The Interview Series: Myself Stefan Lindblad, Illustrator, Artist & Graphic Designer

My Interview series continues with my self while waiting for the new interviews to come in. And simply because I too is a Beta tester, and I liked to present myself as well.

Why not! I interview people I have come to know through Corel forums, and who are fellow beta testers of and fellow CorelDRAW Graphics Suite users. And some of us have met in real life. This time its myself.

Your Name: Myself – Stefan Lindblad

Website: www.canvas.nu, as well as www.stefanlindblad.com, the two blogs.

Style & type of work you produce?
Many of my clients are book publishers, advertizing agency´s, magazines and companies in general. I work freelance as a self employed company.

I work with illustration in different styles, Graphic Design, layout of book covers and brochures etcetera and amongst many different image jobs, vectorizing logos. A lot of small and middle size companies contact me to create proper originals of different types of images they need as vectors, for example logos. Other times I make patter design rapports or clothing apparel patterns using CorelDRAW for clothing companies they used to send to factories for manufacturing their clothes. I could go on really. And it varies from year to year.

The most visible for most people I guess is my work for magazines and books. But I do a lot of different graphic design, layout and illustration work, have to pay the bills. And its fun with the variety. Never got it when illustrators keep on saying stick to your guns when that may mean to do only one single kind of work and style. Which is good if you get extremely famous, but most don’t and they have to pay bills, and having fun at the same time. Honestly I would get bored to do only one style of work.

Being a user of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. What was it that made me discover and choose to use CorelDRAW Graphic s Suite?
I started off trying to learn Photoshop 3.0 around 1995 or something like that. And got hold of a copy of Photoshop 5.0. Because there was a job I could apply for at a newspaper if I knew Photoshop. It was at the time I was getting more and more interested in digital media and in 1995 I just got to hear about the internet. I remember when I heard about the internet back in 1995. It was a former rather famous male Swedish fashion model Tomas S. He always had ideas on how I could make money as an artist when we met. One day in Stockholm on the street I asked him ”Tomas what’s up” and told me he was selling commercial to be viewed on computers via the internet. And he worked at that time at Icon Media Lab which was a HUGE internet company in Sweden when Stockholm even in American media was labelled the capital of dot com.

I didn’t say anything to him, but remember how I thought ”poor guy, commercial on the computer? Why would anyone like to watch a computer screen to watch commercial adds from the food store?

One year later in 1996 an American woman I met with her cousin asked me if I had an email address. I didn’t, but fixed one and from there on I was basically hooked. In 1996 I played around and learnt as much as I could with Photoshop and Dreamweaver 1.0. I registered my own company in 1997. And then remembered I had asked a former co-worker if he knew of any computer graphics program to illustrate with. He said ”CorelDRAW but it cost 30 000 kronor”, approx. 3000 Euro´s.

I left the idea of getting it and continued struggling with Photoshop instead. Then in 1998 my girlfriend found a CorelDRAW Select edition 7.0 in a book store for 700 kronor, approx. 70 Euro on sale. I was stunned and bought it on the spot. Installed it and quickly upgraded to CorelDRAW G.Suite 10 (and of course it didnt cost 30 000 kronor…) and onwards. I got instantly hooked and loved it from the first minute. Photoshop 5.0 was horrible to work with text. And PHOTO-PAINT was already doing it way much better for text work. And of course CorelDRAW with all the vector graphics being popular I instantly worked with Both CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT.

What year was it?
Between 1995 and 1998

Which Programs do I use, Corel and none-Corel programs?
I use CorelDRAW, PHOTO-PAINT, Wacom Intuos tablet, for basically most of my illustration and graphics work. Microsoft Expression Web 4.0 for all my website work, I used to use DreamWeaver but with Adobe buying Macromedia it just became so expensive so I looked elsewhere, considering I had used DW since version 1.0 it was a step for me, but Expression web is great to work with and very similar to Dreamweaver. It lacks in my view in regard to the FTP program in EW but then again, I like both Coffee Cup Free FTP and FileZilla so its fine. And then of course Open Office for Word and office work, part from my accounting program. Notepad ++ for PHP coding and I started recently with Corel Aftershot PRO, former Bibble PRO.

Do I use any analogue tools in conjunction with digital in my work?
Now I am an artist, illustrator graphic person born and bread. Its in my genes – so of course I never leave home without any of my pencils and markers and my sketchbook. 

Which year was it I started my business?
I registered my company in 1997

Would I recommend CorelDRAW Graphics Suite?
Yes of course. Without hesitation. I use CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT. Both are professional programs. Where Photoshop have passed PHOTO-PAINT in some areas in image editing, its equally good in my view when it comes to actually draw and Paint. And CorelDRAW is great. Remember I do ALL my graphic design, layout and vector work using it. There is never ever any work I have said I couldn’t do since 1997. Anything that comes my way I have been able to handle without any direct issues.

Of course there is a transparency issue between Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW which is because transparency in both programs are built programming-wise different from each other. But generally nothing that hinders me in my work. Where Adobe Illustrator lets you create one-single page work, CorelDRAW let you great Multiple page layout work. To do Layout in Adobe illustrator, you have to leave the program entirely and move over to In Design – I stay put in CorelDRAW and do all my layout as well as vector graphic and illustration work.

All these programs are good programs, only they are set up differently and because Adobe are so big they never allow Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop users to open files and images form CorelDRAW and Photoshop,whilst the competition CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT opens and import their files and images. That alone makes it easy for me to work with people who may work with Photoshop for example when I work with PHOTO-PAINT. Then yes Photoshop ahve a few features some like to use that are not there in PHOTO-PAINT but that goes the other way around as well.

I can seave to PSD, Photoshop files from withing PHOTO-PAINT, so there is no imment danger in working with clients who uses Photoshop.

And with Bibble PRO or Corel Aftershot PRO I can manage all my RAW, high res Tiffs or Jpegs just like any Adobe Lightroom user may do.

What, more importantly, made me begin working with the work I do today? After all I too could have made a career as a hairdresser or something in that line instead, like any other human being.
I have worked with other types of work, like the most of us. Nothing strange in that. Never like a hairdresser though. But when I took the definite step to go all alone and start my company it was this line of work that matters. After all I decided to become an artist when I was thirteen years old and had my first solo exhibition when I was 21 years old. And prior to registering my company I had already started to freelance as an illustrator off an and on.

What is that I like with your work?
I love working with others, but I also like not having a boss leaning over my shoulder. Its the freedom to create I guess. But its also hard work to become your own boss. Its a lot of pressure and every month is a new blank canvas that has to be filled with money on the bank to pay your bills. Always those two sides of a coin.


In an interview in the Digital Artist Magazine, who interviewed me a few years back, I was asked what I would like to see in future versions of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Is there anything you would like to see?
There is always many things I like to see, one being perspective grids, full 48 bit on all features for image editing and on Object Lenses. And a few other things. Basically the same answer like in the interview in Digital Arts Magazine.

Do I drink coffee or tea in the morning?
Coffee. Grind my own beans and place my cappuccino cup in my espresso machine while trying to open my eyes, and just add a tad of milk in the cup and then brew the coffee. Later during the day I might make a proper Cappuccino.

What do I think is important to think about running your own business or in your line of work, to think about. Is it discipline or and something else?
Go up in the morning and start to work, regardless if you work from home or at an office. Quickly take a shower, have breakfast, watch the morning news. Check emails and be disciplined. And when it is hard and everything feel down, do something inspiring. It can be to just take a coffee or lunch, but always work. Take a day to sit and reflect over where the business is going. Setting up new goals. And maybe try to learn new things. For example its very easy in my work to do what have always been done. Hence risk for fatigue and boredom. Read inspiring magazines in the arts & design. Draw and paint for fun. Maybe test a tutorial. but above all learn new and proper ways of doing things.

For example with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 came a totally new Colour Management system. To me as an artist of both traditional media and digital media, its quite odd that people complain over colour management when they doesn’t seem to have learn proper and correct ways of working with colour.

There is a reason for example why acrylic and oil paint labeled ”studio” isn’t ”artist quality” if it is a professional brand. It really is. But I still see how many artists that are famous even seem to use the lesser quality at times. I don’t get that.

Its like with acid free paper, there is reason to why I always only choose acid free paper to draw on.

For example when I paint large size acrylic or oil painting on canvas, and we talk above two meters and five meter and onwards in size, its very important to pick a canvas with longer fibres, because oil paint weighs a lot. And so on. Learn the craft and then go wild. Or simultaneously go wild and proper. That way you learn what’s correct when you are wild and can quickly adjust when it really is needed. This rules applies for both traditional and digital media.

For someone just starting out, what do you think they should think about?
Learn your craft and your business. Contact and hire an accountant. And become a member of a proper organization in your field, go mingle and listen and learn from others. Do the ground work first and then have fun. When the tax man comes and like to see your papers and ask you to pay your taxes, you really don’t like to not have money on the bank or paper not in order. You don’t.

And look for new clients always. Never settle with one single or a few clients. They will come and go. Clients are not necessarily loyal. They are there to make business like you. Keep the current clients, treat them right, deliver on time and what you said you would and look for additional new clients. Broaden your horizon.

Is there any big change in how and what I worked with when I first started out. Have the business changed in any way?
In my line of work its HUGE what have happen. Remember in 1995 that year internet basically came to everyone’s knowledge. Cell, mobile phones as well and computers really got affordable. And computer programs made their entrance on a broad scale. It may seem for someone in their 20´s today as 20 years is a long time, but it isn’t. When you get 40 you really see how quick a year passes. I surely started noticing it when I was 25 years old + 1 day. Its really staggering.

To take an example, in 2007 my girlfriend and I when´t to Sedona, Arizona, USA, traveling around and I had to deliver work for a client just after the Christmas holidays. But I sat in Arizona, USA. On the other side of the atlantic ocean. I finished my work on my laptop and used my Wacom tablet and via the internet delivered the work on the day. That really wouldn’t happen before.

Stefan Lindblad
January 2012.
Copyright Stefan Lindblad

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  1. Hello Stefan,
    I liked the initiative to promote interviews with professionals in our field, especially members of the CorelDRAW Community. It’s a good chance to know a little more about that people, even over long distances, we are connected via the Forum almost every day.
    For now, I just read only three interviews. I’ll be back in my time free to enjoy the other conversations.
    Silvio Win.

  2. Hi Silvio,

    I agree with you, and I have been going to send you an email request. But I dont have your email address. I will ask you in ”our” forum

    I enjoy very much these interviews myself. And as you say its long distances between us, but it feels so close.

    Thank you for commenting.


  3. Hello again, Stefan.

    You could find me visiting my profile in the Community by clicking my ”Website”. Anyway I can make your search easier: silvio@winmultimidia.com.br

    Comments about the nature of your art:
    I see it as a mix of ”draft” and finished product, which gives it an interesting and impressive style, unique and very characteristic of an innovative artist.

    Your illustrations also differ by colors, sometimes dramatic and at the same time soft and pleasant to watch. I really enjoy your style.

    Silvio Gomes (Win)

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