Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kirk Fu!

First of all, I apologize for the long break in the updates! I will try to get back on track with blog updates.

My first collab with my friend Max Werschitz will go on sale tonight, 27th of October at Teefury, 11 USD - I am doing a give-away at my fb-page, so check it out and be ready! Art prints are available here.

Max had the idea for this shirt a while ago and agree to work with me - I used the power of "Cute" to realize his idea.Below is the initial sketch I sent him, in case you're interested. Max is mainly responsible for the font design of the title.

Friday, August 23, 2013

RIP Christian Moser

I want to tell you about my friend Christian Moser. He was an artist from Munich, and made wonderful art. He drew quirks and bad habits humans have in the form of cute, adorable monsters. He published many books at one of the biggest publishers in Germany. He was 47 years old, and unfortunately he died of a heart attack on August 13th. I want to share a few thoughts about him before they fade away with time. Before I forget them.

How I met Christian

 I met him around 2001, at the Comicfestival in Munich. My dad drove me there (I was 17 years old) and Christian was one of the jurors in a comic competition for young people. I drove to the festival and realized I hadn't won  (later I realized that they had forgotten to pick up my comic pages from the postal office, so it hadn't even reached the competition which was quite sad back then). 

I tried to make the best of the festival and stood in line to show my portfolio to Reinhard Kleist. The line at his desk was so long, so I switched over to the shorter line: Christian Moser's line (I never told him that :-)). He was super nice to me, promised to look at my portfolio. Later, I met him outside and he gave very usable feedback. When I left, I almost forgot to say goodbye (my dad reminded me). 

A friend for every comic festival

We started to have e-mail contact, where he turned out to be a caring, supportive friend. At my next, big festival, "Comicfestival Erlangen 2002", I knew NOBODY except Christian. He took care so that I would have social hang-outs at the festival. He invited me to gatherings with other cartoonists and managed to get me a ticket to a rather larger comic party. He made sure I took a cab home that evening. He was like a big-festival-brother.
From there on, it became tradition to meet at every festival, to drink coffee, walk around, check out museums and talk about life, comics, etc. Hanging out with Christian were my "calm moments" at the festival, because he was a calm, friendly human being. We only saw once a year, but it was never strange to see him again. 

Good friend

I think it was Comicfestival Erlangen 2006 where we took a train from Nurnberg to Munich to get home (Munich was his last stop, I had 4 more train hours to go after that).  During the train ride, we had a great conversation about life and love and so on.  When I came home, I got an e-mail by him telling me that he thought of me as a good friend now. And so did I. 

(Below: The art he made for the back of my 2007 comic "Xoth". I love to look at it. He was so talented.) 

Our last hang-out

Time passed by, and from 2009-2012 I spend 3 years in new York, so I missed a few festivals. But when I returned in 2012, I managed to visit the Comicfestival in Munich in 2013. I am more than happy that I got a last chance to hang out with Christian before he passed. We had coffee and food at one of his favorite cafes (I forgot the name).  Christian told me about an idea he had for a book featuring my work: He wanted me to create a nerdy collection of my art, with some new comics about my nerd life. He said he would help me edit it, and maybe even introduce it to publishers. I was super excited about this project.
Later we walked to the Robert Crumb Q&A with Crumb and his wife being there life. We enjoyed it a lot, and made fun of embarrassing  people during audience questions. We agreed that there is always at least one embarrassing audience member. One of the reasons why I don't like panel discussions very much.  

It was great to see him again. I feel lucky, because I have some fresh memories. I keep on remembering our conversation in the cafe, and our giggling during the Crumb panel discussions. 

On August 16th I got the e-mail by one of Christian's friends. I couldn't believe it. I cried plenty. Crying is so good in situations like that. A good friend of mine was my crying buddy for the evening. I am not used to losing friends yet. It's a bit of a new experience for me. It kinda sucks.
That's it. That's the most important stuff I have to say. I am not so good with words, but I felt it was important to get it down before it all fades and becomes the shadow of a memory.

My condolences to all his close friends, his family and anybody who knew him.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sketches from NYC

I am back from NYC, and I am glad to report I managed to do some doodeling in the city. It always takes me a bit to relax and find a nice place to draw. I need to have nothing to do that day, no appointment, and I need a save corner where nobody can look over my shoulder. I found a lot of those places, specifically the locations the city put up those tables and chairs unrelated to a cafe or restaurant - like Madison Square Park, Bryant Park and around 34th street. Here are some of the results. 

Dude trying to take a nap at Bryant Park, completely sunken into himself. 
People chilling on a sunny day at Bryant Park.
Peeps playing chess at Bryant Park.
Hungry peaople waiting in the long line for Shake Shack at Madison Square Park.
People who already got their food from Shake Shack. They seem satisfied.
The lady hat two furry things on her lap. First I only saw one dog, until the other started to move. Such cute, fluffy fur balls.
My favortie place to draw at Metropolitan Museum of Art is the African/South Pacific Mask section. Unbelievable great cartoon characters.
That statuette at MET cracked me up. She seems so pissed.
More chilling people at Bryant Park.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Going to NYC!!!! YAY!

Weeeee, guys, I will be going to New York for 10 days this week, so be prepared with little updates. I will be eating tons of food, go to museums, see old friends, say hi to artists at MOCCA, go life drawing - hopefully I'll be able to relax and not think of all the work I'll be missing.In the meantime, check out this old lady I drew as my homework for Stephen Silver's class (memory sketch from lady I saw at the market).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Character Design Class #2

I am in my 6th week of the Character Design Workshop with artist Stephen Silver (watch the trailer for the class here)and still enjoying it. What I appreciate most about the class so far is that it really motivates me to draw stuff I am terrible at drawing. I have always avoided those things, the classic stuff: Hands, feet, heads, faces, animals.... and I have always gotten around it by drawing very cartoony (don't get me wrong, it took a lot of work and passion to get there...but I have always had a hard time constructing bodies, etc.).

So I have started to draw almost every day, and I draw stuff that looks terrible because I am bad at it. But that's ok, because nobody will ever see those drawings. They land in the trash right away because their only purpose is to build new connections in my brain that will make it easier to draw.

Character Design Class Feedback

As for Silver's class, we are about to create a full turn around of our character. We have been working on an adaptation of the Jekyll and Hyde characters so far. I have taken the characters to a sort of Lovecraftian NYC 30ies setting, where a character based on Lovecraft is my Jekyll, and a weird, dark demon-ish entity summed by the Necronomicon is my Hyde.Below you can see my approach to "Liebkraft", my Jekyll character, a young author living in 1930ies NYC. Stephen Silver chose his favorite out of my sketch and gave some suggestions with red marker, as always. Essentially, the most important thing for me to consider is breaking up the shapes, creating diversity within the shapes and maintaining the volumes of the arms/feet/etc - clarity is very important, and I know I get lazy with that sometimes.

As some may imagine, I have more fun creating monsters as opposed to human characters, below you will find Silver's draw over of my Hyde characters, which were heavily inspired by tribal mask culture. 
Here are Silver's draw over of my approach to a character called "Bowler Hat Man", which was an exercise to create caricature off an image.
And below you can see my shaky approaches to exercise hands, eyes, ears, etc. This is the first time I actually dealt with the way an ear is build up. Seriously, how did I never look at ears more closely before? I still need a LOT of practice for all of those body parts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Time is it? It's DOODLE time!

Guys, at the moment I barely do any full-elaborated illustrations just for fun, mainly because I had to take care of some job-related drawing thingies :-) And I can't post them, because I assume they are secret until they come out, but I can tell you that I am working on some Minecraft shirts for J!INX (which also turned me into a slight Minecraft addict).

Back to pen and ink!

However, I have been doodeling a lot to get some away-from-the-computer time for myself and I also realized, that I spend to much of my work time in the digitalized world. So I sat down more often to get some good old pen and ink action. Also, Silver's Character Design Workshop is really motivating me to practice my many, many weak spots (Which is basically the whole human anatomy).  I will write a more detailed blog entry about the past workshop lessons soon!

But enough talk, here are some of the crazy insane doodles from the past weeks. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Character Design with Stephen Silver

I am in my third week of the Character Design Workshop with artist Stephen Silver (watch the trailer for the class here) who is responsible for many great character designs for shows such as Danny Phantom and Kim Possible. I always really adored the design of Kim Possible, so doing this schoolism workshop has been a dream of mine for over a year. A half year ago, I finally felt I was able to afford it, and it started this January. (Character Designs below © Stephen Silver)

The class consists of around nine one-hour videos on the subject matter of character designs, plus a few homeworks. In the cheaper version of the course, the artists receives no feedback. The more expensive version of the course gets you a 5-10 minute video feedback, in which Silver directly goes over your art and gives you feedback and suggestions. I personally think one should try to afford the more expensive version, as personal feedback from a professional like him is worth a lot. As far as I can tell from watching the feedbacks of my classmates (which all course attendees have access to) he adapts to all levels with his feedback.

So far, the course is great. Silver points out aspects that I have either not paid to attention to so far, or he talks about topics that I maybe already heard about, but needed well explained to me again. He talks about shapes, the importance of diversity, the usage of everyday objects as inspiration, consistency and clarity of shapes - but he also will tell you if you are sloppy with anatomy, volume, hands and feet, etc. (which is usually my big problem).  This is week 3 of the course, and I can't wait what else is coming! 

The first homework was just about drawing a few character designs for "Walter Chipwhitter", a rich entrepreneur with a jolly personality. Those are a few sketches I came up with: 

And this is how a feedback can look like: Silver draws over my final version of the character and points out the positive sides he sees as well what can be improved - he totally got my on my big weaknesses here: I created some tangents in my design, was sloppy with consistency with some facial parts and the arms, created some parallel lines right next to each other (which isn't a big mistake, but can take away from the diversity of the design) and my character's body lacked a bit in 3-dimensionality:

I can't wait for my other assignments, lessons and feedback. This painfully reminds me of my strongest weaknesses as an artist, but also of my strengths. This workshop will face me with my fears of drawing certain things and I am pretty sure I will evolve trough it. Yo I recommend it to you if you want to invest in your future as an artist. I know it's a lot of money, but if you manage to improve trough the workshop, you will get the money back trough work later :-D 

You should also check out Stephen Silver's youtube channel, he talks a lot of smart stuff on artist's rights, protecting your art career, giving art away fro free, etc. 

 I will write more about this workshop soon!