Patrick Weck is an artist, Illustrator and turtle saver whose work is inspired by natural history, surrealism, and speculative fiction. They can also be found painting exhibit murals for the St. Louis Zoo.
STL SPEX (Joceline): What are your artistic influences?
A big influence is paleo illustration: art that depicts prehistoric life. I love the combination of scientific research and imagination required to produce good paleo art. I also like to steal ideas from printmaking, ranging from Albrecht Durer to Ando Hiroshige to contemporary printmakers. Of course, another huge inspiration is fantasy, science fiction and comic book art. My favorite comic book artists are Moebius and Mike Mignola. There is an incredible amount of creative talent in St. Louis, if you know where to look, and I constantly find myself being inspired by local artists as well.
STL SPEX: Who do you create for?
When I was a kid, I always had crazy characters and stories in my head, but I did not yet have the drawing skills to bring them to life. Once, I got so frustrated trying to draw an idea that I decided I would never draw again! I often try to harken back to those ideas and create things that would have made a younger Patrick’s eyes go wide. Really though, I think that I create for anyone who is curious about science and who can appreciate a slightly strange imagination.
STL SPEX: There are lots of monsters in your illustrations; do you see connections between monsters and humans?
Many of the monsters and characters in my comics are actually based on real prehistoric animals that went extinct thousands or millions of years ago. By anthropomorphizing megafauna from the Pleistocene or the Miocene and placing them in a fantastical steampunk universe, my collaborator Nathan Kenkel and I try to create relatable characters with human stories while incorporating a bit of natural history and paleontology. I’ve always loved drawing dinosaurs and saber tooth cats and other prehistoric creatures, and I think there is something about giving a character a non-human animal head that taps into the universal archetypes found in myths and fairytales.
STL SPEX: Do you have a favorite medium for illustrating?
My absolute favorite mediums are watercolor, ink, and linoleum block printmaking. However, these techniques are time consuming and tedious, especially for creating comics, and I find myself frequently utilizing digital illustration. Digital media continues to advance, and it is becoming easier all the time to imitate printmaking or ink or other traditional media, but I could never abandon traditional media. In some ways, working digitally has given me a newfound love of old techniques. Lately, I have begun printing my black and white digital illustrations on cotton paper, and hand painting them with watercolor.