Each week, we interview a different artist and share their art and featured answers on our official Facebook page. This week's featured artist is !
If you had to describe your style to someone who had never seen your art, how would you describe it?
The inspiration of manga when I was a teenager and the later fascination with European comics caused me to develop a style that combines them. To keep it simple, I usually say I just draw in a manga style. That’s actually funny because I used to be ashamed of that manga influence in my art for years; I don't know why! Maybe because of people's misconception that manga is for children? Fortunately, it doesn’t bother me anymore, and I proudly say to everyone that I draw European manga!
What are your art goals? What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
I have a couple of defined art goals. I try to pursue them, taking at least one small step ahead every day that will bring me closer to them.
I'd like to focus more on dynamics and coloring in my work, as these are my main weaknesses. I try to leave my comfort zone; for example, choosing a color palette that I don't personally like. Or I sentence myself to arduously drawing a detailed background full of ovals and curvy objects that cannot be drawn simply with a ruler, and then color it. Maybe I'm an artistic masochist a bit.
First of all, I choose by myself when I'm ready to raise the bar, expand my comfort zone, and move on.
When you illustrate scenes, you maximize what's in the frame. How do you world-build and story-tell with all of those details?
When I create my illustrations, especially comic book panels, I try to place objects in the scene that reflect the character's personality. That also complements the text in the speech bubbles.
Some of the characters wear a wedding ring (although no one talks about their marital status), or they have photos of friends on the shelves (because close relationships are important to them). The rooms could be clean and shiny (due to pedantic personality) or, on the contrary, you can see sticky cup spots on the table and some papers on the floor. It'd be odd if one of the characters of my comic book would enter his apartment and say: "Oh my gosh, I'm such a scruff! And I forgot to water my plant again!".
These details are not VERY important to the plot, but they complement it. If someone doesn't notice them, they won't lose anything. But those who will see them will appreciate it. Or at least I hope so because I spent a lot of time drawing sad and dried plants and the cup spots.
When creating a character, what do you focus on to make them memorable/interesting?
While drawing a character, I need to know something about him or her. Who is this person, why is he/she here, etc. It all helps to draw a believable character. While drawing, I like to think about the story of that person. I wonder how the character's story affects the appearance or body language. The general context is enough for me. I don't require writers (or myself) to prepare everything in Tolkien's way; a massive book of the genealogy of ten generations back. It can be something like, "She likes watching funny cat videos and eating pizza.”
The art you create lives from cyberpunk to wild west. What do you enjoy about creating in this wide range of realities? What freedoms do you find there?
In my free time—depending on the mood and needs—I choose different topics for illustrations and sketches. If I want to rest and draw something nice and cute, I prefer the Wild West theme. If I want an action or crime-story full of fights and shooting scenes, I choose cyberpunk.
The range of realities gives me real creative freedom. I choose whatever suits my mood in the moment (although readers waiting for my comic sequel would probably prefer the finish-this-comic mood, hah).
What made you want to create your own comic?
I started drawing comics at the end of 2016 by a complete accident when I received a link to a comic contest! I had never drawn a comic before, nor had I been interested in them that much. I decided to take part in it anyway, and I took first place. I even didn't have time to enjoy the win - everyone kept asking me about my future comic plans.
A few months later, I started writing the early concepts of the EXIST - my first longer comic book. I called the first volume "EXIST: Loner.” Back then, I had no idea that people would react in such an enthusiastic way! Also, the comic was awarded during the Polish Independent Comic Book Festival (called The Golden Chickens) and nominated at two other comic events (like the International Festival of Comic and Games in Lodz, Poland). Now I’m working on the second volume - "EXIST: Dirt" (the story is planned for three volumes in total).
What is the biggest challenge you've faced while working on EXIST?
When I decided to work on a longer comic book, I was afraid of a short-lived enthusiasm the most. It's hard to plan such an extended project (drawing this took me almost two years) and maintaining the same level of excitement. Therefore, the most important thing to me was extrinsic motivation. I published the first pages online for free. I knew that my readers were waiting for the next ones. Also, these pages were published in the Polish comic book magazine called "Zeszyty Komiksowe" - thanks to it, I got the attention of more people. The support of my friends from the comic community was very helpful. I finished the first book in 2019 and self-published it using a crowdfunding platform in Poland.
How do you deal with burnout (or keep yourself from it)?
When I started working on "EXIST" - a light cyberpunk story - comic series in 2017, I began expanding my portfolio with some sample pages. The natural consequence was that I attracted clients interested in creating sci-fi comics. Don't get me wrong - I like it - but, at some point, I felt a bit tired of this repetition. How long do I have to draw fancy cars, glass skyscrapers, and neon lights?! Then, I decided to try something completely new because I had to rest so much.
I've always been enchanted by cowboy vibes (and 19th century fashion in general), so it started with loose sketches of these gorgeous dresses and hats. As it progressed, I started thinking up the romantic story of the grumpy sheriff and a dangerously beautiful witch (supernatural plot seems to be exciting to me as well!) as a background for these sketches.
When I'm tired, I draw this lovely couple, and it is very therapeutic to me.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started your artistic journey?
For many years I had struggled with perfectionism (or maybe I'm still dealing with this). I'm serious! I would spend about two weeks on a single comic page! I worked on every piece of dirt, every crack on the wall, looking for mistakes in 798754% zoom. If I could go back in time, I'd hit the younger me with a sketchbook. And I'd tell myself to learn how to let things go because it's not THAT important at all. Uncontrolled perfectionism is the quickest way to burnout.
Is there one piece that has meant a lot to you? Why does it mean so much?
If you could take a look at my art folders on my computer, you would probably notice that all the files are sorted by my interests, by "inspiration episodes." It could be the drawing technique or the subject - like landscapes painting, character concepts, fancy portraits, fantasy art, etc. Each of these periods is equally important to me because all of them affect my current art style. Each episode also has its representative that's a bit closer to my heart. It could be some particular story behind the illustration, or it could be a milestone in my artist career. So I don't have one favorite illustration.
I really like to look at my older drawings - I can notice the progress I've made and remind myself where I am going.
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Now that is a readworthy story. I mean everyones story is interesting in its own way, its just that I can relate to it to some extend. I know what its like to be a perfectionist, and while I loved the process of drawing itself, I ended hating the endresult. It wasn't just painting though...It was much, much later when I realized that something was missing, that somethin felt wrong, so I decided to grab a pencil once more, underwent a "meditation" process( basically repeatedly telling myself it was okay to fail, not to be perfect, Perfection is found in the Imperfection and that it only develops with time etc...) and finally i was able to enjoy drawing to the fullest
Perfectionism is a demon that can't be beaten easily, but its not impossible and I'm not ashamed to admit to it that I was just like that
Thank you for sharing this!
Sometimes it looks like perfectionism is perceived as an advantage. Because we DO CARE of the details. But it can be devastating without any control! I believe it's good to tell it loud about it. These crazy overworking and chasing the ideal aren't good. Just "work smart, not hard" <3