What's your background?
I'm Swiss and have been living in Switzerland for most of my life. On a rainy day while on vacation in a chalet in the mountains (with no TV and no internet), I decided to kill some time by doodling. I was thirteen at the time and although I'd always enjoyed drawing, I had little experience beyond art class.
After that day, I was hooked. I collected all the newspapers and magazines I could find and used the photos in them as reference pictures. I was fascinated with faces and even though they were an intimidating subject to draw at first, I soon realized that it was mostly a matter of practice.
In the following years, drawing became an important hobby to me. Later on in high school, I chose art as my major and learned more techniques. A great part of how I draw today is self-taught, however - inspiration can be found anywhere, from everyday sceneries, magazines, the internet, to great apps like Sktchy.
Today, drawing is still one of my favorite things to do, even though it's not something I pursue professionally. I love the freedom of drawing whenever I feel like it and choosing my references freely!
What's your medium of choice when you're creating art?
I first started out with a regular HB pencil and cheap printer paper. As time went on, I began exploring other mediums like acrylic paint, oil paint, pastels, Copic markers, and many more.
However, the one thing I always find myself going back to is a good old pencil. I like the control it gives me and, of course, the fact that it's erasable. I therefore don't invest a whole lot of money in a wide array tools, but rather use simple and inexpensive mediums like pencils or ballpoint pens and some nice, heavier paper.
One thing I would strongly advise is to buy soft pencils (4B-8B). With a softer and therefore darker pencil, you can create more depth in your drawings. Lately, I've mostly been using a 5B mechanical pencil. This also has the advantage that I don't need to pack a whole lot of art supplies when I'm on the go - all I need to take with me is my Moleskine sketchbook, a single pencil and an eraser.
How did you build your creative habit?
I don’t like sticking to a schedule when it comes to drawing. Instead, I draw whenever I feel like it – over the years, I've been sometimes more, sometimes less active. It's always been important to me not to make drawing something that I force myself to do, but to keep it fun and exciting.
One thing that helps me stay creative is to keep and organize every single sketch, drawing and painting I've made, even - or especially - the really bad ones. Looking back at this collection of old sketchbooks and folders full of drawings every once in a while helps me to get a good overview of my progress.
I look at my drawings from when I first started doing portraits and compare them with new pieces. This motivates me to keep pushing forward and strive for yet more improvement. I imagine what my art could look like in five, ten, twenty years, which makes me want to keep drawing and find out!
When you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you get out of it?
One basic thing that helps me avoid creative ruts is to keep a well organized work space. Knowing where every single drawing utensil is stored and having a nice, cleaned up desk makes it so much easier to just sit down and start sketching. If I know I'll have to free up some space first and that I'll have to look for pencils and paper, I'm less motivated to start drawing in the first place.
If I find myself in a creative rut anyway (which does happen), it helps to tell myself that I'll just do a quick sketch. Starting a huge project can be intimidating, so I sit down and try to do a 10-30 minute sketch.
Knowing I won't have to invest all day in an elaborate drawing makes starting much easier. In the best case, I'll even find myself being inspired all over again and wanting to extend my drawing time or doing a quick sketch again the next day.
Which of your recent Sktchy artworks most expresses who you are now as an artist?
Finding my own style has been the one thing I've struggled with the most when it comes to art. For a long time, I'd make my drawings as realistic as possible, sometimes reaching an almost photo-like effect, which never felt personal and like it represented me.
It was only recently that I've finally started to feel like I've found a style that expresses who I am as an artist. The portrait of Aicha Robertson (February 17) is a good example of that. it sticks to realistic proportions while the shading, made up of clearly visible lines, still makes it look artistic and gives it a personal touch.