To say that Noah Bradley’s illustrations are amazing, would be quite an understatement. Even upon close inspection, you are convinced that the worlds in these images are not from his imagination, but that they actually exists somewhere on earth.
Noah Bradley is known for unabashedly encouraging artists not to go to art school. But, is it possible to become a great artist without going to art school?
In this interview, Noah shares his secrets on how he came to create such unbelievable artwork.
Noah Bradley
Did you go to art school? How has it influenced your work?
Art schools, actually. RISD & VCU, mainly (I graduated from the latter). Art school definitely had an influence on my work… but I would say that it was more a time of personal exploration and growth than one of following a curriculum to success. I see far too many art students going to school and doing the assignment, expecting to come out of it with all the skills to make it as an artist. You have to study on your own and make it happen for yourself. It ain’t easy, but it’s definitely possible.
Noah Bradley
How long did it take you to decide what kind of art you wanted to make?

Quite a while! For a long time I wanted to do character concept art, like everyone else out there. But a couple years I took a shot at doing environments and discovered–much to my own great surprise–that I loved it. There was a fullfillment in doing environment paintings that I hadn’t found in character work. I stuck with it and before long I had gotten to a professional level with them. Now they’re all I get hired for (though I am working to expand a bit).

Do you have a creative process?
Definitely, though it does change a bit, as needed. Nearly everything starts in the sketchbook as a messy thumbnail, then a full-color sketch in Photoshop (which could probably be called a speed painting in all reality), and lastly a finished painting. Sometimes I skimp on the prep work for a piece, but I usually end up kicking myself for that. It helps to have a solid foundation to build a picture off of.
Noah Bradley
What inspires you?

A lot. Nature, artists, movies (I love movies), books, etc. Oh, and student loans. Those things inspire the hell out of me. 🙂

Who are your favorite artists?
Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, George Inness, Sargent, Rubens, Rembrandt, and so on and so forth forever. And that’s only the dead guys. Don’t get me started on all of the living artists that are way better than me.
Noah Bradley
Do you have any artistic goals?

To be the best artist I can possibly be. I have more tangible goals as well, of course. In the short term, I’m looking to return to traditional media for my professional work. I get tired of sitting in front of a computer all day and I miss the feel of a paintbrush in my hand.

A single artistic tool you would take with you to a desert Island, excluding a computer
Pencil & paper. Nothing quite like it.
Noah Bradley
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Work really, really, insanely, ridiculously absurdly hard. Be smart. Don’t neglect the business side of art. Don’t aim for the bottom of the industry–shoot for the very top. Have a phenomenal portfolio and show it to the right people. Oh, and have fun.
What are your favorite online resources?
Too many to count. I’m active on, so I have to plug that. There are also hundreds of other blogs I follow which provide me with daily information and inspiration.