Justin Buus

How Painter simplifies the illustration process behind The Times Elsewhere storytelling

What inspired you to become an artist?

As a teen, I was always into the deeper meaning of things. It made me look into the way things looked, or felt - so slowly, nature became a huge inspiration to dive into expressing my visions, or ‘dreams’ as a reality. Things like the pattern on leaves, or the way a branch curved, I felt showed me how to draw - even if I never matched up to what I could see or felt. There is no hesitation or doubt in nature. This taught me a lot.

Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on right now?

I’m working on a newspaper called The Times Elsewhere.

Have you ever seen a twirl of wind, picking up the leaves off of a sidewalk? This is a spirit from Elsewhere, trying to take flight right in front of you.

The Times Elsewhere is a real, printed newspaper that will come to your door , telling the story of a blind boy named Myles. Myles accidentally ventures into an forest of evil, meeting spirits, demons and invisible children called ‘In Betweens’. Of course, his perception can’t see the face of evil - only the heart of it. This makes him unusually brave, regardless of how clumsy he proves himself to be. Along the way, Myles meets an ‘In Between’ named Alexandrea. As Myles and Alexandrea fall in love, she helps him on his journey out of the dark forest, acting as a guide, and helping Miles defeat a villain named Moss, before becoming a spirit himself.

What has been your favorite project to be a part of? Why?

For sure the character design. I try to meet my characters through writing, and exploring different sides of myself. I love to not only create the characters, but understand them. Sometimes it feels like building a relationship between myself and whatever I’m creating. There is even a ‘Whispering Well’ that gives Myles bad advice as he passes. I feel that the well is the clumsy, careless side of me that would rather sit still than do something about my problems.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start my work at night usually around 10:00pm. Of course we all say ‘I grab my coffee, make sure I’m ready for tomorrow, get my slippers’, but I feel the more important part of starting my night session is writing something personal. Even if it’s a jot of some kind, it helps me know how I feel, and from there I can create something personal visually, since I’m not trying to figure that out while I’m drawing. This is a huge part of my night, especially after a long day.

I start by fishing around in little Bic pen intuitional doodles, and then if I like it, I can scan it into my PC and bring it to life in Corel Painter. I’ll either look up more reference, or ask a friend what they think, or if I should add anything, and then spend the rest of my evening honing in on creating that one thing. I try to create a good playlist to help bring the emotion out in my work as well.

After that, I try to connect it with the story I’m creating, and sometimes, it doesn’t make it in. I can either recycle that design or magical element later, or I can start over again with mystical pen sketches until the morning. It’s a fun process I find frustrating if I miss a single day of.

How does Painter help you in the development and creation of your artwork?

Painter gives me the feeling that my work has worth. It’s hard to do that with other ‘digital’ brushes - but when it looks and feels like real media, I feel like the image is made of something real. It helps me make more serious choices that I would in real life as well. This is a huge impact on my process, and can simplify it by hours.

What’s your favorite Painter tool/feature? Why?

The watercolors and glazing brushes. I enjoy getting a good sense of draftsmanship with random pencils, inks and line experiments, and then playing with how I can color it - even if it’s super simple.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists?

Draw what you love. That doesn’t mean your mom, or your girlfriend (maybe it can be)- but the reality that you see, want or admire is the most important thing you can express. I received this advice from well known artist Iain Mccaig, and it’s probably the single best thing I’ve ever went by. I feel that the longer I went drawing only what I enjoyed, I gained sort of.. a happier sense of myself, and it was easier for me to understand who I was/am. It helps me know what I want to do next, or how to create it- even if it’s irrelevant to the project I’m working on now.

What hardware helps you get the job done? System and peripherals.

My XL Wacom Intuos4 has been pretty incredible. I use an HP Envy tower PC, which I haven’t broken yet - but the two combined feel like a line creating beast that I simply don’t deserve.

To learn more about Justin visit justinbuus.com