Recently, I was able to get in contact with artist (and former Give Yourself Goosebumps illustrator) Craig White! Mr. White was gracious enough to answer a few questions and provide us with some of his art.
1) How did you become involved with the series Give Yourself Goosebumps?
- In the mid 1990’s I did a bunch of Marvel trading cards for Fleer (which is how I met my current agent, Peter Lott), and one of Peter’s clients at the time was Scholastic. He suggested me for the job and they liked the sample I did for them. I think I ended up doing GYGB 25-43 and SE 1-8
2) Did you have a formal education in art prior to making these covers?
- I graduated from the Art Institute of Houston with an Associates degree in Visual Communication. I was an Art Director for 7 years before I started freelancing illustration full time in the early 1990’s.
3) Since your covers were created digitally, what programs and tools did you use to create your art?
- At the time I mainly used Painter and Photoshop. I don’t use Painter anymore. The work I do now is all done in Photoshop, Illustrator and some 3-D done in Cinema 4-D.
4) How long did it take you to create each piece of cover art?
- From sketch to final was usually about 10-12 hours I believe. I remember not having a ton of time to do the covers. Sometimes I wish I could have spent more time on them by adding more details— especially to some of the backgrounds.
5) Which of your Give Yourself Goosebumps covers is your favorite?
- I think my favorite is #38- Into the Twister of Terror. My pug at the time “Sophie” was the model. Also, my wife and cat were the models for #28 (Night of a Thousand Claws)
6) Which of your Give Yourself Goosebumps covers is your least favorite?
- I really wasn’t fond of how #34 (the elevator one) came out… I wish I could have spent more time on it.
7) If you can recall, were there any covers that were particularly difficult to create?
- That same one, #34, I think was more difficult. I think I didn’t really like the idea and couldn’t really wrap my head around how to make it work and not look too goofy, I think I missed the mark a bit.
8) Some covers seem to incorporate 3D generated objects (such as the claw on the cover of Revenge of the Body Squeezers); is this true?
- That was actually just drawn and painted in Painter and Photoshop. I would make paths of the objects and then use them like frisket. I used to do a lot of airbrush art before the Macintosh came into being. The brick wall was done with an emboss filter and lighting effects. The buildings are from a photo I took of a downtown area at night. The fence and barbed wire are all painted.
9) What were some of your inspirations for the individual covers?
- Definitely movies that were out at the time or movies I had seen and liked affected my imagination. The Body Squeezers image has a bit of Alien and the Elevator one has a tiny bit of Doc from Back To The Future
10) Did you ever include any "easter eggs" or allusions in your art?
- Not really easter eggs. I would try and incorporate my signature into the art and I would try and put tiny details in the covers when I had time. The art sheet I would get for the covers would have a description of a scene and some details about the characters, but usually I was allowed to let my imagination run wild. I never really received the manuscripts or specific details about the stories.
11) Were you ever asked by Scholastic to make edits to a piece of artwork after submitting it?
- Oh, I’m sure. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head though. Usually, the art was accepted without much comment, which I guess is good. ;-)
12) If you could say one thing to the aspiring artists of the world, what would it be?
- My daughter is 11 and is an aspiring artist and I always encourage her to draw, which she does. Draw all the time if you can. Fill up those sketchbooks! Draw out of your imagination, but also draw real objects and scenes. I don’t draw as much as I should these days and it takes me a while to get happy with my drawing when I do. I do believe drawing is the foundation for the visual arts. If you can draw well, you’ll also be able to paint and sculpt, most anything. Also, don’t get discouraged. EVERY artist has bad days when they feel like they just can’t do what’s in their imagination. The ones that become artists are the ones that except this as NORMAL and keep trying. Maybe just put it away for a while, but then come back to it. If you realize this, you will always be successful (in anything you do). Don’t give up. Think of your artistic development as an outline, or graph of just the left side of a mountain. It will start low on the left and as it moves right it will go up at an angle. There will be little dips (bad days) on the graph, but it will always eventually go up if you stick with it. What was that Disney quote from Meet The Robinsons? "…keep moving forward…" that’s a good one.
13) Quick question: You said that you created covers 25-43, but the series only made it to #42. For clarifications sake, was this just a typo?
- That’s interesting… I didn’t know that. The last cover I did was #43. It had three angry penguins on the cover, but I don’t have the title. I didn’t realize it was never published.