Digital Artist Talks Reigniting Your Spark

JoeLius Dubois talks how he kept his artistic passion alive during the pandemic, and over the years

Portrait of Digital Artist JoeLius DuBois.

This article was originally published on BLAC Detroit Magazine.

JoeLius DuBois is a skilled and vibrant digital artist who has been digitally illustrating and painting for almost a decade. Although many people believe that artists are born with an undying passion for their craft, it can often be hard for artists to continue to find inspiration and drive to continue creating over years.

BLAC spoke with DuBois to learn how he has managed to keep his artistic passions alive through the pandemic and through all of his long years as an artist.

Don’t be afraid to let loose

DuBois has changed a lot since he first started creating digitally in high school. He was taught that good digital art should be clean and free of any “loose ends.” However, DuBois learned that constantly trying to perfect a piece can rob you of further opportunities to be more creative. Now, DuBois is focusing on themes and overall appeal more than he is allowing himself to sweat the small stuff. 

“I have become more abstract with my line work,” explains DuBois. “At first, I really liked to keep my pieces put-together and to get everything right by cleaning up every loose end. Now, I am embracing those strokes that I make with my pencil, the colors that I use, and the textures that I use, and keeping it loose.”

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The digital artist added that, when illustrating digitally, he usually wants to get every loose end. But now, he says he’s trying to humanize the process of working digitally with his art and focus on the overall composition more than on the specifics.

Go outside and experience life when you can

Humanizing his work process helps DuBois to remain energized and eager to keep creating. He also says that the pandemic was difficult for many artists, himself included. To keep inspiration alive, he has had to force himself to rejoin the world and embrace all of its changes and complexities.

DuBois realized that merely practicing technical skills was a very small part of his personal artist journey. He had to get out and live so that he could again recreate the world in his own image. 

“The pandemic gave me the benefit in some sense that I’m in the house and working on my tablet all day. But, practicing skills, and scanning texture, and working on the drawing pieces is such a small part of art,” he said. “I missed going outside and getting a lot of inspiration from that. You need to experience life to get new perspectives and to see new things that you can draw about.” 

“Sunday Evening” by Digital Artist JoeLius DuBois.

Do not be afraid to adopt new interests

As he grows and changes, DuBois allows his art to grow and change with him. DuBois makes an effort to imagine his pieces in different settings so that he can try out various creative pathways. As a digital artist, he is currently focused on creating more theme-centric art which he hopes will help him be able to create children’s books featuring his work. 

“I’ve been looking toward starting a children’s book and incorporating more story books in my art,” he says. “At first, I was focused on singular pieces of work, but now I am more focused on themes, which has ironically helped me create better singular pieces. Themes help me be more creative. They give set parameters for what I want to draw and what textures I want to use.”

Embrace opportunities to continue learning

Good artists work toward mastery, but great artists realize that there is always more to learn. After a decade of creating, the digital artist says that his key to remaining excited about the future of his art is to embrace opportunities for himself to continue learning.

“I’m learning something new with every piece that I work on. Even though I might not like a piece, I still learn something new from that. I really appreciate those moments with my art, and I am learning to just appreciate the process,” he said. “I look forward to those epiphanies and finding different styles I want to use. I’m looking forward to new discoveries and the opportunities that come with that along the way.” 

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