Anchor Points: Tom Whalen

Tom Whalen

Anchor Points is a series of quick chats from mainstays of the vector art community and today we are chatting with Tom Whalen, also know as Strongstuff. Tom’s work has made a regular appearance on many of the Weekly Inspiration posts. I love Tom’s use of prominent shapes, an engaging color pallet, and pop culture references in his huge body of work.

The Chat

Hey Tom, thanks for chatting with Vectips! To start, could you tell us a little about yourself?

No problem. I work full-time as an editorial illustrator and moonlight as a poster designer. I’ve had the opportunity to design a host of silkscreen posters over the past year and a half for licenses that include Star Wars, Star Trek, Disney, Universal and Peanuts. I’m still pinching myself.

If you could magically turn into a Illustrator tool, what tool would it be and why?

Pathfinder. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities for creating shapes are endless. Who wouldn’t want to have the power to divide, trim, merge and unite the objects around them in the real world?

What’s your favorite Illustrator technique?

Multiply transparency. I love the richness multiplied, overlapped colors can bring to a design.

Do you use any non-digital tools in your work?

Mechanical pencil and a white eraser. That’s pretty much it.

Oh, and coffee.

What are your favorite sources of inspiration?

The action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Megadeth. G.I. Joe action figures. Any comic pencilled by John Romita, Jr. Cold morning runs. My ultra supportive wife and son.

Oh, and coffee.

Thanks again for the interview! Any parting words of wisdom?

Stick with it. Vector programs can seem overwhelming at first. I know iI felt like I’d never get the hang of a bezier curve when I first started. I use Adobe Illustrator 8-10 hours a day now…and I’d estimate that I know about 40% of the program’s capabilities. But hours of practical use (as well as staying on top of current trends and software updates) have really given me the confidence that allows me to create on screen what I see in my head.

Learn More About Tom Whalen

mondo: monsters inc.

mondo: monsters inc.

spider-man and villains poster

spider-man and villains poster

global knowledge: spy

global knowledge: spy

peanuts: charlie brown christmas variant

peanuts: charlie brown christmas variant

robot earth 3009 poster

robot earth 3009 poster

voltron commission

voltron commission

mondo: roger rabbit

mondo: roger rabbit

IDW: g.i. joe, snake eyes, cobra covers

IDW: g.i. joe, snake eyes, cobra covers

mondo: jabba poster

mondo: jabba poster

“everest to antarctica” poster

everest to antarctica poster

mondo: two-gun mickey

mondo: two-gun mickey

shaun of the dead poster

shaun of the dead poster

mondo: DC super powers

mondo: DC super powers

mondo: steamboat willie var

mondo: steamboat willie var
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4 thoughts on “Anchor Points: Tom Whalen

  1. Your posters are so inspiring. You have used vector art in a versatile way possible. I wish you talked about the creation process too. Thanks for interview

  2. Very cool stuff, the “spider-man and villains poster” reminds me indeed a bit of John Romita Jr. (inspirational source) and his edged drawing style

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