Have you always been able to draw or was it a skill you learned in college? Both. I’m still learning and this process will go on as long as possible.
What was your first paid assignment? A poster for a local jazz band or some dancing lemons for a fitness company (I can’t rememer which came first).
Which illustrator (or fine artist) do you most admire? Too many to mention; there are a lot of great people whose work I admire but Christoph Niemann and Thomas Fuchs were my classmates for some time so I know what I’m talking about when I discuss their high-level concepts and awesome artwork. Also Heinz Edelmann, Tomi Ungerer, Milton Glaser, Istvan Banyai, Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner, Moebius, Enki Bilal, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean, Hergé, Alberto Breccia. And, if you insist on a separation for fine artists: Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Albrecht Duerer.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator? Being a musician who illustrates.
From where do your best ideas originate? From somewhere deep inside my head. Or maybe my hand. But mostly while drawing and thinking at the same time—also known as “work.”
How do you overcome a creative block? I do anything except try to force creativity: take a walk or ride a bike, listen to (very) loud powerful music or play basketball. Sometimes I’ll doodle senseless lines and strokes in my sketchbook but in almost every case, I’ll just get away from a screen.
In one word describe how you feel when beginning a new assignment? Go!
Do you have a personal philosophy? Creation and collaboration.
Do you have creative pursuits other than illustration? Writing, photography, comics and animation.
What music are you listening to right now? Cypress Hill Rise Up.
What’s your favorite quote? I have two: “Quality has its place. Keep that in mind when mumbling your good night prayers.” —Heinz Edelmann and “It takes a long time to become young.” —Pablo Picasso
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Give your best on all projects. Work hard. Don’t try to be a perfectionist. Ask for advice but decide on your own. Don’t give up. Stand up. Stand up again. Stay open-minded.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? How to eliminate the self-doubt that always leads to creative blocks but never to great or paid work. And to see illustration much more as a business from the very beginning.