Luke Preece is an illustrator based in West Midlands, England. A child of the 80’s who grew up with a combination of science fiction, fantasy, comics, movies and metal music.
Clients include 2000 AD Comic, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Metallica, Slip Knot, Ozzy, Sony Music, Music For Nations, Santa Cruz Skateboard, Metal Hammer, Xbox, Gear of War, Tony Hawk, Activision, Rockstar Energy There are drinks and so on. He also collaborates with various galleries on various exhibitions, gig posters and limited screen prints of events around the world.
Don’t get in the way of common questions – tell me, what is your main impact on your art? How would you describe your art style?
Growing up, I was (and still is) a big fan of heavy metal music and the many arts that accompany it. Album covers, T-shirts, going to shows, and the whole alternative scene in general or not. I think I sank from an early age and came out at work. Other than that, I’m reading comics like 2000AD. I was fortunate to have worked as a graphic designer at 2000AD for about 9 years. As a freelancer with them, I still continue to work on strange pieces of great cover art. I also tried skateboarding and played the guitar in a band. After doing this for many years, I decided to devote myself to art full-time. I’m sure all of this has somehow influenced everything I do.
When it comes to “art style,” it’s been organically evolved over the years, experimenting and experimenting with different things. You can feel the graphic details. I tend to work primarily with screen printing media in mind. For example, I do a lot of gig posters and T-shirts for bands like Metallica. I’m a big fan of the screen printing process. This is also linked to the art that has been admired for many years. Band T-shirts, gig posters, skateboards, etc. tended to be screen printed. I’ve always liked the way it shows art. Limited color palette. The smell of ink. There is also a very “garage / punk rock” approach … I like it.
What are you working on, and is everything hand-painted? You will post lots of progress videos with lots of hand-painted little details!
Yeah, everything is hand-painted from scratch. All artwork is created using a Wacom device with Adobe Photoshop. I’m using Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 ″ with Wacom Engine. If I’m on the move, I also use Mobile Studio Pro 16 ″. I’m not using any special tricks. I’m just doing a lot of drawing with one or two basic brushes in Photoshop. Think of it as using a pen on a digital canvas. This is the closest thing to a real drawing, but it is done digitally. Before that, I would have been inking with a bush pen and micron … but I still enjoy it from time to time.
Are you listening to anything at work? Is there anything I should check?
At the same time as being a metal head, I tend to listen to different genres of music while working. I’m old, so most of them tend to be from the 90’s. But there are also some new ones …
Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, HEALTH, Run The Jewels, Ice T, Turnstile, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, Slipknot, Mastodon, David Bowie, Deftones, Kerbdog, Therapy? , Kid Loco, The XX, This Will Destroy You, The Cinematic Orchestra, Silverchair, Daft Punk, Thrice, Baroness, Sepultura (Chaos AD / Arise era) Code Orange, Employed To Serve, Architects, The Cure, Creature, Down, Pantera , Faith No More, Gojira, The Architect Escape Plan, Helmet … I just mean I could continue. Too many to name.
I also love good podcasts! We highly recommend Adam Baxton’s Podcasts, Gallery of Everything, Athletic Mins, Off the Beat & Track and Stou Wiffen, Sappenin’s Podcasts and Sean Smith.
What are you excited about working on Gears of War art?
So I’ve been playing all the games since day one. Therefore, personally, it is an absolute honor to create a franchise visual. So I find it very exciting to work with the team on new artwork.
Tell us about the Hydra poster – what’s happening in it?
In my previous work I created a wonderfully unique character Omens, but in this work I thought I could choose something more “scenic” or “in the scene”. Something that felt more dramatic and told the story. I wanted Hydra to dominate the composition, and underneath a COG soldier is on a hill approaching his end. Next, soldiers, weapons, skulls, and destruction that fell to the bottom / foreground of the page. It was really fun to put this together! Probably the most ambitious Gears artwork ever. It took me a few months to complete … I’m happy with how it came out.
What is your favorite Gears project to work on?
Too many to name, but if I had to choose, it would be the Gears 5 soundtrack released in vinyl on Laced Records. Not only the cover art, but also the design of the entire package. My graphic designer loves applying my illustrations to other things like packaging / box art. I was very enthusiastic about stamping my brand and this was really satisfying. It is a great honor to have my name with the Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi. It just checked every box creatively for me.
How long does it usually take to complete a work? Are you a person working on multiple works at once?
The work may take weeks or months, depending on the feedback from the client. Once the rough concept is approved, you can probably complete the artwork in 3-4 days. That said, it varies from project to project. Yes, I am working on multiple works at once. I think it is useful to move away from the work and return to the work with fresh eyes.
Do you play games when you are not drawing? What kind of games have you been crazy about lately?
I will do it! I’m playing a remastered version of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2, Doom Eternal, and Star Wars Squadrons. I recently regained Destiny 2 on my Xbox Game Pass. I lost interest in the game for a while, but it was fun to come back again. There’s a lot more content to bite into your teeth … and obviously I’m playing Gears! But I’m terrible in multiplayer.
Who are you idolizing in the art world? Who will be your dream mentor?
To be honest, I tend to idolize more musicians than artists. Mike Patton is there … I think everything a man does creatively is a genius. When it comes to artists, Steve Dillon and Jim Phillips are absolute legends.
It’s been a tough year, but how did Quarantine / COVID-19 affect your work?
Due to the nature of my work, I was able to work from home. Some work has failed here and there, but it’s completely understandable … now everything is in the air. I am very grateful for overcoming such difficult times, building a family, and supporting me. Not surprisingly, many are in a much worse situation than I am. There are many things I appreciate!
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Whether it’s art or music, whatever your passion is, just unplug it. Practice, practice, practice. Talk to people and ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to fail because I did. Lots! You have to regain yourself and just continue. Nothing happens overnight. Maybe you should try to get your work in the gallery too … It has a great online presence. We live in a world where we want to “success quickly” without difficulty, as we may think of it because of social media. I’ve been transplanting for over 20 years and I still have a lot of creative things to do. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, that’s the main thing. People will find that passion and those who know it may lead to exciting projects. That’s what happened to me when Microsoft’s Gears team approached me … Also, try to find your own voice. It’s okay to get inspiration from others, but try changing it to your own. It’s an organic process that you create over a long period of time, and if something comes out of it, it’s unique to you and you own it and make it yours. The possibilities are endless. The most important thing-enjoy it!
Special edition Hydra posters are now available for pre-order at the Xbox Gear Store.
More details on Luke’s artwork can be found on his website and you can follow him on Instagram.