RS: Can you share with our readers your connection to Mathnasium of Whitefish Bay?
DD: You (owners Kal and Rohita Shah) are like family to us, and our sons have been best friends since kindergarten. In fact, Kal and I coached their football team together, which remains a very happy memory for me. I’d never been to Whitefish Bay until you moved there, and in a perfect world, outside of my home in Florida, I’d be living in Whitefish Bay. I like that it’s a community where you can walk to everything you need, and nearby Milwaukee is a great city with a great art museum.
RS: What will attendees of the Mathnasium of Whitefish Bay event on October 2nd, 2016 experience?
DD: I’m going to teach drawing geometric shapes and how they can be easily transformed into your favorite STAR WARS characters. I will be doing two classes–one at 11 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Additionally, I’ll have my prints for sale–Star Wars, Batman, Alien, you name it– and I’ll sign anything anyone brings for me to autograph. Autographs are always free.
RS: What projects have you done lately or are working on now?
DD: I’m working on STAR WARS comic book covers for Marvel Comics, superhero trading cards for Upper Deck, and a commemorative ALIENS print for the 30th anniversary of the 2nd ALIENS film. This piece premieres at New York Comic Con on October 6th. I’m also taking in requests and doing a lot of commissioned art for fans worldwide.
RS: What advice would you give young artists?
DD: The main advice I’d give them is to draw as much as they can. The more you draw, the better you get. Draw everything, not just what you like to draw. A good artist should be able to easily draw whatever they’re being asked to draw by an art director or client.
RS: Do you recommend any art schools?
DD: That’s such a personal choice, depending on your particular focus. I’d spend time evaluating each program to find the one best fitting your direction. I had a false start at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, where I majored in art and they had me doing these large, contemporary art gallery pieces, which was not at all my interest. I switched schools my sophomore year and attended the Joe Kubert School in Dover, NJ. That school taught me comic book illustration, which is what I thought I wanted, but then I realized, I was geared more towards telling a whole story with one single illustration, which led me to doing cover art. It was only the Kubert School’s second year in operation, so Joe Kubert advised me to graduate early (he said they’d already taught me everything they could) and he encouraged me to go on my own to learn color illustration. My color work is self taught, but it all boils down to the amount time I spent in front of my drawing board. It took me until I was 25 to sell my first piece, the Heavy Metal magazine cover I did.