Daniel Mackie is an ex-Photoshop junkie who turned away from digital art software in 2010. He says, “Photoshop was making me cut corners and it was driving me crazy with its flat colours. Once I started using watercolour it became instantly clear to me that one of the reasons I was becoming so frustrated with my work was that I never had to make a solid decision. I could always undo something. When you’re using watercolour, you can’t undo it. You have to be brave, and as a result your decision-making gets better.”
Mackie now works with pencil and watercolour paint on paper. In fact, he works with a 0.5 twist-erase pencil which is an artist’s dream, because instead of a short and stubby eraser on the end, these newfangled twist-erasers are much longer and you can replace them when they wear down. Kind of along the lines of this one by Pentel. No more cursing and chasing erasers around your work space. Woohoo!
Alongside his pencil, Daniel Mackie also employs watercolour paint in his illustrations. And he uses it beautifully. Instead of a wash of colour, Mackie places the pigment exactly where it needs to be with just the right amount of opacity to make the design stand out. It’s always a pleasure to see an artist use a medium in their own way, instead of mimicking the methods that were taught to them by an art teacher back in grade school.
Something else that makes Mackie’s paintings unique to him is his use of proportion. Mackie likes to emphasise the size of paws or tails to create an unusual proportion that arrests the eye and makes you to stop to think a little about what you’re seeing. Daniel Mackie has drawn a number of human characters but I’ve chosen to show his animal paintings below because they are simply exceptional. Mackie has painted the animal’s environment inside of the animal shape, instead of surrounding the animal with an image of their natural environment.
If you want to buy products with Daniel Mackie’s work printed on them, visit his website. (The coasters are particularly cool.)