Frequently Asked Questions: Chad Savage
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DRAWING? DID YOU RECEIVE ANY INSTRUCTION?
I’ve literally been drawing since I was old enough to put pencil (OK, crayon) to paper. At least, that’s what my parents told me. My mother claimed I was drawing before I could walk. There was never any doubt growing up about what I would do for a living, and I was lucky in that my father’s side of the family had a definite artist/designer streak.
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration and Advertising Art (with a Minor in Theatrical Make-up) in 1991 from the University of North Texas. I was one of only a handfull of students to receive that degree, due to the fact that they started the illustration program after I started there, and ended it a year before I graduated (I never did quite find out why). Since there were about 10 students whose curriculum was completely geared towards the Illustration degree (and would have to attend another year to get the necessary credits to graduate with a different major), the school decided to let us finish out our program. I owe a particular debt to Larry Simpson, whose words of wisdom and advise are still ringing true today, all these years later.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WORK AT SINISTER VISIONS?
Sinister Visions has only one full-time employee: Me. Chad Savage. When a project warrants, I’ll occasionally collaborate with other designers and/or programmers to get the job done, but usually, it’s just me.
I’M NOT SURE I BELIEVE YOU – HOW CAN ONE GUY DO ALL THIS STUFF?
Believe me, it ain’t easy. For every project or endeavor I embark on, I’ve got 2 or 3 more in my head that I just don’t have time to make happen. If they ever invent a 36-hour day, I’ll be first in line.
By the same token, though, many of the people I most admire function in much the same way that I do – Clive Barker, for instance, has written books, plays, screenplays, directed movies, sculpted, paints, and lord knows what else. I’m not comparing myself to him – just making the point that some people like to try their hand at a LOT of different artforms. I’m one of those. I believe the word is dilettante:
- A dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge.
- A lover of the fine arts; a connoisseur.
I guess you could call me a professional dilettante.
WHY IS YOUR ART SO DARK? WHY ARE YOU INTO ALL THIS SCARY STUFF?
After years of trying to puzzle this out, I have to admit: I Just Am. It’s what I’m comfortable with and what I enjoy, same reason as Clive Barker or Tim Burton – some of us just prefer a darker aesthetic. Those who know me personally know that I have a highly-developed sense of humor, and get a great deal of enjoyment out of life – my art, while it is very personal, does not always reflect my personality.
WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU USE TO MAKE ALL THIS STUFF?
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & Dreamweaver, and a bazillion free helper applications. I love having a PC. Be aware that buying a copy of Dreamweaver doesn’t make you a web designer, buying Photoshop doesn’t make you an artist, and buying a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and I received my degree (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in illustration and graphic design from the University of North Texas in 1991.
In 1987 I read a book by Norine Dresser called American Vampires and – bless her – in the back, she included the names and addresses of a variety of vampire-related fan and fact organizations. I wrote to many of them and discovered that some were seeking submissions of artwork. Thus, my introduction to the wonderful world of ‘zines.
For those who don’t know, a ‘zine is an independently produced ‘magazine’ – it might be just a few xeroxed pages, or it can be a very professionally-produced product. Whatever the case, most ‘zines are created by and for a very specific thing, be it vampires, Star Trek, cats or underwater basket-weaving.
I began submitting work to the ‘zines to which I’d written, and as time went on, I discovered more and more, branched out into horror in general, and continue to build a career out of it to this day. In 1995, the readers of Deathrealm magazine (R.I.P.) were kind enough to vote me the best artist of the year and in 1999, the International Horror Guild nominated me for the same honor (I lost to Charles Burns).
In 2002 I went 100% freelance and haven’t looked back since.
DO YOU MAKE A LIVING AT THIS?
Yes. This is what I do full-time.
ARE YOU MARRIED? DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
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