A Profile of a TRAVIS Designer: Doupe

A junior TRAVIS designer, Tyler Doupe, will be graduating from Sheridan’s illustration program this April. As such, a profile was written about Tyler and his artform in this week’s Sheridan Sun Online. Below is the article that first appeared online.

Tyler Doupe doesn’t crumble under the weight of his own genius. He also doesn’t crumble under fear, hate or worry. Things start to go blurry, his mind runs amok and his concentration seizes up, though, when he understands that his art cannot, and will not, be perfect. Doupe only disintegrates under his own expectations; his always-unattainable expectations.

And that’s how he likes it.

Tyler works on a sketch. We're sure it looks great.

Tyler works on a sketch. We're sure it looks great.

Sitting across from him at a local pub, a jug of beer separating us, Doupe, 23, draws you in with his words. He’s articulate and bold, yet composed and polite. He thinks for a split second before he answers in his smooth, relaxed tone. He combs his hands through his curly hair as he describes the beauty in music. He laughs occasionally with a wry giggle. But it’s his face – it glows when he starts to talk about his passion: Creating art.

About to wrap up five years at Sheridan – a year in Art Fundamentals before plunging into the esteemed four-year Technical Illustration program – Doupe is ready to take on the so-called real world he occasionally hears about. But he’s realistic about his goals of working full-time as a designer.

“You know, I think I’m really pragmatic,” he begins, slowly. “So, with my artistic endeavors, I’m willing to take care of on my own time. And right now I’m primarily concerned with getting a job that will allow money to come into my bank account.”

That decision wasn’t quite as simple five years ago, though. Doupe was sitting academically pretty when he polished off Grade 12. He clutched that diploma, in fact, with a 96 per cent average. But that was his downfall – he excelled in all subjects. In his final year, as he still didn’t know what he wanted to do with himself, he took calculus, art, English, geometry, physics and chemistry. “I just took everything,” is how he put it. He wanted to keep all the post-secondary windows open.

When it came time to make that final decision, he made it simple on himself. He went with what he liked doing the most. Simple as that.

“I figured I could do anything, and I figured whatever I’m going to do, I’m going to have to do for a long time, so I might as well do something I enjoy,” said Doupe, his hands working as a visual aid to his words. “And out of everything, I enjoyed doing art the most.”

Working his ass off during his tenure at Sheridan, Doupe still gets nervous around one thing: a blank page. It temporarily paralyzes him. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He’s threatened by its pure white complexion. As an artist, it’s his nemesis.

“I’m actually really terrified of a blank page,” he tells me. “I’m indecisive. Once a framework is laid out, I can work within that, but when there are no constraints, there’s too many things to do.”

Working in a digital world just makes things worse for Doupe. As all of his scientific and technical illustrations are created using computer software, his designs are then, in his own words, “endlessly modifiable.”

“When you do it digitally, it never feels finished,” he said, writhing a little at the thought. Since there is always the undo button, Doupe can always go back and retouch a line or add a spot of colour. Nothing is permanent like it is with ink and paper.

“You have no Apple-command “z” on the page, which makes me really happy. I work better with confined spaces,” he explains about using paper. “So my way around it is to just do something – and either it’s shit or it’s awesome and you go from there.”

As he torments himself – to a degree – over getting his designs “right,” one quality that Doupe values most is quality. Although commendable in academia, this doesn’t always bode well when hitting deadlines.

“If I’m not happy with my work, I’ll hand it in late,” he said, nonchalantly. “I’m so obsessed with trying to get it perfect, I’m not figuring out how good I could do it in the time allotted.”

It’s his own tender segue to his main point.

“Personally, I don’t understand why you would do anything if you’re not going to do it right, or at least try to do it right,” said Doupe, his mind running as smooth as a blank page. “So, for me, really, I’m a dedicated craftsman.”

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