Where did you you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist? Have you always been creative?
I’m from Norway, more specifically Tønsberg. If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings, Tønsberg essentially served as the Helms deep of the king back in the day, it’s where he would retreat to to fight sieges from enemy forces. So it’s a fairly historically important city in Norwegian history.
I don’t think I ever decided? I think it just was, like I don’t remember any point in time where that wasn’t the case.
What I do however remember is when I was younger I would draw all the time, and then after a while I stopped completely and started just writing all the time instead, until I at around age 11 decided to combine the two and make comics.
I mean creative yes, but I think more so I’m obsessive, I can’t let things go before I’m satisfied, and you could call that perfectionism but it’s not about things being perfect it’s about them being done. Like if I start a page I NEED to finish it. If I start a story I need to finish it, I never let it go. I still try to rethink and rewrite terrible story ideas
I had when I was young in a way that’s not a steaming pile of garbage. I still try to recreate characters, set pieces. And I still keep chasing that idea of me as an artist. I’m an artist, that’s just how it is. Sometimes I don’t enjoy my profession for months on end, but I’m an artist. That’s just how it is, so I have to keep creating. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else but it makes sense to me haha.
How did you develop your skills? Did you study art in school or are you self taught?
I’ve gone to school, but I don’t feel like I learned much from them? not because I’m super great or anything, I was just very eager to learn when I was younger so anytime I saw an artist that did something I wanted to be able to do I’d bug them until they were my friend and would send them all my art to critique and ask them for pointers all the time. So I guess I learned from a series of mentors more than anything else!
Have your family and friends always been supportive in your artistic path, or has it been challenging for them to understand your choice?
Supportive yes, understanding yes, a challenge? oh for sure. I’m 25 I’m still living at home and my parents are starting to lose faith that’s ever going to change. Not because they don’t think
I’m good enough or anything like that they just think like given that it hasn’t worked in 25 years (which isn’t REALLY true) then statistically it won’t start working now. Which y’know is something you can expect from anyone really, because they don’t know all the work you do and all of the angles you’re attacking.
What was your strongest influence you had growing up ( artists, cartoons, films, comics, etc)?
Cartoon Network I think? I really love the work of Genndy Tartakovsky and that whole group of show runners Craig McCracken etc.. and I was also big into Disney movies like Aladdin and Treasure planet. Also I was really huge on old webcomics like Kent Mudles Eggbert and David Davis’s Cosmic Dash and many more like them that I can’t remember the name of or find because I’m sure the artists are very very embarrassed of ever having made them now.
Do you have a routine when sitting down ready to get creative?
Mmmm... I wake up put on pants and start creating usually. I find putting on proper clothes helps me get in a working mood but that’s about it. Also I have like 7 alarms set on my phone to remind me to do something other than work because I’m a bit of a workaholic so y’know there’s one for breakfast, one for Yoga, one for lunch one for dinner etc.. And the most important one the one for the end of the work day haha
What part of the creative process is the easiest, what part is the hardest and what part is the most fun?
Easiest? clean up and colors probably, it’s like conveyor belt stuff. Hard part is the actual creating, meaning the layouts the sketches - the planning stages basically. The most fun varies, I work all the time so it gets a bit dull, but when I hit that spot where I really get into the flow is when I have the most fun and what I always come back for.
Have you worked on any exciting projects in the past and are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I mean I’m always working on the webcomic Grapple Seed I draw that my buddy Håvard Heggenhougen writes. So there’s that, but we’ve also done 2 24/24 comics (24 page comics done in 24 hours) recently that we plan to shine up and post online sometimes within 2016. and i’m also working on a scifi action adventure comic behind the scenes but that won’t be out for aaaaages. So many many things going on, and probably more that I’m forgetting.
Do you have a long-term career goal and what would your dream project be?
Make money doing my own comics would be the long term goal, preferably enough to sustain living. Grapple Seed currently is my dream project so ideally I’d just like to be able to do that full time and not starve or leech off my parents.
Would you prefer to work for a company or work as a freelancer? And why?
Honestly I’d be good working for anyone that lets me work within my own style or in the cartoonier of realms in general. But I think I’d prefer working for a company? Freelancing gives you more variation sure but you also have to be your own secretary your own accountant, your own advertiser and it’s a lot of extra non art related work that I don’t very much enjoy. I just want to draw really.
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? What do you do to keep yourself creative and boost your imagination?
I don’t really believe in art blocks? and what I mean by that isn’t that creativity is a constant but it’s that i think the term art block and the mentality behind artblocks does more harm than it does good.
Think about it this way, art is a very large part of who you are as an artist and how you see your worth, so if you can’t draw you go “Ugh I’m the worst I’m so stupid why can’t I draw!?” and you call that an artblock, but the thing is there are usually deeper issues than that. If you value your self worth only through your art you’re gonna have a bad time.
Cause i’m sure at the same time you’er having this “art block” your mood is fairly low in general and maybe you’re having troubles going out of bed but since you don’t relate that as much to your self worth you’re not like “STUPID LEGS CAN’T EVEN WALK I AM WORTHLESS!”.
Usually art is the thing that gives you a sense of accomplishment, so if you’re feeling low you go to art but then if the arts not coming out right it’s a vicious cycle of “I’m the worst” etc so my suggestion is when you’re feeling fatigue don’t seek out art for accomplishment, it’s too closely tied to who you are, find simple ways to find accomplishment, learn a pointless skill like spinning a basketball, play and master a quick challenge map in a videogame do something that gives you guaranteed satisfaction and accomplishment not art which is something that is already incredibly hard to do when you’re on your A game!
Do you have a favourite subject to draw? If so, what makes it so special?
I really like character design, and as an extension of that I really like drawing conversations cause it combines like gestures and expressions which really brings a characters personality forwards.
Who are the artists that inspire you the most today? And why?
Genndy Tartakovsky is a huge inspiration still to this day, and so is Kent Mudle who is currently working on a new webcomic called Beret (www.beretcomic.com).
And also Nagano Takuzou the character designer on Level 5 games like Professor Layton! And just all of my webcomic buds in general, there are SO many good webcomics out there, like holy shit.
Do you have something that you've designed that you are most proud of?
I’m really happy with most of my character designs honestly, I’m also really proud of the 24/24 comic “Abandoned” that me and Håvard did this past week and am really looking forward to showing that off to everybody cause it turned out way better than we expected.
If you had to give 1 piece of advice to someone just getting started in the creative field, what would it be?
This is gonna sound like the advice of a bitter old man....but don’t think you HAVE to go to school to be an artist, it’s one of the few professions where you can have absolutely no education and be just as likely to get a job as someone with a masters. It’s all about your portfolio, what you’ve produced and how you present it. And of course there’s connections, which I won’t like school helps with, but there are so many cheaper and frankly BETTER options out there like Schoolism or just going to an art forum and posting your work for review frequently, bugging artists you adore. If you like my work, bug the shit out of me, I’d love to help you.
As follow up advice, make sure you’re asking the right questions, don’t ask “How do I get better” figure out what you’re bad at, find someone who’s good at it and ask specifics “I can’t get my worlds to look lived in, and your environment work is so immersive, could you look at my work and see what I’m doing wrong?” Always be specific both with finding out what you want to know and who you want to ask about it.
Finally, where can we find you and your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
There’s of course my webcomic I’ve mentioned time and time again Grapple Seed which you can find at www.Grapplecomic.com or on Tapastic at https://tapastic.com/series/Grapple-Seed I also post a lot of art on my twitter @Sketchmazoid
I don’t have a lot for sale at the moment but be on the lookout for some t shirts and prints and the like coming soon! Also if you want to support me the best way to do so is either to contact me at Sketchmazoid@gmail.com or to support my Patreon - even $1 helps towards the goal of being self sustainable!
We also hope to sometime in the future run a kickstarter for English print of Grapple Seed but that’s a bit up in the air while we sort out some more high priority things.