David has been a professional artist for over 30 years. Experienced in painted comic images which he produces for major comic book companies such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image and others. He has also produced illustrations for such notables as The American Medical Association, Boy Scouts of America, Walt Disney Productions, Anheuser-Bush, Playboy Enterprises, Hasbro Toys, Universal Pictures, Warner Cable, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, The Grammy Awards, Harper-Collins, The Grateful Dead and Warner Brothers among many others. In his recent forays into the comics field he has worked with Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Chaos! Comics, Top Cow Productions, and Image Publishing. His realistic paintings of SPIDER-MAN, THOR, LADY DEATH, the G.I. JOE characters, RED STAR, VAMPIRELLA, and George Lucas’ STAR WARS Properties have earned him a large body of fans of both national and international acclaim.
Artist Interview with David Michael Beck
I am a son of the Mid-West born and bread. I was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1950. I lived in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Troy, Ohio through my formative years up until college. After high school I moved to Chicago to attend art academy. The next four years were spent studying at the American Academy of Art, and The Chicago Academy of Fine Art,(where Walt Disney graduated from).
I was nominated for a scholarship in my junior year. In my last two years I majored in animation.
For as long as I can remember I have been attracted to art. While attending a PTA meeting, my 4th grade teacher approached my parents and stated that I had shown particular high aptitude in my art class, and that it may be something they should encourage me to pursue.
The following summer my parents enrolled me in a summer art program at a local art school in Ft. Wayne. The students mostly went out into the neighborhood around the school and drew whatever they saw with color pastel chalks and a large pad of newsprint paper. We also did in class still life work working in pencil.
When I was young the Disney movies, cartoon animation in general, comic books, and newspaper comic strips were my constant influences. As I grew older I was drawn to the work of the European masters, American Illustration, always comic books, and later, sculpture and architecture along with a myriad of art directions and movements.
I can not remember ever wanting to be anything other than an artist. I love to draw and paint more than do anything else.
My art I suppose is generated from an emotional source. I do not pursue religious or political ideologies or statements in my work. I am greatly influenced by narrative themes lased with a sense of the surreal. I am also drawn to humor and whimsy.
My education helped me learn the fundamentals such as design, color theory, composition, perspective, and observational drawing. But I feel my own investigations are the bulk of my artistic knowledge. I have never had a painting lesson,…my knowledge of painting comes from studying the work of other artists and experimentation with materials. I try work from my imagination and emotional connections.
All of my artwork is executed using traditional tools working in classical methods. I have dabbled with the computer but I really have no desire to work in a digital direction. I work primarily with pencil, oils, acrylics, gouache, and watercolor working on a variety of surfaces such as stretched canvas, prepared wood panel, and a range of illustration boards and papers.
I have been working in the comic industry only for 12 out of my 37 professional years. I have a wide experience illustrating in the markets of editorial, commercial, institutional, publishing, and entertainment.
I have worked on a number of high profile projects including the America’s Cup yacht race, the Olympics, The NCAA basketball championships, the 25th anniversary tour of the Grateful Dead rock band, and the upcoming Star Wars live action TV series.
I work very hard along with my beautiful wife to raise two very intelligent and rambunctious kids. Between the artwork and the family I have little time for other pursuits,…although I bang around on my Stratocaster and would at some point,( after the kids are out of college), take guitar lessons and become a blinding hot blues guitarist.
I choose to be a part of the Color of Comics exhibit because of my friendship and respect for my good friend Alex Simmons. I support his tremendous energy and commitment to educate young people by exposing them to new opportunities and experiences and knowledge.
The use of the comic book medium is a great vehicle to attract kids and approach their learning experience with a strong sense of fun.
I have illustrated many cultural and racial diversities in my work over the years. My long term relationship with the Boy Scouts of America gave me the opportunity to explore the human condition in many of it’s varied faces.
My future goals are to my responsibility in raising my kids and completing their education. I will continue to refine, explore, and expand my artwork wherever it my take me,(hopefully in a stable fiscal manner), and push the boundaries of my creative mind.
My best advice to young people is for them to work hard, follow their dreams, be honest and true to themselves, their friends and family. I would wish them to establish strong personal credibility through self discipline, honesty, gratitude, a strong work ethic, consideration and respect. Achieving all this will be reflected not only in their work but their future relationships and pursuits.
I feel the Color of Comics exhibit is a wonderful program for young people. It exposes them to learning experiences such as working with others, self challenge, developing a creative mind, and simply having fun at something they enjoy with like minded people.
It is my hope that all involved with the program come away with a inner sense of gratitude, common respect, and a felling of accomplishment through self motivation.