Chopping It Up With The Doodle King Dalton Stark
Dalton Stark is a Sticker Summoner / Creative Entity / Doodle Hive mind residing in the 'big as heck' state of Texas. For year's Stark has been capturing the attention of thousands through his extremely imaginative illustrations and "whatever it is, it shall be" style of doodle art. The following is LONER's behind the scenes look at Dalton's process from our 2019 Interview.
Q: Dalton, you're work covers a HUGE range of subject matter - Where do you pull from for inspiration?
A: Since I was a kid I have always been super drawn to things like visual encyclopedias, monster manuals, bestiaries, wildlife guides, trading cards, compendiums of curiosity, things with lots of things in them I suppose you could call them! I remember being younger and getting video game guide books to games I never actually played just so I could look at all the characters and bestiary sections.
I’m also a huge nerd for dinosaurs as well, I wanted to be a paleontologist since I first saw Jurassic park at age five.
I remember my Dad getting me this visual encyclopedia of prehistoric life that ranged all the way from before the dinosaurs to after and having my mind absolutely blown at these bizarre and beautiful beasts that used to actually exist here in our world. Anime and video game culture is a deep influence on me as well. I think nostalgia for the things I enjoyed so much as a kid (and still as a slightly older version of that kid) are what bleed into my drawings the most. Now that I’m 23 and trying to get my career going, I don’t always have as much time as I did to get completely immersed in a video game or cartoon as my child self did, so maybe channeling those things through my artwork is a way for me to still enjoy them presently!
Plus, anime girls are amazing.
Q: Do you plan out your Illustrations beforehand? If so, what does that process look like?
This part is always evolving and never set in stone I find, as much as I used to try so hard to pin down a linear creative process that gave me good results every time, I’ve found more realistically that there is more than one way to arrive. After all, art is pretty elusive and you never really completely capture it, which I believe is a good thing, because once you start to get too formulaic with your creative process the work starts to grow a bit stale it seems.
Sometimes for me this process is doodling on a sticky notes with a pen and making a collage of those sticky notes building on top of each other until they reach their final form, or making tons of messy concept sketches with a pencil and slowly trimming away the fat until I get to the most juicy bits. I think it’s always good to allow some space for the muses to slip in and show you something you might not of seen on your own.
Q: What are your goals as an artist?
A: Accessibility is a good word that come to mind. I would really like to show people that you don’t have to make an entire feature length animated movie or carve a sculpture in the side of a mountain for your art to be authentic and awesome. Those things are cool and all, but I have way more fun drawing with a gel pen on a post it note over an expensive sheet of bristol paper.
I love work that is using low key mediums, I’m a huge lover of handmade stickers. If you can have the most fun and made rad stuff with a cheap or overlooked medium, you’ll be that much more interesting for it.
Q: What is your favorite video game/franchise?
A: Pokemon is everything to me. I first played Pokemon Red when I was very young, Charmander was my first starter! My favorite game was always Pokemon Crystal though, nothing beats the aesthetic that the Gen 2 games had. The sprites in the first two generations are some of my favorite things in the world. They aren’t perfectly on model yet, and had this stylization to them that was unique to the games themselves. I’m most nostalgic for those, I don’t think we will ever have Pokemon sprites quite like those ever again.
Pokemon in general is one of my biggest creative influences actually. The way I color my artwork is highly inspired by Ken Sugimori’s original watercolor works used on the early Pokemon concept art. Pokemon just has so much creative biodiversity too it, its like a perfect storm of my interests! Also, my favorite Pokemon is Tyranitar.
Q: When did you settle on a style?
A: I’m not sure if it was ever a matter a settling on a style, but rather developing the raw components of what was finding its way onto the corners my schoolwork as I doodled during classes. Though my style tends to have a certain range to it depending on what it is I’m working on, which I only more recently have become more accepting of!
Style is a really big question for a lot of artist’s I feel like, I for one was no exception to this. But I think maybe also it is a lot easier to be an outside perspective looking at another artists body of work thinking everything is so consistent and that they are just infinitely and effortlessly riffing off of their style once they “figured it out”, which in reality of course is a lot more messy behind the scenes. I think finding your style is a lot like finding your soulmate. It’s a lot easier to discover when you find something else better to focus on instead!
Q: What is your favorite medium to produce?
A: Freestyle straight pen & ink into a Midori grid-paper sketchbook is my absolute favorite way to draw. I’m always trying to find ways to replicate that feeling and flow outside the limits of my sketchbook, but of course nothing beats a good pen and sketchbook session, no pencils allowed! It often leads me to interesting things in my drawings that I otherwise may not have come to on my own.
It makes me be more focused on what I’m doing, be more intuitive, surprise myself, and find ways to embrace my mistakes. I will always love my sketchbook drawings the most. To me they are just what they were supposed to be, even if they are kinda messed up. I never feel the need to judge what they become, it is their imperfections and raw authenticity that often make them the most charming.
I think this drawing practice is how I try to live my life in a way.
Are there any medium's you wish you could practice more?
A: I would really like to make more pixel art at some point! I’m very much a lover of that medium, and it’s so amazing how it seems to hold up in todays video games as well, if not even better!
To support Dalton’s work, buy handmade stickers and, watch doodle live streams; Follow him at @DaltonDoodles or support him directly through Patreon at Patreon.com/daltondoodles