Dan Howard is a freelancing illustrator from Atlanta (GA)

Some of his past clients include Hideo Concert, Flight Comics, UDON, Mess Studios, Sabertooth Games, and Fantasy Flight Games, to name a few. He is drawing since over 13 years.

Many of his personal works, especially the Street Fighter Character Illustrations were published on multiple internationally known websites like Kotaku, Destructoid, IGN and of course  Game Art HQ.

Illustrations have also been featured in Imagine FX as well as Ballistic Publishing’s Exotique 3, 4, &5 annuals.





GBK: Hello Dan Howard, first of all thanks for the opportunity of the Interview!

While probably many of our readers know you fan art they might not know a lot about you, can you tell us a bit about your history in the visual art industry and how you made your
way into it?

Dan Howard:I could tell you the typical “I’ve drawn all my life” story, but I prefer to say I had a career-ending football injury while running the game/season-winning touchdown for my high school. That is utterly false, of course. I originally went to school for 3D animation, but at the time (1997), the game industry was NOTHING like it is today, so the focus was primarily on CAD and architecture. When that bored me to tears, I went for graphic design. When that bored me to tears and things seemed to be going nowhere, I took a risk and focused on illustration full time. To this day, it’s still a learning process.


GBK: What it is like to be a freelancing illustrator?

Dan Howard: On one hand, having control of who/when/where you work is always great. On the other hand, it’s precarious and can monetarily fluctuate from livable to downright desperate. I’m personally looking to go full-time or salaried if at all possible. If anything, for a more secure living and change of pace.



GBK: How did your career start? Were you drawing as kid already or did it start later?

Dan Howard: Well my professional football dreams were shattered pretty early on in life, so I was left with the next best thing, art. Actually I probably got serious about the drawing aspect in 5th grade trying to oneup this kid doing TMNT fanart. From there I just did it regularly, through comic, game, and anime phases. The “career” part started around late 2003 with a change in life at the time. I figured it was worth a shot since I passed on doing animation and graphic design as career paths.


GBK: How important are social networks like Deviantart, Facebook, Tumblr etc for you to show your works and find clients in your opinion?

Dan Howard: Most artists harness this for good reason. By now, we are all connected in ways we never imagined. When I was in college, I didn’t imagine being surrounded by nothing but artists..and artists 100x better than me , to boot. In a sense, the social media outlets and internet in general are giving younger artists an idea what to expect if they’re pursuing this as a full-time career. You’re no longer sheltered, that’s for sure. And of course catering to potential clientele is far easier than ever. Jobs are out there and everywhere you want to go so long as you’re ready to put in the work.

Dan`s own character “Anita”

GBK: Are you getting much and useful feedback trough these platforms?

Dan Howard: Sure. Friends, Art Directors, peers can keep you in check as well as give you new ways of seeing your work. Also you’re visible to the world, so you’re meeting people in other cultures that have unique visions you never would get if you never set foot outside of your personal bubble.

“Yoko Returns”

GBK: Before i come to a different topic, do you have any hints for young artists who want to earn their income with their art?

Dan Howard: You were better off playing football. Seriously, though, if it’s what you’re hell-bent on doing, prepare to fail and fail a lot. You’ll no doubt read about or follow young artists that had everything work out in their favor for what seemed little to no effort. And for every one of those people, there are thousands that won’t be so lucky. Art school, the pursuit of a career, and even a career itself can wear down your love of art. I say keep your love of art first before you’re sure you want to go further. Then when you’re sure, practice, fail, and fail some more until you are failing a lot less and not in the same ways you failed before. You will always be learning and your personal aesthetics may very well change. Be ready for change, be ready for work, be ready to have it all fall in on you.
When you can maintain your love for the craft after all of this, you’re probably good to go!


Street Fighter Alpha

Karin vs Sakura


Street Fighter III


GBK: Thanks for all these informations, as a gamer by myself i noticed that you are mostly drawing fan art of the female fighting game characters, especially Makoto from Street
Fighter but also characters like Dizzy from Guilty Gear and Blue Mary from Fatal Fury /KOF. Are they interesting for you because they are attractive characters or are you a fighting
game player?

Dan Howard: Fighting game player since the original Street Fighter 2 came out. Then of course SNK games like World Heroes, Samurai Showdown/Spirits, KoF, etc. Fighting games have driven my love art for decades now (I sound old). As for who I’ve drawn/painted, it’s just a spur of the moment thing. I play as many characters as I can, but aesthetically, some are more fun to draw than others.


 GBK: What is your favourite fighting game and game series?

Dan Howard: All-around favourite……King of Fighters probably. Tied or a close second: Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

Akira Kazama from Rival Schools

GBK: After your Akira Kazama fan art, can we expect more Rival Schools related works from you in the future or Illustrations of characters by fighting game series you have not yet covered?

Dan Howard: Oh man, I wanted to do an Akira pic for literally years, now. Her character is right up my alley for the personality of strong female that’s just appealing. As for more Rival Schools or other games, I can’t really say because a lot of these just come spur of the moment, honestly. Although I DO miss playing RS!


GBK: On Game Art HQ i could organize a 25th Anniversary Street Fighter Tribute Project by over 200 artists, Capcom asked me for cooperation even because they liked many of
the entries made and hoped i can advertise their own official tribute to move some of the artists to send their GA-HQ tribute entries to Capcom. The result was that around 15 of the fan arts made for the SF Tribute on Game Art HQ are in the official upcoming SF Tribute artbook now, a great result for the artists and last but not least also good for GA-HQ since it makes such tributes more attractive and popular.

What do you think about such fan art tributes?

Dan Howard: Well any company that embraces artists as well as fans knows its importance. Especially with a visual medium like video games, the art is what brands the property as a whole. You could literally take a white rectangle, add a brown top with a red sliver for the bandana and you’ll get thousands and thousands of people that immediately think “RYU!” Any company not taking advantage of such a cultural impact would be doing themselves a huge disservice. Not to mention, from an artist’s point of view, it’s just fun having the ability to take part in any kind of official release from the franchise.

GBK: Through Game Art HQ i hope to make game related fan art more popular as it is now, outside of deviantart and a few blogs like kotaku sometimes its by far not as popular as
gamemusic remix or videos as avaiable trough OverClocked.Remix and of course YouTube. What is your own stance about this site and do you think it could work?

Dan Howard: From the stance of an artist, any credited exposure is always good, no doubt. Certainly video game driven fanart will only grow as gaming becomes a more prominent and mainstream venue of entertainment!

GBK: Thats all 😉  thanks for your time! I am looking forward to future works from you and can assure you they are appreciated by a big group of fans of your art.



You can see Dan Howards game related works here on Game Art HQ , i recommend visiting his deviantart profile or his homepage as well!