We had the pleasure of interviewing illustrator Wayne Danting-Langdale, who recently was one of the top 5 writers of the Pennine Ink Writers’ Flash Fiction Competition 2018.
1. Where do you get your inspiration?
It varies in all honesty. A lot of my ideas and how to put them across come from my love of folk tales and traditional stories; the creatures in myths and camp fire treats. That’s usually a big part of it. Then, I have the pieces that are inspired by real life moments – something that I’ve seen or a person I’ve spotted – things that make me think that there is more than meets the eye, or I make up a little story about them. The last is if I have a rough theme in mind, so it almost becomes social commentary, for example, I have a piece that talks about loneliness coming up. I find the ones that connect with me and my life in some way are the ones I become the most passionate about.
Lately I’ve focused a lot more on my writing and creating stories, so I have been starting with the inspiration like I mentioned above, then writing a very short story about the character that pulls me in even more to the point where they sprout wings and fly from the paper. Then I illustrate them.
2. What is your favorite medium?
Watercolour or pencil. Through school we had a simple thing that not many of the kids noticed, only the most ‘skilled’ ones were encouraged to use anything other than pencil or basic paint and there wasn’t much in the way of instructions. Well, not that I found, anyway. So I got quite picky about using pencil. I owned it as much as I could. I began experimenting in college but I still stuck to pencil as my main thing and avoided paint like it wanted me dead. After becoming a teacher and creating an illustrated book for my wife, that’s when I first began to use anything other than pencil, and in all honesty, probably the first time I started being serious about art since I was young. I began with ink, then I started using ink as if it was watercolour. I realised what I was doing and thought I may as well give watercolour a go. About five years later and here we are, it’s a material I consider myself skilled with, and for an anxious guy who lacks confidence in himself that’s saying something!
3. What is your favorite piece of work in your portfolio? Why did you make it?
Oooh, I have a few and they are all because they mark something bigger. Confusing? Maybe. The first is the bear and tiger walking pieces from my Bear and Tiger series. Remember the book for my wife I mentioned? That’s the one. That’s where it began and when I realised I might be good at something.
Now, there are a lot that I’m happy with, but the second I would consider a favourite is probably the Dwarf piece I painted. I was working on a series of illustrations inspired by people and places I went traveling and how they could mix with the fantasy world beyond the vale (I know, pretty deep eh?) and the Dwarf was one that made me smile. It made me feel like I was hitting new heights with my skill in handling paint. I’ve dabbled a lot with what we call the bleed effect, it’s basically when you let the watercolour run and bleed into itself, usually with different colours, and basically the wet on wet technique. I have used it with my work a lot. Recently I’ve been looking at how to incorporate it more as I have usually kept it separate from my main body of work. The book I’m writing and illustrating at the minute though, that has this new merging of my styles. That is why Frank Thistleforth is my latest favourite. It gave me the confidence to carry on and make the rest of the illustrations in the book in this style for each of the short stories.
4. What would be your dream illustrator job? Is illustrating your main job or do you have another?
My dream job? I love creating characters and monsters, so painting and drawing them for movies or games/boardgames would be pretty awesome, I think. Book illustrations is what I love though, taking those elements you find in the story and bringing them to life. At the minute (as I mentioned in my broken record/self promoting way) I’m currently writing a book, a collection of short stories inspired by fantasy, folk tales and creatures. I’m making an illustration for each story in the book and currently have 38 planned the last time I checked. So yeah, I feel at ease and I hope that does alright. I’m a teacher by trade so that usually takes up my day times, but hey, the passion to share and inspire others is one of the reasons I continued art. I love the opportunity to help others that are passionate about art.
5. When did you discover that art had power?
Tricky question. I’ve always felt the power of art through the various forms, be it paintings/drawings, sculptures, tattoos or even the simplicity of beautifully dyed hair. The ability to invoke emotion is amazing, being able to express yourself is amazing. It’s hard to think about creativity when we spent so much of our life with it being dismissed, “Yeah, it’s nice and all, but how are you going to make a living from it? How is it important?” I have had so many occasions where I have had to defend creativity and surely people should realise that creativity is one of the largest portions of what makes us humans. I don’t know, I’ve always felt the power of art. Don’t let anyone take that feeling away from you.
creativity is one of the largest portions of what makes us humans
6. Do you have any words of wisdom to share?
I’m a babbler so don’t get me started. If I had to share something with my younger self, it’d probably go along these lines… Be true to yourself, don’t rush, and don’t compare yourself to others. Your creativity is important and nobody knows your path until YOU have traveled it. Some people create a masterpiece overnight, some people take a lifetime. Some people are recognised for the first piece of not terrible art work, others create beautiful work and it’s never seen. At the end of the day, it is what it is. Work on your skills and practise, but don’t be harsh on yourself and be patient.
7. If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1 – I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to see it, or 2 – You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will view and enjoy every piece you create, which one do you pick?
100 million dollars. I know what you all must be thinking, but it’s not as simple as that. I love sharing my work, people telling you how much they like your work is so damn rewarding. Problem is, I have a nearly eight month old baby girl, she means everything to me. So if I had to give up my passion and driving force for creativity to secure her livelihood and our families livelihood, so be it. I would rather give them a happy, stress-free life and teach them how to make art. I would be more than satisfied.
Hey, my name is Wayne Danting-Langdale, I’m an illustrator and writer working in the fantasy genre mainly with watercolours, pencil and ink. I began illustrating back in 2014 as Whistling Bear Illustrations and after pushing myself to grow and develop I decided to focus on what I love, I stamped myself as WayneDL Art and began writing and illustrating the fantasy world I saw around me and everything going on.