Born in Seattle, David Michael Chandler grew up in Portland and currently lives in Los Angeles. He is a self taught artist, learning by doing The Daily Doodles: “Everything I create on my site is written and drawn by me alone, and I love how I can control every aspect of my art and have it succeed or fail with only me to blame. I try to keep it all as original as possible, and as a rule I don’t reference anything from pop culture, such as TV or movies.” A lot of his work involves the dark side of childhood nostalgia and fears, plus often mixing it with fantasy elements such as space travel, demons, and so on. David tries to make each story and drawing have as many layers he can squeeze in, and hopes people find something they can connect with in them. (Interview with artist by Artchipel Sept-2013)
Everyday David Michael Chandler posts an incredible Daily Doodle that has been written, drawn, and coloured all on his lonesome. Interested in starring in your very own Daily Doodle? Click HERE for details.
I am always at my desk writing and drawing and endlessly clicking on my laptop. If my internet dies, it doesn’t remove a distraction for me, it makes me much more distracted as I endlessly try to get the internet to come back on.
When did you first start making GIFs? What was your first GIF?
I believe my very first GIF was in April of 2012…? I forget exactly, to be honest. I had been doing the Daily Doodles for a year and a half at that point, and they were always regular ol’ illustrations and I think evolving them into GIFs was a natural process. Here is the very first GIF I posted (the great Kyle Harter assembled my drawings for me into the GIF as I didn’t know how to use Photoshop or anything)–
Before then, I had lots of ideas that I felt would be better if GIF’d, but it took me some time to both have a laptop that could handle GIF'fing, and be smart enough to make them on my own.
The first GIF I made entirely on my own was this––
To make my GIFs I use a combo of Photoshop and Adobe Premiere (a video editing program), and I was running those on a super tiny Notebook laptop that groaned each time I moved the mouse. I am on a better laptop now, thankfully :-)
What attracts you to the GIF format? How do you decide when something is finished at a still illustration or if you are going to turn it into a GIF?
Growing up I always wanted to be a movie director, so most of my ideas involve movement and editing, and turning my illustrations into short animations has been a lot of fun and helps satiate that desire to make movies or TV.
I try to only do what I am interested in at that moment, even with the commissions I do, and right now I much prefer making my drawings into GIFs over standard illustrations. I’m not that great at drawing, and I think they just come to life when I add movement. It adds something that I think makes the drawings and stories better.
Everything is still drawn and coloured by hand, and the combo of movement and illustrations done with coloured pencils (and the textures coloured pencils create) is fun to me.
If I have an idea that would be pointless to GIF, I wouldn’t force it into being a GIF (there has to be a reason for it or it’ll be boring), but it’s no coincidence that the ideas I favour are the ones that need to be animated.
The short length of GIFs is also attractive since it’s so much less daunting than trying to do an actual animated short; I’d likely never even try to do animation if a GIF wasn’t possible. It’s been a perfect way to educate myself on how to make my drawings move and to tip toe into the world of real animation (of which I still am a total moron, but it doesn’t seem as insurmountable as before).
What has been inspiring to you lately?
Another tough question! I think I can get inspiration from anything, and I always make sure to write down every idea I get immediately into my “idea pads.” They’re spiral notebooks that have thousands of image and story ideas, and I reference them when figuring out which drawing to do next.
Plus I know I will forget the idea very easily if I don’t jot it down right away.
Watching shows about space, nature, documentaries about worlds I’m not familiar with, all inspire ideas in my head. I also will kinda’ meditate to think up new ideas or solutions to current ideas… letting my brain float around almost always works.
Do you have a personal favorite subject you like to illustrate?
SPACE! I love drawing space-themed illustrations, and I have to tell myself not to do it so much so I’m not repetitive. I also love drawing old TVs, as watching stuff I shouldn’t be watching was such a big part of growing up, and I love how blocky and big old TVs are.
Who are a few of your favorite artists?
Probably too many to name, but I’ll try!
Several of them helped teach me how to GIF and were very supportive as I was learning to draw––
Growing up I loved classic comics such as Lil’ Nemo in Slumberland, classic E.C. Segar era of Popeye, Pogo, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Tony Millionaire, Tintin, and too many movie directors, writers, and photographers to list.
What is your favorite GIF?
Of my own work? I was mostly happy with this one––
but I’m also annoyed at myself with certain elements I can do better. Every thing I’ve done has elements I just have to do better at executing, so I dunno if I can really say one is my “favourite.”
Besides current GIFs made by other artists, GIFs of out of context moments from old/weird movies are my favourite (like this)––
What’s next? Any fun projects you are currently working on and can share with us?
I’ve also started working on another book starring one of my reoccurring characters, "The Ghosts with Relationship Problems.” It’ll be an illustrated picture book showing different moments from a bad relationship two Ghosts are stuck in over several years.Making my first book has probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, as making the drawings good enough while also updating my Daily Doodles site, doing commissions, has meant I haven’t had a day off in over 3 years.
Hopefully, the books end up being pretty cool and people like them!
While both Wayne and Isabella the Ghost know on at least a subconscious level that their relationship is doomed, neither is doing anything about it for the time being.
For the 379th night in a row, they spend the evening silently watching TV from opposite ends of the couch.
It’s pretty much the only thing they can stand to do with the other, though every once in a while they’ll think about spending a night doing something different before wordlessly agreeing it just isn’t worth the trouble.
Cycling back from school, he feels the wind in his hair The cold wind is nipping at his face, and freedom is in the air With his bike he is unchained, and the entire world he could roam There’s no reason he couldn’t keep going, and never return home.
The thought romantically feels tempting, As he passes the homeless people in the park… But this time he’ll keep his promise, And be home before dark.
Behind closed closet doors, is where evil likes to dwell You ask parents what’s behind there, but they’ll never tell It’s no use asking why, because mom and dad’ll always lie They’d laugh if you were murdered, and don’t care if you die
So stay up through the night, staring at your closet door Within it live various ghost monsters, and terrorists caked in gore They wait for you to fall asleep, so they can creep into your room (Likely to kidnap and then eat you, one can only assume)
You have to take advantage of a Closet Monster’s Law That states “if a child stays awake, then you must withdraw” It’s a war of attrition, and you must stick to your plan of attack Cuz’ what’s behind the closet door is trying to make you into a snack.
You’ll see your parent’s surprise as they realize you survived the night (They’ll pretend they’re happy to see you, but it’s contrived delight) Eat a sugary breakfast, nap the entire day at school And be ready to stay up all night again to show ‘em you ain’t no fool.