Travis Carter, the artist of TravisPixels, is a freelance Canadian graphic designer based in Pennsylvania. He is known for fun designs on T-shirts, his usage of simplistic clean lines and colorful art style grasp audience’s interest.
Would you like to give a little introduction of yourself to the readers?
I’m Travis Carter AKA TravisPixels! I’m a Canadian graphic designer based in Pennsylvania, doing all kinds of freelance projects and fun stuff like tee designs. I also do regular graphic design work like logos, layouts, and all of that jazz!
Can you tell us about your personal background and what drove you to become an artist?
I actually started out in game design, which led to making pixel art (hence TravisPixels). While working with some indie developers doing pixel art, I realized how much I enjoyed making stuff like logos and merch and switched gears into graphic design. I’ve been doing freelance design work in some capacity for probably four or five years now, but I’ll officially have my bachelor’s degree around the end of the year! I still work pixel art into my stuff sometimes, and even do art for games every once in a while, but now I do a whole bunch of other stuff too!
Did you grow up watching any kind of kaiju/tokusatsu (Ultraman, Kamen Rider) / Power Rangers shows or movies? Do you have a favorite?
I watched a ton of this stuff! As a kid, I was very much into Power Rangers, and to a lesser extent some of the other Japanese-imports with cut-in American actors (VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs come to mind). As I got older I really delved into kaiju films – I’m definitely a huge fan of that genre. The Daimajin series is one of my favorites, and of course all the Godzilla/Toho films. More recently I’ve been delving into some of the older tokusatsu stuff from the 60’s/70’s – I’m working my way through Ultraman Leo right now.
What is it about the show(s) that inspire your works?
The characters in a lot of these shows are so visually interesting – they’ve got a really iconic look, and in a lot of cases they’re so well known and loved – so that allows me to sort of do my own interpretation of those designs, that will still resonate with people. They’re also so colorful and interesting that they just lend themselves well to creating the kind of simplified, graphic art that I often like to make. I get really excited about all the bright colors!
Do you have any formal training or schooling in the arts? If so, what was the most rewarding experience about going through a formal fine arts program? Would it be a path you’d recommend to aspiring artists?
I’m currently getting my bachelor’s degree in graphic design, so my formal training is less in drawing fine art and more so in the other aspects like composition, typography, color, etc. I’m actually really happy with this as a career choice because I can make the art that I like to make, but I also have some pretty marketable skills as well. In my case, I really enjoy the more mundane graphic design tasks anyway, so I’m more than happy to split my time between fun fan art projects and “normal” graphic design work. I definitely think working on those graphic design skills really helped my art improve overall as well, and I would absolutely recommend other artists brush up on some of those other skills that get overlooked.
What special tools do you use for art / what is your favorite medium?
I create almost all of my art digitally, so the tools I use are pretty much my tablet and Adobe applications. Even if I’m creating vector art I always like to start by sketching my designs, but even that I prefer to do digitally. Aside from removing the step of scanning stuff in, I think I’m just too reliant on the ol’ undo command to sketch efficiently any other way. My favorite medium (if you can call it a medium) is probably vector art! I love those clean, crisp shapes and lines.
How did you develop your particular art style and what influences it the most?
I’m not even sure if I have a really defined style – I like to experiment with different styles and techniques a lot in all of my work. That said, I do come back to a sort of simple, graphic, vector look in a lot of my designs. I think that sort of work is inspired a lot by graphic designers like Saul Bass or Lance Wyman. I really like artists that can pare something down to its simplest form and still have it work, and those guys (and a TON of others) are really pros at that.
Can you walk us through the process of creating new piece of art?
Usually, I’ll have an idea for a new design in very simple terms (Ultraman in the style of ____, for example), and then I’ll start sketching out ideas. Once I have a composition I like I’ll then move into whatever program I’m creating the final design in. Most of the time that’s Adobe Illustrator, but I work in Photoshop sometimes as well (usually for pixel art). I’ll start blocking out shapes and creating the art, and then focus on colors. Then I’ll just keep bouncing back and forth between tweaking the design and the colors, and whatever else until I have something I like!
Do you have any upcoming projects or fanart you would like to share?
I have a few shirts finished that are coming up in the future (fans of Pop Team Epic stay tuned!) and a couple more Kamen Rider and Ultraman designs bouncing around in my head that I’m gonna be working on soon. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when they’re coming!