture that I can only understand myself.

And here is the script of the episode six. Yeah, it’s a bit messy and old.

Yes, sometime I’m even too ashamed about this skill, about sketching. So I have to redraw a bit the sketches before putting them online.

I want to say to the younger audience that say, “Oh, whoah, you made a sketch, it’s again something beautiful”, most of the time the artist who does a beautiful sketch, there is work behind it.

And the real sketch is the same for everyone. It’s just ideas on the paper. We don’t need to be brilliant when we do a sketch. It’s just ideas.

And on the computer, you use a tablet, right?

Yes, yes.

What kind of tablet is it?

It’s a Wacom Intuos. It’s an old tablet. I will try to show it. I will put it on my point of view. Here is my landscape daily when I work.

And you use an application called Krita for the most part, right?

I’m really happy to use Krita now, because by the past when I was already on
the open source, I was using a mixture of a lot of software. A fork of GIMP, GIMP Painter, made by Japanese developers.

I was using also MyPaint, a little software compared to GIMP for painting, and  another one, maybe also little, Alchemy, to do some sort of symmetry and chaotic things.

I am really happy now because there’s this Krita project and I can do all my artwork from scratch on it, from the zero point to the end, inside it. That’s a very big change from what I experienced only four years ago.

So, when I look at the stuff that you share online, you don’t just share the artwork, you share speedpainting, you share tutorials, you share wallpapers, you share the brushsets, so you make a lot of your internals and your process visible, which helps other people to learn from you, which I think is great.

What would you like to see from the community that you’re not seeing. What would you like to see from the Krita community, from the Krita users? Is there any area in which the product, or the community, could do better?

I would really like this community to create a subcommunity. I would like to see a free/libre painter forum maintained by young people. I see a lot of this type of community on videogames.

I would like to see the same energy in Krita, around GIMP, around Mypaint, and not only the official website or the official forum, but some place more creative, about creativity.

More about creativity than about the technique. Just to leave the official forums for the technique, for the bugs, for how to do this or that, and the creativity on a separate platform.

You’re probably now, today, one of the few people on the planet who make a living, or almost make a living, from freely licensed art. Can you talk a little bit about how you came to be to the point where you can actually derive at least a partial income from this work?

It’s a very long process, and it starts probably at the Sintel project. I was the part of the Sintel project, and in the intro video you see a little part of it.

This project was an open movie, produced by Ton Rosendaal at the Blender Foundation with all the artists, and I made the art direction on it.

The whole project was crowdfunded, and of course the movie, the source of the movie, and everything is also libre and open license.

So, if you look at Pepper & Carrot, and if you look back to the origin inside Sintel, there is a sort of pattern. There is the same license, there is the type of media — it’s not 3D animated but it’s just entertainment.

And I think I got really inspired by this model. I also put a credit [for supporters] at the end of each episode, as the Blender Foundation put a credit at the end of the movies.

From people online, I received email, “Your business model is totally crazy. Can you call it a business model even?” Yes, it’s something I saw working, you have to trust.

When I started Pepper & Carrot, my wife looked at it and said, “You shouldn’t use this crazy license.” And I said, “No, I should.” [laughs]

No, the true story, when I started Pepper & Carrot, I started it as Non-Derivative and Non-Commercial. The first Patreon page. And the second Patreon funder I had, a long user in the free community, said to me, “Why do you use Non-Derivative and Non-Commercial.”

And I thought about it, and, yeah, why? That’s crazy, I limit myself with this license. So, I sent him a letter and said, yes, you’re right. I will go Creative Commons Attribution. This is the way to go.

But I wasn’t really 100% sure. When you start from scratch, there is a lot of doubt about everything, so ..

And now you have a commitment from your fans to get, what is it, now more than $900 for every finished episode of Pepper & Carrot?

Yes, and it’s a lot. From the perspective of a free project, it’s a lot. From the perspective of entertainment project only, I don’t propose development, I don’t sell rewards, and all my comics, all my source, all my bonus and extras are online.

So from this perspective it’s really a lot. I thank a lot all my Patreons. I don’t know how to say, Patreons or patrons! I often mix the two. I’m sure people laugh about it. I really thank them to stand behind Pepper & Carrot. It represents a lot to me.

Of course it’s a dream come true.  Every artist I know would love to make their own comics. Would love to get paid for making it. To keep control of it. Of the stories, of tthe heart.

I worked a lot for publishers in the past. And if I had a publisher for Pepper & Carrot, I’m sure they would ask for more breast for Pepper. They would say, hey, Pepper could be a bit more older, with a bit more sex appeal, because it’s a comic, and the target audience are male teenagers, could you fix this. And after, if I start to fix something like this, they would say,”Ah, next story, I want a battle, and next story, you could do this.”

Artwork publishers, they also take care of marketing nowadays. And I’m really happy I can make crazy ideas and stories about Pepper & Carrot without relying on violence or sexual things or all the classics of the comics format. And this, I can only thank my patrons to make this happen. Because without them I would have to go to a publisher to live for doing Pepper & Carrot.

Yes, it would be closed, I would probably work six months without being able to show any artwork to the community, so it’s very very hard to work alone, doing forty page of comics, and suddenly just release them for people who can pay for it. Buy the books.

It’s really not a model I like. I really like to be online. To propose new artworks. To interact with the audience.

So, you talked earlier about the non-commercial restriction. The idea to limit what people can do, whether it’s making derivatives or selling your work.

Just a couple of days ago someone created a Kickstarter with the art from Pepper & Carrot, raising money to create a printed version of your comic that they do not legally have to give you any share of. And it seems to be a very successful Kickstarter so far. And I know you’ve been talking to the guy who launched it.

Can you talk a little bit about your feelings on that kind of reuse and resale
of noncommercially, community-created art?

Yes, there was an issue in this Kickstarter. The author of the Kickstarter, in the description of his crowdfunding page, was acting like he was the creator. He was quoting my name but he was acting like it was my Kickstarter page, and it was really not visible inside the page.

So people couldn’t really know if it’s not me. For example, people don’t know really my picture, so they could say, “Oh, it’s how David Revoy looks, and he took a nickname on Kickstarter, it’s his page, and he wants to print his comic.” And that was an issue, because I don’t know what the quality of his comics will be.

I wish it will be good because the Kickstarter is successful. It’s already, I didn’t check, but I think it’s really crossed now, a lot, the goal. And, so I asked him to make a little paragraph about himself and saying it’s a derivative project. It’s a republishing. And also adding a link to the Creative Commons Attribution. And also linking to the original website.

Because on the first page, there was no link. There was no link to Creative Commons or even mentioning it was taken from a libre comic. So it was just a wrong usage of the Creative Commons license. Now it’s fixed I’m really happy for him. Because I know there are people behind this type of project.

I’m really happy if Pepper & Carrot can bring more money for external people. I’m really happy also to see it’s a success. Because, yes, of my drawings, and that’s like a little publisher project.

So, yes, I encourage this type of project, but I really like when it’s done respecting the rules. What I often dislike about the usage of Creative Commons in commercial usages, because it’s free, people just get out of the rules. It’s free, so it’s easy to misuse or just trash the author name. When people don’t pay for it, they sort of don’t respect it.

And I dislike that, because I would prefer to see it the other way around. It’s easier to respect something that was given for free, in my opinion.

Yeah, it’s interesting. In my experience with Wikipedia, what happened, a lot of people created these automatically generated books, for example, and sold them on Amazon, with Wikipedia articles in them. But on the other hand, other people created these new distribution mechanisms for Wikipedia.

Offline distribution for developing countries. Mirrors that are faster to access in certain regions of the world. A Wikipedia for Schools version. And some of these projects were commercial in nature. 

So you sort of get the good with the bad with the Creative Commons Attribution license. You get new creative reuses, and something like this Kickstarter arguably is showing, wow, there’s actually a lot of people who would love to see a printed version of Pepper & Carrot, which is perhaps something that wasn’t clear before.

But on the other hand, they don’t have to play nice. But you as an artist have a lot of power to say, “Look, this is a good project, this is a bad project. You should be paying attention to this person, you should not be supporting that person.” And I think people will listen if you were to say, “No, this is not a legitimate Kickstater, you shouldn’t support it.”

Yes, and I was really happy to be in contact this morning with the author of this Kickstarter because he could send me a link to his previous Kickstarter, and say it’s showing he already did this for other comics, and the comments were positive about receiving the comics.

So I know he will deliver something, I know people will be happy with the print quality. So that’s why at mid-day I reposted it everywhere to show my support for his work, because as far as I understood, the comics will be delivered in September.

So he will probably have to print them, to ship them, get postal addresses and all. Of course maybe it’s more simple than creating them. But I’m really supportive of it. [laughs] Because it’s probably something, I wouldn’t have the time to do it myself. To keep a stock of all the Pepper & Carrot books, go to the post and fix all the address problems and all. If I do this, I will not draw. [laughs]

So, Dave, what’s your big vision? On the Patreon page you make mention of this idea of Hereva studio. Can you talk a little bit about what that means? Like, if you reach the goal — what was it, tens of thousands of dollars per month? Some very crazy ambitious amount.

Yes, yes. I remember because I was with my wife, and I presented her the offline version of the new milestone with this crazy goal at the end. But it wasn’t that, I think it was like 5000 dollars for this goal. And she saw it.

“You want to make a studio with 5000 dollars a month?” [laughs] And I say, “Yes, it’s asking quite a bit.” “Okay, let’s do the math, we are in France, you need room, apartment, to pay the tax, for people to clean the room.” And we started to write everything, at the end, we saw it, and we saw that the base price for it is maybe this amount per month. And it’s only a base price, it’s not even fancy.

And I said, okay, well, I have to be realistic, because if it’s not realistic, and I can’t deliver something, it will be very crazy.

So, what’s the idea? What would the studio do?

Oh, I think every artist can relate to this. In a very pretentious way, the goal behind Pepper & Carrot is probably to make something as big as a Disney or a Ghibli. But with free culture. I want people to be able to open [theme] parks, to be able to reuse merchandising, to be able to do movie and TV and anime series. And everything.

Don’t be afraid to reuse the character, to just make a little appearance in a movie or something. I would like to build something as big! But for the moment I’m alone. And this idea is very pretentious. So I just keep it for myself.

So, the Hereva studio, for the moment, is just the the seed of this big thing. It’s a studio with a 3D artist to make a first animated version. Because I believe animation with voice, with acting, with everything, makes it easier to get a far wider audience than comics.

I love comics, I will still do comics, I will still do the episode per month, even if I have the studio. I will still create and develop the characters. But I want to build alongside it a version easier to see, to watch, for younger generation, who see a lot of high quality, high definition. Any maybe a comic is not enough anymore for them.

So really, to take Pepper & Carrot to a completely new level.

[laughs] Oh, yes, yes. It would give a life, give a voice to Pepper. Give movement. Give soundtrack. Everything.

Stuffed animals.

[laughs] Yes, yes. And I’m really afraid about this period. Because it will be very hard to manage. But I’m really positive it will happen.

So do you think we’re now in an era where anyone with talent can create free culture and make a living doing it? Are we at that point yet?

I wish. I really wish we were.

It would be pretentious to say I’m an example of this. I’m just lucky to be at the right moment with maybe the right competencies for this. And maybe it will be a fashion. Maybe in one year, or two years I will have no supporters because another model will be better for it.

So it’s hard to say if our period is a good period for talents to just live from their passion. All of the Patreons and all the ways to fund projects are very related to the [size of the] audience. Someone who starts and has no audience, no base audience, will have a lot of difficulty, even if he made or she made the most perfect artworks ever.

It will grow. Good artwork, good quality will always attract, and that’s fair, that’s how it works. But it takes time, it takes really a lot of time.

And on my side, I started Pepper & Carrot with not a big audience, maybe people would laugh at me if I said a big audience. But with maybe people who care about my work already. So it’s really helped to spread the word, to talk about it. And without this base audience, I think I wouldn’t be at this level on the Patreon on Pepper & Carrot.

What would you say to people who are trying to do this from scratch, who are trying to build a Patreon community like you did. What advice would you give them?

The first advice, focusing on quality. And when I say quality, it’s not technical quality, it’s also emotional contents, the storytelling behind each piece.

Something interesting, to build some interest. And they can choose to be generous or not. I don’t say, go to Creative Commons Attribution because I did. No, this is a personal choice.

I think if an artist is not comfortable with it, you can still even make very good quality, post it for free online. And just posting it for free online is already a very big gift in a way.

I think a lot of artists start to paint and just struggle on the technique side, and say, I must find a way to make this face look beautiful to attract an audience, and it doesn’t work this way. I think it’s more about the content and the theme.

Even though I’m a technical artist I never really cared about the techniques. But I paint, I paint every day. So, techniques came, and when you’re frustrated, because it doesn’t look great, you fix things on the way.

But without something to say, it’s easy to just do techniques and say, okay, I will probably start to tell things when I will be ready technically.

And I see plenty of artists that are very gifted, technically, but that have
nothing to say by the end. Because they just focused on techniques. So they do pretty girls, pretty girls, pretty girls, pretty girls.

“I painted a pretty girl.” “Oh, a fan art, oh, a fan art, a fan art.” They even don’t have own images. They have to pick the universe of something they saw, because their imagination is empty. And yes, I’m very sad for them. Because it feels like an empty shell. There is nothing inside. The outside is very beautiful, the technique is perfect, very impressive.

So, that’s my advice for people who begin with art and trying to make a community. Just work on the content.

Focus on creating something new, something original, right. I mean, if you think about all the successful webcomics online now, like XKCDSMBC, all of those great strips. They’re all very original ideas, very lovingly done, lots of attention to the content, but the art itself, the technique, may not even be that amazing in many cases.

Like, XKCD is stick figures, literally. And yet it has this huge following, because the ideas are really beautiful.

I often say to students asking me over email, imagine if Terry Pratchet — he’s not living now, I was taking this example often then — imagine if he was drawing, even stick figures. He would be successful in comics.

Even if people didn’t know his empire of worlds and books. I’m sure an artist like this with only stick figures could also be very successful.

And after that I say, okay, and now imagine one of the best painters of all time with nothing to say and with no content, and he couldn’t be successful.

Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us and for sharing all your work so freely and so generously with the world.

Thank you a lot for your time, for this little window on talking about my passion, and also for supporting myself. I really appreciate it


Subtitles

As of June 3, 2015, subtitles in English are available. Please help to provide translations. You can download subtitles and add translations on Amara (you may have to reload that link after creating an account). If you’re interested in getting involved on an ongoing basis (including possibly doing your own interviews!), please join our mailing list.

Production notes

The introductory video was created by myself (Erik Moeller) from David’s art and using freely licensed music by BrunoXe; licenses and attribution are noted in the video. If you watched episode 1, you’ll notice a few more creative uses of the video format in this one; this partially reflects my own increasing level of comfort with Blender as a video editing tool. As with episode 1, I’ve cut a few minutes of silences, choppy audio/video, or circular bits of conversation.

Side note: I conducted this interview while visiting family; the backdrop is my father’s office in northwest Germany. Getting a couple of hours of complete silence, and his help obtaining an unusually long Ethernet cable and using a mattress to protect against outside street noise was much appreciated.😉

The interview portion of the video is public domain (CC-0); featured content is copyright by the respective artists and under the license noted.

2 thoughts on “Episode 2: David Revoy

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