Happy Monday, kids. Over the next few weeks, I'm hoping to post interviews with some of the fantasy artists whose work I've either commissioned or am just wowed over on this blog. First up, as promised, I'm posting an interview today with the awesomely talented Nathie Block
I came across Nathie's work while browsing Epilogue and Deviant Art galleries and was stunned when I saw her illustrations. Since then, I've licensed work from Nathie, and am thrilled to see scenes from Master of Crows come alive under her hands. I'll be honest. I think her landscapes and animal art are fantastic, but her men...~whistles~.
See what I mean?
Anyhoo, without further ado, the interview:1. I first discovered your beautiful artwork on Epilogue and then on Deviant Art. Can you tell us about your history as an artist? What type of training have you had? How have you developed over the years and what art style do you prefer now?
I grew up in an artist´s household. Since I could hold a pencil I painted. I was so used to having always art supplies lying around, so I thought it was normal. My Dad is a painter and before he retired he worked as graphic-designer. As I graduated from basic school I applied to an art school. At that time computers were not affordable for a private person, so I worked with the usual traditional media. The techniques of digital paintings are self taught, but it paid absolutely off to have a traditional training.
I work also part time in an advertising agency for some hours a week, but I always wanted to be a fantasy illustrator, and I got back into business 2 years ago. I work as freelancer for a game company. I had alot of arguments with my dad about the job, he said that stuff will never sell and complained that I am always painting demons, warriors and mages. Now he collects proudly the magazines and role playing books where I am published and show them off to his friends. He recently tried even digital painting on my computer and liked it. (He is born 1926.)
I absolute adore realism in art and I love also more loosely painting where you can see brush strokes. What I absolute don´t like is "modern" art. I like to look at a picture and want to see what is going on instead of guessing it. ;)
I am more into illustration than "art".2. Who are your favorite artists and how do they inspire you?
It may sound cheezy, but I admire my dad, though I tease him with all his "happy-sunshine-paintings".
Here are some of his works:http://www.fragmentally.de/daddy/index.html
The reader may also expect here the usual "Oh gods, yes, Frazetta, Vallejo, Rojo" thing, but nope, none of those artists are inspiring me. I love looking at their art, but my head is already overcrowded without influences from outside. I can happily inspire myself through music, stories, long walks in the forest and looking at nature and landscapes. Yes, I do see trolls in tree barks and animal shapes in clouds, and worse, they demand to get painted. 3. What is your favorite medium in which to work?
For digital painting I prefer: Mac Hardware, OSX, Adobe Photoshop CS Versions, Corel Painter and a Wacom Intuous.
Traditional: the good old pencil, acrylics, airbrush and colored pencil. I wish I had more time painting traditional stuff.
Everyone wants digital artworks today, but that allows me to transfer files easily all across the world. 4. Your website - www.creationwarrior.net - showcases a variety of subjects--people, landscapes, animals. All are incredibly lush and complex. Do you use an existing frame of reference such as a photograph or another painting in which to start your project? Or do you just begin with a basic idea and build up from there?
Do the pictures inside my head counts as reference?
Yes, I use references. Every professional illustrator uses them, like IKEA catalogues for example. Or a mirror for looking how a certain grimace looks.
An illustration fails when the viewer asks: "Is that a mushroom?" and the illustrator replies:" Uh no, this was supposed to be a lamp." An illustrator´s job is to create believable pictures so that the viewer knows exactly what is going on at first glance, and sometimes every illustrator needs references. Not always, but sometimes.
When I travel I take alot of pictures of almost everything. Certain rock structures, vegetation, foliage, buildings, architecture, animals, and so on. But I don´t overpaint photos. All is painted from scratch on, mostly started with a small thumbnail that will be blown up to printsize and refined. It´s a neat trick to get basic colors everywhere in seconds without filling actually the space with a pencil. 5. You illustrate exceptionally beautiful men. Not only are they handsome, but their faces have such great character and life in them. I am especially fond of your character Rydan. Can you tell us a little more about him?
I created Rydan first as a character we call in german "Kanonenfutter". (cannon fodder, ist that right?) He was just created for the purpose to set the basic plot for a story, sacrifice his lover and kill himself. That was quite some years ago. But things went different.
He was one of those strong characters who wake you up in the middle of the night, sitting beside you pouting and telling you that it would be completely unfair just to kill him. He would deserve a better fate, like being an inspiration for my paintings, changing his whole world for better, get rid of the cruel cult rites his father invented and he would really try to be a very inspirational character if I´d let him. (translate: just being a pain in the ass for the creator.) Now that was a deal. ;) He´s still alive and we have even some character issues in common, a thing I don´t like to happen for my characters, but all the bad manners fit him better than me so I decided to go along with it. And now tell me that creative people are not crazy.6. You are currently working on a project called the Bad Boys calendar. What inspired you to start this project, and can you tell us a little more about the men who represent each month?
Some people asked me over the last years if I´d do an artbook or calendar, so I decided to go for something useful.
I made a poll over at Deviantart, asking the people which subject they would like to see - fantasy landscapes, sexy fantasy girls or sexy bad boys. The latter won with high percentage, so I went with that. Not that I would complain about that! ;)
I made also a journal which kind of bad guys the people would like to see, and I took some of the suggestions, like pirate, vampire, drow, biker, demon, angel. 7. When will the calendar go on sale and how can we order it?
This whole thing will be on a prepaid basis an I will take orders from end of august to the first 2 october weeks. After that it will be printed and shipped. Since it is a completely private and self publishing thing I thought I would be happy if I´d ever sell 20 pieces, but I think it will be quite around 200 pieces - or more. 8. Do you accept commissions? Are you taking commissions now? How about licensing?
Hmm. I accept very seldom commissions from private persons due to my limited time. I might open 1-2 slots in october again.
Licensing - yes, all works that were not commissioned by others, and non-exclusive only.9. Any specific projects planned for the future?
Yes. I always wanted to illustrate the gods/godesses of the german and norse mythology.
And a fantasy landscape calendar. Then, of course, world domination, but I lost my "Userfriendly Guide for World Domination" recently in the subway. So that has to wait. 10. If you had to choose your favorite painting of all the ones you've created, which would it be?
I don´t have a particular painting I like most. It always changes. My both fave paintings are right now Silhara with his orange slice and a new one of Rydan of which I am working right now - it depicts Rydan as the "soul" Nightwing.
Nathie, thanks for gabbing with me and giving me and others insight into an artist's process and inspirations! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work appear on your Deviant Art Gallery in the near future.
Folks, if you have any questions or comments for Nathie, please feel free to comment here.