Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
My family and I live in Monterey, California. I have a super charged five year old daughter named Olivia and an amazingly supportive wife named Annie. As for myself, I work as a freelance art director and illustrator with an overly active imagination and need for challenge.
Did you always want to be an artist?
Ever since my cousin taught me how to draw a swan out of a number two, I’ve always loved to draw. I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be a superhero when I was a kid, but always settled for telling stories through pictures. I owe the discovery of being an artist to my high school art teacher, Mrs. Weigel. She encouraged me to focus my passion for drawing into making it a career.
What inspires you?
Music and seeing how other artists and movie directors think. There’s something about watching how creativity inspires others that can be contagious. Listening to music (mostly without lyrics) can transport you through your imagination to all sorts of cool and interesting destinations if you just let the tempo carry you like a current.
What are your favorite things to draw?
I’ve always played at drawing my own comic some day. Drawing my own characters, plotting out scenes on scraps of paper. It’s always been a pet project of mine that I’ve had on my bucket list of things to accomplish. Who knows, maybe someday?
What inspired your cover for Rising Tide: Dark Innocence?
I knew that I wanted it to look intriguing. I wanted it to fit the novel. Playing off the heroine’s innocence and the darkness that surrounds her. But most of all I wanted her to feel like an apparition that you could not easily dismiss once you looked at her.
How long did it take you to create the book’s cover?
That cover… oh boy. It went through a lot of rounds of play. I can’t remember how long to be honest, but I can tell you it was a really fun puzzle to figure out.
What projects are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on a freelance gig, doing commissions and also working out stray ideas for my own “pet” projects. It’s a lot but it keeps me out of trouble.
Will you be designing more covers for other authors?
Good question. Do you know any authors who are looking for an illustrator?
Do you have any ideas for the cover of Claudette Melanson’s next book,Undertow?
I’ve got a few ideas that I’m keeping close to the chest. We’ll both have to see the next book to see how it turns out. Haha!
What’s your favorite aspect of the cover you designed for Rising Tide?
Wow. That’s actually a tough question because there are elements I like for different reasons. Honestly, I think if I were truthful with myself…I would have to say that the visuals are not overly complicated. I think it says all that it needs to hopefully coax a reader into asking questions about what the book is about.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists reading this?
I’d say that for everyone (me most of all)…humility and a healthy fear are the two greatest tools any artist can have. Humility in that we’ve always got to a lot to learn. And a healthy fear, that if we’re not pushing our abilities enough, we won’t grow to be better. Talent only takes us part of the way. It’s the effort and willingness to put ourselves out there (win or lose) that officially tells us…you’ve started the journey.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not creating art?
I really enjoy watching speed drawing videos on YouTube (art nerd I know), watching movies and playing with my daughter. But truthfully, you’ll have a pretty hard time getting me without a pencil or stylus in my hand.
What’s your favorite drawing you’ve ever created?
I would have to say, a quick pencil sketch of my daughter Olivia. It might not mean that much to someone else. But it means the world to me.
How do you know Claudette?
Claudette and I have been friends for quite a while. We met over a website forum a few years ago and have been pen pals ever since.
What are some things you hope to accomplish from this novel’s cover design?
I think my intent was pretty basic. I hoped to demonstrate through visuals that the novel doesn’t mess around. That by treating the content with respect and attention to detail it represents the author’s heart and soul in this story.
How do you come up with the ideas for your artwork?
Drawing. Sketching. Note taking. Repeat.
Would you like to design more book covers for other authors in the future and if so, what kind of covers do you hope to illustrate?
If I had an opportunity presented again, absolutely. I’m a big fan of science fiction, so maybe having a go at that genre would be fun. I’ve received some really great feedback from people who’ve seen the “Rising Tide” cover and appreciated it. I can’t express how thankful I am to them for that. It’s definitely one of my top ten feelings.
What would your dream job be?
Ever since I was in high school I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a comic book illustrator but I’m also holding out for being a superhero too.
Do you read? If so, what are your favorite kinds of books?
I do! I read a lot of books on art, but I also really like super natural thrillers and science fiction.
What are you most passionate about?
Not to take a motto away from the army but being the best artist, dad and husband I can be.
Would you like to commission Daniel for your own project? You can find him here!
What a wonderful experience to work with Daniel! He's timely, creates beautiful work, listens to the ideas of those he works with and his one-of-a-kind designs are affordable with competitive pricing. I would recommend this talented illustrator to anyone! - Claudette Melanson, Author of Rising Tide