Dave Malan: Illustrating Characters


Dave Malan is an artist and illustrator who has worked with national and international clients including The Walt Disney Company, the United States Mint, and The Weekly Standard. He “employs a frank and accurate approach to portray the emotions of the subject, and uses straight forward portraiture with highly polished painting.” Malan lives with his wife and three children in Utah.

Malan3dmalan_Sailor Malan6dmalan_Wizard Malan5

Describe yourself as an artist. I think an artist is how I define myself, maybe because I’ve always been defined that way by others. I’ve put most of my energy into developing this talent. I always dwell on what talent is, there must be some combination of attributes that make art work for me but I feel like the driver has been a lifelong inclination toward making art that has led to who can say how many hours of developing it. I’ve always tended toward realism and stylization of realism. My not fully conscious focus is depicting the individual, really working to depicting that real person behind the face. My drawing is the most developed part of my work and gets the most response because of the time that I’ve put into sketchbooks. I’m really working to get my illustration up to that level where it rolls over into something very natural. I also hope to develop my fine art paintings and probably ultimately be a fine artist.

You’ve worked for a long time as an artist with the Disney Interactive Studios. Explain what your division does and your role as an artist. I recently left after about 11 years at Disney Interactive. It was a fun job were I learned a lot and had the security to develop my illustration and art on the side out of the student quality work to something more mature and polished. Circumstances happened that I moved around most of my time there and got a period in most of the art disciplines in the company. I spent time in object modeling, concept, character modeling and my last few years were in the FX department. This might be a little surprising as it seems a little removed from the illustration work but it was fun challenge to come up with solutions to complex problems with the limitations demanded by memory space and other aspects of video game making. And a good understanding of the art principles can really take an effect to a different level.

Visit Dave Malan’s website.

Follow Dave Malan on Instagram.

Malan Working