Dave Correia: Play With Knives


I have watched Dave Correia‘s  artwork grow and develop over the last couple years. He has a distinct style which draws from a wealth of influences and a love of the darker side of things. I can think of no better way to kick off 2012 at MBA, then to play with some knives…

How did you get your first paying art job?
I think my first paying art gig was for a t-shirt design when I was in high-school. I probably got $50 and a few free shirts.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always drawn darker stuff and I feel that my style has changed over the years as I learn new techniques and focus more on my work.

Who are your artistic influences?
Lots of comic artists like Emond, Bisley, Darrow, McKean, Kieth, McFarlane. I’ve also recently been into 17th century Dutch and Flemish painters. Honestly though, I think my friends have the biggest influence on my work ethic, fellas like Alex Pardee, Skinner and Jon Wayshak.

Where did the name phrase “Play with Knives” come from?
It was kind of an inside joke with a couple of friends, plus it was an available domain name.

Tell us about your studio space?
I work at home in a extra room that I’ve converted into a studio. I have an easel set up for painting, a computer with a Wacom for anything digital, and a drawing table for almost everything else. It’s a very comfortable space.

When you create art for a band…Do you listen to their music during the process?
In Flames gave me the album while I was sketching out ideas. It was definitely helpful in the creative process.

Take us through a typical day.
Wake up groggy around 9am. Walk downtown with my friends and grab a coffee. Come home and send/answer emails. Make a “to-do” list for the day.  Depending on the project, I like to get started on work by 11am and I’ll draw/paint/build pretty much all day and into the evening, taking small breaks to eat and drink coffee. By midnight I slow the pace down and will hang out with my girlfriend and play video games, or we’ll go to a fiends house and watch movies while we draw.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I always start off with pencil thumbnails. I sketch very small, typically 2”x2”, just to figure out a composition and work out different ideas. At this point I’m also writing down ideas too. I’ll usually sketch about 5-8 thumbnails before I find one that works. I try and be very quick with this process. Then when I find a thumbnail that I like, I’ll re-sketch it much larger, spending more time on the general form and design. Then I’ll go in one of two directions, I’ll transfer the sketch to a wood panel and begin. I paint pretty traditionally, starting with the darks, then mids, lights and highlights. If I’m working digitally, I’ll scan the sketch into the computer and work with my Wacom tablet in Photoshop.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
I mostly use inks and acrylic paint. However, for the In Flames album, most of the work was done in Photoshop.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
Definitely a mixture of both. I come up with an idea first that’s usually from my head, and if there is anything specific that needs reference, I’ll go to the library and sketch from reference photos.

Do the bands give you any direction?
In Flames gave me some ideas, and I had some of my own. It was a fun project, it felt very collaborative.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands
The only band I’ve worked with is In Flames, and they were absolutely amazing to work with. The best advice I would give to an artist is: don’t limit yourself to album art. Just make good work and handle yourself in a professional manner…use contracts and don’t miss deadlines.

What is your favorite project that you have ever done?
I can’t play favorites :)

What are you currently working on?
I have a solo show later next year that I’ve been working on. Plus various freelance jobs to keep the lights on.

Do you have any dream projects
I think it’d be fun to work on a video. I’d like to direct a stop-motion animation with no budget :)

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
I like the metal from the 80’s and early 90’s – Slayer, Sepultura, Anthrax, SOD, Venom…that kind of stuff. I also like anything that Mike Patton does, as well as Les Claypool. Lately I’ve been listening to books on tape while I work.

What artists would you like to see on MBA?
I think my favorite album cover of all time is Seputura’s Arise by Michael Whelan. His work is amazing.

About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.