Phillip Straub: Pushing The Limits Of Concept Art

Phillip Straub is a very talented illustrator, with over 16 years of experience in the games, film and publishing industries. Presently he has been working as concept artist for Warner Brothers, and he has already worked for other big companies such as DC Comics, Mattel and EA.

As one of the founding members of the CG Society, Phillip Straub is responsible for judging in illustration competitions. He said that when he does that “the most important aspect in an image to me personally is originality in concept. I’m drawn to images that have a strong idea/story and images that play with metaphors or symbols. Now, with the advent of digital technology technical proficiency has new meaning- and while there are myriad of technically rendered images out there because of the great range of tools, many have little soul.” [1]

And that’s one of the things he tries to accomplish in his works, Straub focuses on invoking an emotional response from his images through composition, color, light and subject matter.

He takes inspiration from several different artists like “the Hudson River School painters - Church and Bierdstadt, orientalists like Gerome, Alma Tadema, and Bouguereau, and Michael Whelan.

As a Concept Art teacher, Phillip Straub says he gets “a great joy sharing the knowledge I’ve tried to gather over the years with others. Really, there are very few things that I find more rewarding than helping someone grow as an artist or even as an overall individual.“

He is the author of an amazing graphic novel called Utherworlds, whose pages can be viewed here. In a recent interview Phillip Straub has described it:

“The basic idea is – All thought is alive – each hope, fear, and memory is a part of the whole we call the universe. Every living creature contributes in their own unique way to the balance of positive and negative energy in the world. This energy is channeled to the Realms of Nightmares and Dreams, a visual manifestation of all thought energy that is located far in the depths of the universe.

“For eons a balance has been maintained between the positive and the negative but, the balance has shifted and the natural order has been disrupted. Sentient beings have lost their way and have given into the temptation of negative thought. Hope, empathy, and truth are being challenged by the growing forces of greed, hatred, and lust. War, global climate change, and industrialization grow with each passing day unchecked. It is true – the universe has reached a tipping point. A time of no return is nearly upon us all. Those who are open – those with true presence and a belief in hope are called upon to reclaim and restore the balance.”

Below there is a selection of his works, the first two are from the Utherworlds novel. Check his site for more.



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