The Interview Series: Comic Artist Irma Eriksson – Imy the Comic

The Interview Series continues with an interview I made in person with illustrator collegue and comic artist Irma Eriksson, behind the great Webcomic Imy the Comic, at Espresso House Coffee Shop at Götgatsbacken on Södermalm island in Stockholm, Sweden. Originally from New Jersey, now lives in Stockholm. It became a much longer interview than first anticipated. Several hours. We covered issues on creating art, illustration, comics – and how to make money on Online WebComics.

With no further ado, it´s a pleasure to welcoming Irma, and hope you all enjoy the conversation we had over coffee. Irma had a Grande Caffee Latte, while I had a regular size brew coffee with a tad of milk. Dont know how I could miss out buying a cinnamon bun.

Irma Eriksson, comic artist, Imy the Comic

WEBSITE of the great Comic Artist Irma Eriksson
Irma Eriksson website: http://www.imycomic.com

 

STEFAN:

Welcome and thank you for participating in the interview series on my blog.

I got the idea for this interview series many years ago, around 2003-2005, when I got in contact with several other CorelDRAW users, on Coreldraw community forums. I saw how all these people were great in what they do on a daily basis in their profession using the same graphics software programs as I. It was initially the common factor, and you is the first who don’t use the same software suite.

When did you start drawing and creating comics?

IRMA:

– Thank you. It’s actually a difficult question for me to answer. I was of course always drawing as a kid. And I enjoyed it. I never took art classes at school or anything, and I didn’t really do much of traditional drawing with charcoal, any special pens or brushes, things like that. But at my freshman year at college, my room mates boyfriend just happened to have a copy of Photoshop 4.0 on his computer. And illustrator 3 or 4 as well. So he just decided to put it on my computer. I later started my computer at the time and looked at them, and I had no idea what I was looking at, and shut them down. I had never used graphics programs like that before. I had done quite a lot of drawing using the more simple Microsoft paint, learning how to use it to my best ability. And I was only using a mouse then.

The very first comic strip episod of Imy the Comic 2007, by Irma Eriksson

And I thought of Photoshop and Illustrator, well I didn’t understand the tools and features and didn’t understand a thing of it. That was back in 1998. But then I just started little by little test things in both programs. And then a year later I bought my first Wacom drawing tablet, a Graphire 2, I think it was. They came in different colours and I bought a green one. And that’s when I started to practice and really learned to draw using a graphics program. And that was in 1999 or maybe 2000. After years of practice, and I really didn’t get in to it until, I think it was in 2007. And that´s when things really took off as I started to draw my first comic. And it was also then when I really started to draw all the time. So it´s a bit difficult for me to tell exactly when and how I started. Can´t really say specifically when it was.

It evolved with time?

– Yes it was more of an evolving thing

Would you say that it was through the work with the comic that made it all become serious?

– Yes. It was. Because before then I would draw a bit here and there. And I had a blog where I wrote about my life, and was drawing casually about things that went along with what I wrote on the blog. It was really just a light comic and I enjoyed it, but for some reason I couldn’t really get my self into it in the beginning. But the comic gave me a schedule, or I gave myself a schedule. And from there I absolutely had to draw everyday for a week, and so on. So that´s when I really started to draw a lot. Everyday. And the quality of my work very quickly increased, and started to go up as a result of that.

I can totally relate to that, being an artist as well. Drawing everyday give results. You said you started to draw and write a comic about yourself and your daily life, in your first comic. That it is not one of the same comics you create today, is it?

– Oh, no, I was doing a blog before I started drawing my comic, basically on a website where I wrote about my daily life. But actually, yes, when I started my comic on my blog, it was about me. Well sort of. I had no ideas. I didn’t know what I was doing. At the time I didn’t have any specific ideas for a comic. I didn’t plan ahead on where the comic was heading. And people who create a comic, well, you are supposed to come up with a plan. To create the characters from the start. But I just wanted to draw a comic. And it was me, brown hair and so on, and it was about ten comic strip episodes in, when people really wanted to know if it was about me. And I decided, no, it is not about me. So I changed her hair from brown to red. And that´s the comic I still do today: Imy the Comic.

And of course that’s okay. I mean that is what we all do, somehow, isn’t it. Taking reference from our own life and experiences. What we read, see and experience in life, and start to tell a story. And it doesn’t have to be about oneself just because of that. And I think that is good. The story can evolve, like life itself, and talk about more issues than just ones own life.

– Exactly, and that´s what it is. Because there are parts of me in that comic, all over, and not only in the main character, but all characters in the comic. But she really is her own character. It is a different world. But like they say, write about what you know. It´s the easiest thing.

Todays look, style and feel of Imy the Comic, 2015, by Irma Eriksson

You started your comic in 2007. And it is online, equally on your website one can buy printed editions of your comic, right?

– Yes. My comic is online for people to read. And then I have my printed editions which people can buy on my website, and in which I always have extra stories only found in the printed book editions. And I also add some extra art in there. For some years for example I would have illustrations made by my illustrator friends in america and other places, to submit something. I appreciate it so much that they do. They would have to take my characters and draw them with a theme. And you only will find this in the printed editions. The printed editions are Compilation editions of my comics for each years episodes. And I also sell them at Comic Con´s in New York, and in London in a few weeks from now, and Swedish SPX. I have five printed book editions now. I have one out each year.

Irma_Eriksson_printed_Self_Published_Comic_books

I share a table with a friend at the Comic Con in New York, and where people can buy them. And it is great. You get to talk with people about your art and your comics.

This years book is a bit different, in that I had a comic running in Göteborgsposten daily newspaper for 1 months now, and I had it translated into Swedish by my husband.

How did that feel, to suddenly see your own comic character in another language, in swedish?

– That was very strange. I loved it, and it was very cool of course. I can write in Swedish of course but it’s not my native language, and I would had wished I could have written the words in swedish myself of course. But it came out very good. And then I took one comic and had friends to translate it to various languages, and had it in the back of the book. To show it in different languages. Same episode, but in different translations. And it had a sneeze in it also, so my husband and I had fun to try to find out how to write a sneeze in Swedish. We had several swedish friends write in swedish the sneeze, and they all wrote differently. So we made one which we felt had all versions in it, somehow, and into one swedish sneeze. It was very funny.

– So you can see it in, I believe, six languages: italian, french, german, spanish, dutch, swedish and english of course.

 

You also have another comic running: Cosmical Comic ( www.cosmicalcomic.com ), and it got some really fun attention to say the least.

– Yes, I posted a comic drawing on my twitter, and it went kind of viral, in that it got attention from NASA, who posted on my twitter about how they loved it, the comic drawing I made. And I love space and the universe and so that was great fun of course. I made one with the Shuttle and Orion that they loved!

 

What would you say is one of the biggest differences between the Comic expo SPX /Small Press Expo) in Sweden compared to the Comic Con in New York? I know, it sounds like an obvious question doesn’t it. But someone have to put the question out there, right.

– I would say that New York Comi con is the mad house. It is crazy, crazy and I can’t even try to explain it for you. Other than just crazy. But, what´s good about it, New York Comic Con versus San Diego Comi-Con, they still promote comics much more than the San Diego version does. And I give them much credit for this. New York have an artist alley. And they do a really good artist alley. And its in the separate part of the convention center and apart from the rest of the madness at the convention with all the celebrities. And there you have artists selling and showing their work, and not together with all the computer games, celebrities and all that. So those who step in there, come for the artists work. And it’s very good. So, to comparing to SPX, would be to say that the New York Comic Con artist alley is comparable with the SPX. And SPX is more independent, with less known artist than the big names at the Comic Con in New York.

New York Comic Con 2014 Convention Center

Artist Alley at New York Comic Con

– Another difference then of course is the share difference in size and amount of visitors, New York Comic Con simply being a bigger expo. With a guarantee of 150 000 visitors. But one other thing that is also different is, that in Sweden, visitors to your table, where you sit with your comics, more like to watch first and discover by themselves. And then maybe start talking with you. Whereas at the New York Comic Con, the visitors more instantly start to talk, first, and discuss the comic and art and everything. So it clearly is a difference in that respect of course.

Irma Eriksson, Imy the Comic, Marc LaPierre, at New York Comic Con 2014

Irma Eriksson and Marc Lapierre, comic artits at New York Comic Con 2014

Comic artist´s Irma Eriksson & Marc Lapierre, at New York Comic Con

– And in the Comic Con in America it is more about colours. Bold colours. Commercial I guess you can call it. Whereas Swedish SPX is more darker and black and white. Both literally and figuratively. And that’s fine, with the style of black and white drawings. They are beautiful, and you don’t need colours all the time, but they are also more longer forms of stories. More serious topics over here in Sweden. Some really kind of dark stuff. And it just is a very different comic scene. And that´s fine of course and no problem with that. Just different in that respect.

– I spoke with a friend of my husband, who is a swedish artist who make a lot of concept art for Hollywood films, And he said there is a reason for that. And if I remember it correctly, he said that it was a reaction to the stories like Bamse and all playful, not dark or anything, swedes read when they were kids and growing up. And comics especially back then, seen more like something for kids, only. And that comic artists in Sweden today, wanted to tell real stories with maybe more grown up subjects, and way of drawing.

I can actually agree a bit with that. But I would probably add that society as a whole has changed quite a bit as well.

When you started making your comic, was it something special, a turning point in life, like you walked into a glass door, or event that made it take off to what it is today?

– Haha, glass door, no. But yes there was a specific moment. I always wanted to make a comic. And I had been reading webcomics. And as a kid I loved Garfield. I never thought I could make one myself. Thinking that I couldn’t write like that. I was really into reading the Elvis comic by Cronstam and Nemi by Lise Myhre, the norwegian comic artist. And those two especially, made me feel I really wanted to that. But I felt I couldn’t come up with anything special, any ideas. But then I just drew for myself a fun image for my Facebook, an image of myself listening to my Ipod. And put it up as my profile picture. And one of my friends commented, she said: “This one really looks like a newspaper comic. You really should do a comic about yourself living in Sweden”. And I don’t know why, but for some reason her writing that, was that moment. And I said: “Okey I´ll going to do it!”. And I wrote my first comic, and so silly, but I wrote it anyway. And today when I look back at it, the art and feeling “o my god”. But the point is that I made one, and her writing that. And I think it was that morning I made my first comic. And it was all very quick: draw it and put it up online. I didn’t want to wait for anything, I just wanted to put something out there. More like “so, look what I did”, and feeling I did this.

Must have been a fantastic feeling

– Yeah, and I was just thinking I would do 5 comic strips. And when I saw I had done 5, I felt well, now I can do a few more. And I kept doing it. So her comment and seeing me doing it, it was a great feeling. Yes, so that was the moment when it all started, 2007.

You make the comic inspired by your own life and events and things happening, but would you say there is also a sort of red thread going through the story. Something that is kind of always present?

– Well, I mean, I started it more like a newspaper typ of comic, in the beginning, like a fun story. But it is based on a character, her apartment and her friends and a fictitious city. Not saying it is any real town or city in the world, in which she lives. So there is a thread about her life. And if there is any people who have read the comic for years, from the beginning, they will recognize characters, and some they like to come back again. I have a character who is a fish in a coffee pot which come back now and then. I don’t know if there is any specific thread, but it’s about her life.

For a while I thought that the Swedish SPX, the Small Press Expo comic festival, had vanished, I´ve been busy working. But like you said it is still around. There was that Stockholm Comic Con that felt odd, when they never came out with any real information at the beginning. What would you say about the SPX instead. I used to like SPX and I wrote a blog article about it a few years ago. Do you think it is still a great expo?

– Yes, SPX is still around. Sometimes its in april and sometimes in may. It´s still at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, and it is getting bigger. And they have a lot of guest from various countries. Every year there is a theme. One year there was american guests, and last year I think it was Canadians. I don’t think it is always country themes. There are other themes too I believe. And I think it´s a great show!

– It´s all independents and no big names. Just independents and many people come back.

Small press expo, stockholm, sweden, spx, comics artist alley

Being a swede meant when I was growing up, that I read a lot of comics from France and Belgium, and for that matter unknowingly a lot of from Italy – Cowboy comics. The comics from France and Belgium: Asterix & Obelix, the Smurfs, Lucky Luke and so on. And when I talk with american friends, they never heard of Lucky Luke. Which is a huge comic here in europe. But at the same time I got exposed by all the american comics as well of course. The super heroes we all know about – and comic book stories in Agent X9, as its called in Sweden. More crime and real world type of crime stories. I read tons of Modesty Blaise as a kid, up until the spanish comic artist kind of destroyed it with his way of drawing Modesty.

It continued of course with Disney, and later on in my teens, the underground comics from america and in the 80´s and 90´s the Noir-ish comics. Frank Miller Sin City for example. By the way I really just need one Frank Miller book in my book shelve from the Sin City comics, and that’s “The Yellow Bastard”. Brilliant art and composition. Very inspiring. Okay, Mike Mignola also of course, who is another huge personal favorite, together with Mobius (Jean Giraud) and Jean-Claude Mézières

Is there something you as an american think we should dig into? To find out about, different to the genres and style I mentioned?

Or is american comics just about Super Hero Comics and nothing else…

– Haha, yes its ONLY about superhero´s. NO, of course there is lot more than just that. But of course when you specifically go to a Comic con in the US you will see a lot of superheros. Really, a lot.

Unfortunately with super hero comics is the female characters drawn with huge silicon breasts and small mouths and so on. A quite tiring view on women. Gets a bit boring, to say the least, as you grow up.

– Yes, I know what you mean, but I would say there is a big change going on now. People demanding and saying you should´nt draw women in comics like that. Be more creative and give more depth to the characters, better costumes, better ideas, and things like that.

There is one notorious comic artist, Rob Liefeld who is so bad. You might first think they look well drawn, but then you see how he make drawings of women in twisted positions, unreal looking, just to show both boobs and buts in the same frame. And people has started to react against that.

And I think the reason this change and critique have started, is because of the Comic Cons. I have a friend who used to go to every Comic Con from the beginning, when there used to be only comics and basically only men visiting the conventions. And now that has totally changed. These days it is more 50-50 women and men. And families. And the visitors of course start to demand things. Saying: “well, that’s too old fashion these days”. Things are shifting and there are a lot of discussions about that online.

They also want more female stories, and better dressed females. And they want that change, now. But there is also a lot of resistance towards this new change of things as well. It´s a comics revolution going on.

Irma Eriksson the comic artist drawing Wondwr Woman at New York Comic Con

I guess it’s also a lot of men in the world of comics sitting in front of their computers, doing whatever they are doing, feeling they are being somewhat invaded into their own space. That they are loosing something. And then react I guess.

– Yes, and a male friend of mine, who is a comic artist, always wanted to get women to be part of all this, the comics world. And now when women are participating, and it is just a few of course, not all men, they start to complain about it. And his thoughts about it is that when they were younger, the women rejected them. And now when they are here, these same men feel bitter. It seems.

I think its true what you say, but I suspect it can also be part of men fearing loosing their realm of things, and ultimately loosing their control. And men don’t like loosing control, as an ingredient to what you said. And when they lose their control, they act out. It doesn’t have to be physical violence, but mind game and building their own imagined world instead. To re-gain control.

At least from my personal experience of the Swedish comic scene, it feels like women comic artists are taking over, or at least getting more exposure in the media right now. And that’s okay with me. Although 50/50 should be the ultimate goal. Equally what I can feel, and I am not criticizing it, just noticing, is that a lot of swedish comics are about me-centric issues. I´m missing a broader diversity of issues and topics. Whats your thought?

That´s why online comics, self publishing online have really blown up in the last five years. And have changed everything. And where you can find diversity and deeper stories. That´s where people can write and draw whatever they want. And that´s were you will find everything you are looking for.

I mean, there is a lot awful stuff, and lot of shallow stuff, and a lot of fluffy stuff, light comics. And maybe mine is a bit fluffy and light

No, I am not against light comic stuff or humour. I love it and read it. And humour often have a deeper thing in it. I just want to be able to read more diverse stories. So I am not criticizing. And I like your comic, and the style, which is one of the reasons I like to have this interview.

But I mean, it´s also because newspapers are disappearing, and they like to keep the old stuff. More like Peanuts and Garfield. And they like to create more space in the paper for other things, and that’s one of the problems. But Garfield, a great comic, it´s been published now, for how many years, 35 years or so? And they are still creating more new Garfield, and for example Blondie. My mom who is 75, who loves Blondie would be devastated if they remove Blondie.

But there are so many new people in comics, who ask why they can´t get into the newspapers. On the other hand, there is so much happening in online web comics and the possibilities, therefore  many simply don’t want to go into the newspapers anymore. And one being that they are disappearing as well.

And the comics is one of the things people read in the newspaper, so they basically alienate some readers, and have them go elsewhere. Odd and seems a stupid decision.

But again, in online comics, which is shifting and changing everything, is where it’s happening, and we don’t know where its gonna wind up right now.

That leads me to a new question – money. How do you make money from online comics. If they are out there easy for everyone to read? Being a freelancer, an artist, illustrator, is tough work. How to make a living from it. Whats your take on it?

It´s the constant question everyone is asking, of course. It’s not an easy answer, especially as its online. There is a lot of freedom to publish online, and to make it available to read their comics. And while some charge money, many other people give away their comics for free, and people reading them expect to read them for free. And I am one of those people who put them online for free. Because in the beginning I just wanted to put them out there. And really no one really know how to make money from their comics. But those who do make money have been the lucky ones. Of course they have good stuff also, you can’t beat quality. You can’t make crappy comics either, and then expect people to pay for it.

But do you think we should go offline, and maybe just offer a teaser, create a cliffhanger and then if people like to read more they have to pay?

Should we go offline? It’s hard to say. But really, it can’t go offline. The world is online and it’s already out there.

PayPal Donate?

PayPal? Have you heard of Patreon? ( www.patreon.com ). it’s a new thing that got started a few years ago. I havent really tried that out yet, but more and more people are getting into that. Using Patreon, and its working for some people, is like a monthly subscription, where people sign up. You can put your comic up for free, like I do. And then you the creator have an account. You can then let your readers know, that if they like your comic and like to read it, they can go to Patreon and pay whatever amount they like for a month and subscribe. Be it 1 dollar or 5 dollars a month and so on. And maybe, not necessary, you have different levels. Offer them extra stuff. View and read something before its released. And it has started to be quite successful for a lot of people, making money from their comics. And some people lock their comics on a website, so you can only read it if you subscribe. People use it differently and what works for them. This have been the best way so far to make money from your self published comics online. It’s a new thing and starting to take off.

In what way is that different from PayPal Donate? If you can pay to Patreon and then when you like your money, you can have them transfer it to your PayPal. But that is kind of double fee for those services. For you who sell your comics and want your money into the bank.

I think people get more involved when they have a Patreon account. They are logged in like a member of your comic. I am not entirely into that myself right now, but its an interesting new thing. Before Patreon it was mostly just advertizing on ones website. But all the banners and advertizing just become so saturated and the money involved in placing them to your website have fallen. So, it’s not working quite as before. Advertizing on your website doesn’t make much, unless you have thousands and thousands of readers on your website or blog or comic page everyday.

One don’t expect to make so much money on ones comics these days, it’s simply hard to do. Originally, for me, I didn’t even go into comics for the money. I went into comics purely for my own reasons to tell comic stories.

One thing of course could be to self publish your comics, on print as well, on Amazon. One thing with Amazon though is that not all people in the world can sell on Amazon, unless there is a dedicated amazon domain for that country. Simply because Amazon doesnt transfer money you have earned as a seller, to any bank account, unless it’s a country with a domain Amazon use. For example Sweden with one of the absolute strongest economies don’t presently have an Amazon domain, which is “.se”. But equally this could be one interesting thing for many self publishing creators out there. Many who read comics don’t necessarily hang around the usual comic reader crowd.

One of the reason of course for regular publishing houses, is that e-books don’t cost as much as a printed book. And so they don’t get enough revenue. And people lose their jobs and publishing businesses go out of business.

 

And now for the final question, Irma, the “important” one everyone get in this Interview Series, do you drink coffee or tea for breakfast?

Plain fresh water

Excellent, wouldnt had thought that for second.

 

Irma_Eriksson_studio_workplace

 

Thank you very much Irma Eriksson. This interview has been great fun and inspiring. And I am very happy you accepted to be part of my ongoing Interview Series here on my blog.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, artist & graphic designer
www.canvas.nu & www.stefanlindblad.com

Irma Eriksson, illustrator and comic artist
http://www.imycomic.com/

Freelance is great, but be realistic

I read an inspirational article on Pulse, LinkedIn, promoting going freelancing. And there is nothing wrong with that of course. (Edit: this is my republishing of my own article I wrote today on my own Pulse LinkedIn page).

But as much as it is positive, it would be beneficial also if one had pointed out that freelance work is not for everyone. I live and work in Sweden, and in my country freelance work have had a huge increase similar to the article writer´s country USA. Nothing wrong with going freelance. I am my own boss. And art is my passion. But everything in life has more sides than just one. A coin has three, and never fully flat with all the engravings.

It can be a reality check indeed, going freelance. It can even be a mistake for some.

I have been running my own freelance business since 1997. When it works it´s great and can´t picture myself stopping being a freelance illustrator & designer. Equally freelancing is hard work. You have the ups and downs. The success and the failures. You have the good times and the bad times. You have clients, and you loose them in bulks. And you need to get new ones all the time. Never stop looking for new ones. You need to learn your trade. Keep up with changes in society. Just like any other type of work.

Going freelance, Stefan Lindblad, illustration, design, CorelDRAW Master, Cover artist

People looking for a job is told how important writing a CV and a personal letter is. And how to perfect it. They basically invent the wheel each time they write it. It is basically the same for a freelancer. Or, and also, depending on who you write to as a freelancer looking for a client. Or when you as an illustrator with years of success, suddenly see how your typical style is suddenly out of fashion. What is very important is to see the hard realities at the same time as one see the positives.

Yes, dream! and be realistic at the same time. If we only listen to yes sayers, or only no sayers, we need to understand that balance is key. Sometimes we go freelance because it seems as the only choice. Sometimes a freelance business career is an instant success, but many times it seems like a lifetime of ordeals of never feeling the lift off, from years of hard work.

One of the first things in going freelance, and then keep doing it, is to get involved in trade organizations of your own trade, and meet people who aren’t your enemy. Who give you true advice on pricing and things like writing an agreement, a contract and all that pay the bills. But also learn the trade of our prospective clients. You need to know your clients. And if doing something for free, do it pro-bono for a help organization rather than your brother or sister or friend. And if doing something for free, do it pro-bono for a help organization rather than your brother or sister or friend. Unless you really whant to help out a friend, and that is never wrong. Just know you need to pay the bills in the end. And of course I have done work for free. It´s not wrong.  It can be very rewarding to do it. But also remember the ones closest to you rarely enjoy paying the same money as you ask your regular clients to pay. So you end up working hard but with less money. And that can sink any boat very quickly.

I am all for going freelance, but it really is a reality check. And it can hurt and hit very bad.

But it can also be the passion that keeps on giving. The one that make you feel better about yourself. Being your own boss, managing your own business means you wont get sacked. You may loose one client, but have three other coming in.



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It can be all that you dream of. Equally, learn the trade and keep a realistic view on things. And one more thing – always pay your tax and keep all your papers in order. I would strongly suggest you get an accountant. And you might get great advice on which accountant to go to via the trade organizations members.

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, cover artist & graphic Designer
www.stefanlindblad.com & www.canvas.nu/stefanlindblad-blog

My New Info Graphic illustration: Ablative brain Surgery. CorelDRAW X7

My New info graphic illustration about “Ablative Brain Surgery”. True vector art made with CorelDRAW X7. So called ablative brain surgery method, destroy brain tissue and leave it in its place. Not removing it.

You can see my illustration and more info graphics on my website illustration page, dedicated for Info Graphics. read, see more >

Ablative brain surgery, info graphic illustration by Stefan Lindblad, CorelDRAW Master

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustration, graphic design & art
www.stefanlindblad.com & www.canvas.nu

The Interview Series: Leslie Sturgess – Car vehicle illustrator

Leslie_Sturgess_IMG_20150207_102615

 

Welcome Leslie Sturgess – Car vehicle illustrator to the Interview series

Your Name: Leslie Sturgess

Website: https://www.facebook.com/SturgessDesigns



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Hi there Leslie, and thank you for participating in my Interview Series with illustrators from around the world here on my blog. What year did you start working as an illustrator, creating vector art?

2012

What types of tools do you use, software and or traditional medium?

Pencil and Pen, Have used Oil Paint in the past. And CorelDRAW

Leslie_Sturgess_Illustration_3rd_Day_Chevy_Camaro_SS_Printing

Do you work as a freelancer or a staff illustrator?

It is a hobby more than anything

I´ve seen quite a lot of great vector illustrations from you illustrating car´s. How come you love doing illustrations of cars?

I guess I was born with Petrol in my blood always loved Motorcycles and Hot Rods and drag racing from an early age

Untitled-1

What do you consider especially important when you start planning working on a car image?

Usually the angle of the car/bike, this has become more important as I have progressed with the software

Any particular car you look forward to draw but for whatever reason never have done so far?

Not really, I would like to do more motorcycles but they take so long in full colour, and spokes are very difficult I would like to find an easier way of doing them. The last two bikes I have done in full colour took around 50 hours each to complete.

Do you draw solely in the computer using CorelDRAW or do you also use more traditional mediums?

I sketch with pen and pencil sometimes to get ideas for CorelDRAW, and i recently purchased a Galaxy note but still learning how to use

Leslie_Sturgess_The_Hustler_Realistic_illustration

I´ve seen many classic american cars, and nothing wrong with that, but do you see yourself drawing a Ford Fiesta anytime soon?

Yes sorry about that, I have a love affair with American Cars…..I have done a few English cars GT6/JAG/TR6 etc and I Have drawn a Ford Escort

Leslie_Sturgess_Illustration_1950_Chevy_Truck

 

Surface is of course very important, and I remember a picture of a blue car in which you had succeded to get an almost painterly feel to the surface, without showing brush strokes. As if you had painted realistically on a paper with a nice soft grain surface, using water color with only so slightly colour pigments. It was brilliant. How did you finish that off. After all we talk vector art?

Thanks for the kind comments, I feel most of the time it’s trial and error and making sure you look at the real world when you’re outside, I will quite often look at how the sun is reflected in chrome and paint while I am say in a car park.

The affect was created using the excellent transparency tool in CorelDraw, I now use the BMAP tool and blur and then transparency tool also, work awesome

I did learn a lot from watching tutorials on YouTube and reading the guide book

Leslie_Sturgess_Illustration_Bug_Catcher_Cartoon_Style

Do you do other illustration work other than cars?

I have attempted a few portraits of friends and family and I have been working on cartoon cars recently, some have been joint efforts with other artist



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If you could tell Corel who create CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, and they would fulfill your wish, which tool or feature would ask them to create and add to the suite?

Airbrush affect tool would be nice, maybe there is one already? I try to get each tool to work for me and often do not venture to look at too many other tools in the software. I like to try and master a tool if I can. I use the B-Spline tool the most (Love it) and I know not many other people use this tool but it works great for me
Yes, I can only say I agree Leslie, B-Spline tool is a great tool. Love that tool as well. B-Spline and Freehand one the most often for many of my own jobs.

And lastly coffee. Everyone get this question: Coffee or Tea in the morning?

Coffee

Thank you Leslie!

 

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, graphic designer
www.canvas.nu

I visited Sign & Print Scandinavia 2015, in Kista Suburb, Stockholm Sweden

I´m an illustrator and graphic designer, and no journalist, but here is my fresh from the owen report, from the first day, 3 february. With my impressions and experiences from spending half, or more, of the day, at Sign & Print Scandinavia, in Kista, suburb just outside Stockholm in Sweden running 3-5 februari 2015. Kista is not only a suburb to Stockholm, it is also very close to the international Arlanda airport, and sometimes refered to as Sweden’s silicon valley, during the dot-com era. And Tech and computer companies flock the this suburb, at the edge o the highway E4.

My first experience of the expo/fair I got on my walk up to the expo building. I had just arrived to Kista by traveling with the subway, commuter train, which station platform resides just above and together with, the excellent and rather huge Shopping mall: “Kista centrum”. There standing on the rather busy street by the pavement surrounded by modern bold office buildings, as lunch eating people floods the streets, and snow all around, the coffee truck carriage: “Auel Handmade Coffee”. At first I thought it looking like a similar but smaller and half the size of an espresso carriage on the streets in downtown Stockholm. So small it sometimes difficult to understand someone working in there, severing people barista made coffee. But Auel Handmade Coffee truck carriage, is bigger. And a huge difference is that Auel Handmade Coffee really serve its name right. They roast and brew their coffee. All made from scratch. You can read my blog article with pictures here, for the moment just in swedish,

With a take away coffee cup in my hand, I entered the entrance hall of the expo building, signed in and took the escalator up to the where the action is. My stomach was sounding heavily, hungry like a bear, and my first thought was LUNCH. But I glanced quickly and then headed straight into the expo hall. Made some quick acquaintances and chit chatted for 10 minutes, and then felt that food couldnt wait. I was starving. The Spanish like burgers with salsa and veggies was on my radar.

It hit me after visiting this fairs predecessors the last 3-4 sign, design and print expos in the same hall, that the lack from the exhibitors of advertizing their new stuff. To make it more obvious: “here is our brand new innovations and services” and what have you. Instead I have to basically drag it out of them, somewhat. It should be their number one thing, to brag and show off, at least a bit. Instead few meet your eyes.

As a visitor to a fair, an expo, I like to feel instantly welcome. Not having to look for people. To get some attention. Although this wasnt the overall situation at all exhibitors, it was still happening.

I walked around and looked at the stands, and no one who was in the stands began to talk about their news. But I myself had to ask them about their news. “Hey, what are your news you particularly think that I should look at?”. A little light dazed, maybe even surprised, they began to tell.

One of the first booths I came to was HP. Where was this young gentleman in his gray suit jacket who was quick to catch me. As it should be. He must have worked in a retail store or something. He knew how to capture visitors interest in a nice way. And be available and rapidly informative. And not pushing or showing like a perfume salesman at Bloomingdale’s.

This is so new that it does not even exist to show yet. But demonstrated in May at the Vespa Expo, HP Page Wide, High print.

He  told me about one of HP’s news: HP Page Wide. A new technique with fixed print heads, and pigmented inks. And the crazy high speeds according to the HP guy in the booth. Moreover, the colors apparently have the same price, whether it be color or black and white. Which hopefully lowers consumption costs. Delivery will take place during November / December 2015 and demonstrated at FESPA in May 2015. And Olsonic AB is the dealer in Sweden.

See how easy it is to get the news (free advertising), if it were considered important, be approachable and talk with the visitors. Why dont more at the fair do this, it’s a little strange. At the same time I seemed to be one of the few who said I’d write a bit about the fair. Which some thought was extra fun. That more media channels was writing. And not only the biggest magazine in the print and sign business.

At the Schneidler booth, I met one from the company who  in a nice and personal and professional manner could give his personal opinion and share his own experience, as he gave a quick course in 3 minutes in print results. And showed how it looked and worked. And that the ink really “glue” properly, even though it was water based. Which has not always been the case, over time, previously according to him

HP Latex 300, Schneidlers booth

This is something that I thought came up all the time at the fair: water-based. Large, grand format, economy, appeared to be one of the main news through when I talked to people at different stands.

Batteri Kommunikation and Cap & Design / AGI LIVE kept running, every hour and every three days, a variety of live presentations on various topics. One of the topics and presentations I sat for an hour and listened to, was about ebooks, epub, epublishing. Interesting to see how the battery communications lecturer presented it all. They only use Adobe software, while myself almost exclusively use Corel‘s software, aside from Adobe Reader. Myself in my job as an illustrator and designer use CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7 and Corel Painter 2015. And for video editing and recording of screen capture videos Corel VideoStudio Pro. etc. It’s always fun to watch and hear how others are doing, like those from Battery communication. I sometimes tutor & lecture CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT, both to Swedish companies and freelancers in Sweden, and commissioned directly from Corel Corporation in Canada, in English. Various video and webinar recordings for an international audience. And writes tutorials for CorelDRAW in English. One can always learn from others. I was there the first day that said, and he did well. As it happens, I am one of the very few in Sweden who offer to teach CorelDRAW graphics Suite, and in Stockholm these days I might be the only one. Despite many smaller print and sign companies actually use CorelDRAW quite a lot. And happily so as well.

Expand Media is a company I had the opportunity to work with at one time, when I designed, and vectorized 33 + logos to a back drop for an event a customer would have in southern Sweden. Göthes AB. Expand media was a delight to submit the job to. It must indeed be noted. It was fast and an accurate service, and everything went as it was expected of both my client and myself. Expand media’s man in the booth showed incredible poweras he lifted it almost featherweight and giant screen design. And actually the man himself I had the pleasure to work with at that time.

A little up, a little to the right, a little to the left ” Everything always weighs something,  in the end

Expand Media’s WindScape, portable media display, which could easily be packed in carry-on suitcase. Ideal for those who need to quickly get from fair to fair, or business presentation. It is new in Sweden, and apparently a success in the United States. I can understand that, given all the expo‘s they seem to have around that vast country. And Sweden having its huge share of expos and business presentations, it seem to look like a success here as well.

Digital Signage with LED and other lighting fixtures were also on the Sign & Print

Hexis The Battle at the fair competed on with smiles. These guys had to work considerably to win.

It was a nice expo/fair. I can recommend a visit the next time. What I missed was my friends Ronny and Finn who this time could not come up to Stockholm. So I had to hold the fort, eat some lunch and refreshments myself this time around.

Then, as I was leaving the expo for this year, it was a bit scary to me, for real, on way out from the show, I subconsciously thought it was the most natural thing TO OPEN That car door and drive away, but I stopped right before my hand touched the door handle and woke up. Instead for me, thepublic transportation and the subway back home though awaited.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, graphic designer, artist
CorelDRAW Master

 



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I am A Swede so I swear. If an Anglo is offended, sorry it’s your own cultural fault

I was reminded  by a friend, and rightly so as he is correct,  that we swedes tend to over use the words “Fuck, fucking, shit”. That’s how it is really, the result of what? 100 or so years of American culture and some brittish  as well. All the movies from Hollywood  and all the TV shows and tv series invading  us, have made us all embrace  the words fuck fucking shit, the same way we use our own words  to emphasize things and meanings and expressions.

I am a Swede and I take offense when Swedish channels bleep swearing and bad mouthing on TV. I am proud that we can swear and curse freely on TV. And that’s  why we really, or very rarely  does that. But American famous people coming on Swedish  TV seems to always like to exercise  the right to do so.

We use our words “skit, fan & helvete”. Skit equals shit. Fuck is “knulla” and fucking  equals, it equals “knullar”. It’s plural. No one in Sweden would consider knulla and knullar to be words of beautiful  poetry. But again, it’s all the American culture  we are being exposed  by.

I think the brittish  words “bloody hell” equals the Swedish fan jävla helvete” better than fucking shit. But I guess swedes who have lived a year or so in England use that more than the American expressions of shit, fucking fuck”.

Now my take on this is: if an American or British person is offended by me saying shit fucking fuck, then sorry mate, it’s their own fault. That’s what happens when they like to sell coca cola to everyone  outside the US.

Stefan Lindblad

The book I never manage to read and followed me around

image

This Book have haunted me, almost, on trips through Europe on trains, and big towns and small towns in the US of A. In Sweden you are supposed to love any book of this writer. Full stop. And yep its a great writer.  Only… This particular  book I’ve never managed to read through. And feeling  guilty almost for not doing it. I used to bring it with me on all trips. I just thought I must manage to read the freaking book. And for some reason never make it.  I thought I had thrown  it away or give it to charity.  But no, I just found it on the top shelve. Staring at me: ” Yohoo, here I am, still, my friend”.

I bought it back in 1984 and still tried to read on trips early 2000. It was first published in 1983 and year after it came out in this pocket. It sold well. And the storyline is intriguing. And the story on the back cover and the first pages, first chapter, intrigued me as a very young man. It was a time when clothes from the 1940´s was hip again and for many years onwards. In 1983, the year before, I had been in Paris over the new year with my oldest friend. We had seen the start of Paris – Dakar Rally around Place de la Concord. And I had bought a Kashmir coat in Paris, close to the Opera house, to wear with my old second-hand original 1940´s hand-tailord suite on new years eve. And the cover of this book appealed to me. And still does. But reading it page to page from start to end or middle – nope. Just cant do it. It simply wasnt my tempo in the book or something like that. The way he wrote the story. I know, people years after, when I worked on theatres, convinced me it was a great book – because of the author. For so many years I gave it all the chances and packed it into my back packs. Who knows, maybe one day I will read it. And hopefully I will enjoy it. I just cant see it happening right now.

Last year, winter 2014 and january 2015, the book “Gentlemen” by the same author, a true classic of this writer, was released as a movie. I didn’t read the book, and I can’t say I was even near interested after seeing clips from the movie. Thats life, right. SOme work and some doesnt.

A detail maybe, but 1940´s, this book played out in 1937 Stockholm Continue reading

New video: Corel PHOTO-PAINT X7 Dodge & Burn and Bokeh Blurh

Here my new video, on my own YouTube channel, showing how to use Corel PHOTO-PAINT X7 applying Bokeh Blur effect and Dodge and Burn effect to a photo. Photo-Paint is part of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7.

If you like to watch more videos of mine, just search here on my blog, or visit my YouTube Channel.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustration, graphic designer & artist
Image editing.
CorelDRAW Master

New CorelDRAW Tutorial: How to Center everything with 2 Steps

Here my latest FAST video tutorial: How to center everything in CorelDRAW X7 with only two steps. On my Youtube Channel you can see more tutorials. My own and those I do for Corel.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, graphic designer & artist
CorelDRAW Master

Should or Shouldnt? – Business via LinkedIn, Facebook… or the BLOG

Social media platforms

 

In a LinkedIn group with creatives a question was raised on whether anyone in the arts actually got any business made by using LinkedIn. A very valid question. Some do and some doesn’t. Here is in part my thoughts on this topic.

Like the Subject title ask: Should or Shouldnt I even put time on having a social media account. Or any of the LinkedIn, Facebook, Google plus, Twitter, YouTube or why not simple the blog and website.

I have got more business made through LinkedIn than Facebook, that´s for sure. I agree that personal contact is always the best. Equally many of my clients I have never met at all, so again what is the best. A mix.

I have tried to use LinkedIn way more than I have before, the last two years 2013 and 2014. I have increased my activity. I am quite selective to whom I have on my contact list also. I like to keep LinkedIn as my business platform. I take contact with interesting businesses via LinkedIn, often just by searching before contacting via email, phone and so forth. Sometimes via the LinkedIn platform directly. I noticed that until 2nd quarter of 2014, my contacts were mainly international and not so much local Swedish. It is a bit like everyone is just starting to use LinkedIn. Not knowing what to do with it. So I started to make contacts with Swedish businesses via LinkedIn. I am a kids book cover artist and illustrator, but also an illustrator and graphic designer with a broader range of clients. Most, but not all, of my clients are not in the book business, nor advertizing agency’s these days, percentage wise that is. Most of my clients are in the non-media. But who need media and design and images for their own business nonetheless. That percantage wise can change of course from year to year and over time.

All in all I think its important to think business, and think of who the contacts are that one have. For example, I don’t have too many illustrator and designers on my contact list. In comparison to the other businesses. Simply because colleagues like illustrators and designers are not my clients. We creatives may temporarily collaborate, but Editors, Art Directors, Project managers, CEO´s, small business owners, printers and many others are. They are the ones who needs stuff made. And who pay the bills. My Facebook is another matter. On my private and public Facebook I have basically everyone and any type of field. Same goes for my Twitter, which is more Rock and Roll ;-)

We artists, illustrators, designers and so forth, must see ourselves as the business people we actually are. There is too much talk among artist and creatives about non-business side of things, when they actually talk business. Which is odd. People tend to accept to work for less and for nothing, when nothing pays the bills, but money does. Which is the reality.

But the most successful social media platform business wise for me, by far of all social media platforms I use, is my website and my two blog´s. And they are bilingual. One in Swedish and one in English.

Sometimes I hear and read how the blog is supposedly a dead platform, but I would say the contrary. The blog and website are what is generating more hits, SEO, via Google, Yahoo and other major search engines.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, artist, graphic designer

Webinar Video: Creating Rapports and Pattern Fills using CorelDRAW® and Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™

Check out my New Webinar for Corel!

On how to Create Rapports and Pattern Fills using CorelDRAW® and Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™ You’ll also get tips on how to work on several designs simultaneously, plus learn how to edit and create patterns on the fly.

When working with original designs, I always recommend to first save the design in “.CDR”, CorelDRAW file format before and after it have been created into a fill, using the fill tools. That way you your designs is 1) Securely saved in your own custom folder as an editable CDR file, and 2) saved as a fill in the “.fill” format in the Fill folder (Document>Corel>Corel Content>Fill), which is not an ordinary editable original, in the traditional sense.

 

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator, graphic designer & Artist
CorelDRAW Master

Starbucks first real store in Stockholm city

Starbucks Coffee in Stockholm, Sweden, Illustrator, artist, graphic designer, CorelDRAW MAster, Stefan Lindblad , www.canvas.nu, 2015

So Starbucks made it finally into the main city area, and bohemian Chic trendy Götgatgsbacken street at Södermalm island.

I have no problem with Starbucks per say. But if this store and the one at Central station is the best they can muster, in competition with local Swedish giant “Espresso House”, then it ain’t much to brag about. This location will make them survive though.

I whent in and turned.

If Starbucks made coffee shops feeling cozy and nice atmosphere,  then Espresso House took it even further.  Starbucks suddenly feel like a regular lunch place at a station. No more.

Stefan Lindblad
Cafe and coffee shop user
Illustrator,  graphic designer and artist

Hockey: Landeskog & Colorado Avalanche

Hockey: Swedish captain Gabriel Landeskog at Colorado Avalanche.  Quite impressive.

“”I remember a power-play goal where Gabe tipped it at the net-front against us,” Spott said. “He came by our bench and … on his way to his bench to celebrate kind of looked at us and kind of stared down our bench.

“The one side of me was upset being Team Canada coach. But the other side said, ‘I’ve got to find out who this kid is for the Kitchener Rangers.’

http://www.nhl.com/ice/m_news.htm?id=744691

 

Stefan Lindblad