This is Nate (aka @irishspacemonk). Nate Creates is the space is where I make art. I’m a huge fan of graphic novels, manga, and visual storytelling—and you’ll see that in my art.

I’ve been drawing since three years old (at least according to the efforts documented by my mom). Like all artist, where I am today is the result of a long, creative journey. I split my time between being a designer, developer and animator, and pursuing art. My first design teacher once said, “You design for money and make art for the soul.” I understand her statement better today than I did then.

Growing with Google, YouTube and the Internet

In 2005 I graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Graphic Design. I remember one day on campus, another student asked if I’d used this search-thing called “Google.” “I hadn’t,” I replied. “I’d have to check it out.” That’s how old I am. Three years later, in 2008, I set up the Nate Creates YouTube channel and for ten years I’ve done very little with it. But I’d love it if you subscribed. A decade-old YouTube channel…that’s how old I am.  I have a Twitter account that’s even older.

Approach to Drawing and Art

Never stop learning. That’s why I can’t say I have a style. I don’t want my style to be defined by the limits of my ability today. A person must grow. Obviously you can reach a point where your ability to improve moves in smaller and smaller increments. That’s sort of where I find myself today. I wish I was still malleable. That said, I am a bit of a traditionalist, at least when it comes to drawing skills. Drawing what you observe, and learning how to really see, is more important than formula drawing. Manga and comic-style art can feel constrained by formula, but when you learn to see, you can create your own vision.

Artistic Goals

What drives an artist to create? It can’t be about money—that’s a given. For me it’s about telling stories, entertaining with art, moving people to think about things in a different way, to respond. I’m sure these goals are shared with many artists. The problem of course, is that they are subjective, and difficult to know if you’ve achieved them. 

The following are five goals that I can, in fact, control, measure, that are a tab more objective.

  1. Draw and Post Daily on Instagram: Daily drawing is the only way to significantly improve one’s ability to draw. Take breaks on occasion, but come back with even more focus.
  2. Complete 2 Pages a Week on Lil’ Red Kap: This project has been going on for far too long. I need to make measured, steady progress. This is the project that started it all for me. I need to finish.
  3. Draw Better Hair, Hands and Heart. I‘ll call these the 3H’s. By hair, I mean, hair. I struggle with hair. It’s stiff, and uninspiring. Hands…they tell the story, are the most difficult to draw, and who doesn’t need to get better at hands. And finally heart…I want my characters and drawings to carry more power, and impact, to have something to say.
  4. Inspire Other Artists: I’ve reached the age, as an artist, that if I can inspire another artist to continue, then my art is worthwhile. I make my living as a designer, and occasional illustrator. But I hope that my art can still inspire.
  5. Eclipse My Influencers: This is the last and most difficult. Everyone has artists that they continually come back to for inspiration, that have a strong influence in how they draw, create, and approach art. But you never want to be them, you want to be better, your own being. 
Nate Sullivan, Artist and Illustrator