Drawing Manga, Superheroes and Fantasy Figures Instructor
DAVID WITT graduated from Bemidji State University with a BFA in Drawing & Painting, and a minor in A6rt History. He has been a participant in the St Paul Art Crawl for 15+ years, and a full-time freelance artist for over 10 years. In that time, Dave has illustrated 7 graphic novels and nearly 500 gig posters, numerous t-shirts, album covers, bottle labels and can designs. His video game art can be found in Guitar Hero II; and his posters and buttons have graced the St Paul Winter Carnival. In addition, Dave currently paints all covers for The Growler magazine, scribes the Louie the Loon cartoon, generates artwork for the annual Zombie Pub Crawl and Beer Dabbler events, and is hard at work on several comic book projects.
Murals that appear throughout the Twin Cities – from restaurants, pubs and shops in St Paul to therapeutic care facilities in Chaska – also comprise a part of Dave's output. "They're a massive undertaking, which require flexibility of thought to accommodate any surface, at any scale, in any medium," reflects Dave. "And they push me out of my comfort zone as I challenge myself to connect with viewers in a decorative format that conveys emotional depth, too . . . . All in all, mural work definitely drives me to new artistic heights."
Technically, Dave is a master of expressive line in pen & brush; and a wizard at inventive color arrangement in silk screen painting. "Way back in high school I started working with a brush because of my love of comics," says Dave. "It wasn't easy to learn – understanding its calligraphic potential was a challenge. But, after a few years of consistent practice it all fell into place." A similar growth spurt occurred with screen printing. "Through hand printing I've come to appreciate the creative process on a whole different level. Now I build an image in layers: Step-by-step instead of all at once. It's really fulfilling work."
Dave feels the same way about teaching:
"I had long resisted the teaching bug, but since both of my parents were teachers, it was inevitable I would start sometime, and comics were the logical medium for me to focus on as it is something I am especially excited and passionate about. It couldn't be more fun for me, as it constantly reminds me of how much I love drawing and story-telling through pictures. When I pass information on to a future generation of artists I get to stoke the same fire of creativity in them, too."
Dave also loves the continuity of the program: "Seeing students develop over an 8 week period is really exciting – they come into class with an inkling of an idea, and leave with a better understanding of character design and sequential visual communication. Then, when they return for additional terms we can really up the ante, as their skills have developed to express a range of emotion and action in their drawing and added sophistication in their compositional arrangement. By that point, my connection and communication with recurring students deepens, so it enriches my own work . . . . Teaching really has become the perfect addition to balance my creative life."
Dave's delightful print Beanbugs Trippin' commemorates his trip down to Austin, Texas in 2009 to display his work in the city's convention center. Dave's Beanbug characters are well-known throughout the Twin Cities, where he has used them to populate many of his posters. Dave created this Halloween parody of Walt Disney's Maleficent, for his book DWITT's Inktober, 2014. The artwork is one of many which chronicles Dave's determination to finish one black and white, brush and ink drawing each day throughout the month of October, in 2014. Dave's Brain Belt can design for St. Paul and Minneapolis' Zombie Pub Crawl is famous throughout the Twin Cities.