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Comics Features - Artist Spotlight

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By Blazej Szpakowicz     October 01, 2006

Welcome to the latest edition of the DCG Artist Spotlight.

Our interviewee today is the 2004 DCG Award winner for Best Artist,and one of the all-time greats of the C2F/HM community: Harald Stricker,better known as Android.

Comics2Film (C2F):What is your background in art and graphic design?

Harald Stricker (HS):I graduated in Fine Arts where I learned to see the world in a more sensitiveand sharper way. At that time, I tried to comprehend abstract art and attemptedto make some sketches, but it was quite a mistake because (pseudo)realisticthemes were always what I really wanted to do. I've been a freelancer sincegraduation and now I'm thinking about an exposition, naturally, with anon-pop-and-conventional theme.

C2F:What software do you use?

HS:In relation to photomanips, I only use Photoshop.

C2F:When and how did you get started in photomanipulations?

HS:Maybe in 1995... when I began to practice photomanips in my friend's PC.

C2F:How did you discover C2F?

HS:I believe I discovered C2F during a Google research about some film based oncomic-books.

C2F:What is your favourite of your own work?

HS:I still think myTwo-Facemanip is worthy of admiration because it's simple buteffective. As a matter of fact, it works that way. I do enjoy my past works butwhat I like most is the manip on which I'm working right now; doing a new manipis very gratifying and gives me the possibility of improving myself.

C2F:...and your least favourite?

HS:Powergirl is absolutely dreadful! Looking back at this manip, I realize theoutcome is so poor and tragic. It's a pity...

C2F:Whose work do you look forward to at Heromorph and C2F?

HS:Marrow2000,Serayala,Welshcat,Marcelo Gomes,Bill Turner,Divine_Monkey7:11,Zac,Lordmesa,B,Jrmcdeath,Quantum FX,Darthbakpao,Matrixblur,Shade,Daekazu,among others.

C2F:Who are some of your favourite mainstream or professional comic bookartists?

HS:My favorite comic book artists are: Uderzo (from Asterix), Adam Hughes, JohnBuscema & Alfredo Alcala (from Conan) and Alex Ross. Yet, the artists thatinspire me most in Fine Arts are: Caravaggio, Norman Rockwell, Dali, Klimt,Leonardo da Vinci and others.

C2F:What do you see as your greatest strength as an artist?

HS:Self-criticism. I'm not perfect and I try to remember that all the time,otherwise I could not succeed in improving myself.

C2F:Conversely, what aspect of art do you think you still need to workon?

HS:Inside this super-hero universe, I'd love to manipulate non-humans characterscovered by exotic textures. It's a universe deserving be more explored.

C2F:How do you start a manip?

HS:Frequently, the original photo rules the creative process. It's difficult tofind a photo which fits itself on what you want to manipulate (athletes,swimmers, models are great inspirations for super-hero manips). Of courseI can create Frankensteinings but I prefer to avoid them... After picking the mostappropriate photo, I start looking for textures that could possibly help me andit's not always easy to preview the final result. Besides, there's something inthe process that annoys me a bit: erotic photos are mostly the basis ofnon-erotic manipulations and sometimes they are quite disturbing.

C2F:What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?

HS:What inspires me most are some great comic book characters, some veryastonishing photomanips posted in C2F as well as the possibility of transforminga 2-dimensional character into a more realistic being. Mostly, I get the ideasto build a manip from the actual picture I chose from the web. Well, in fact,I do not choose the picture, since it clearly guides me, showing me what way tofollow.

C2F:Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

HS:I guess I could give two important pieces of advice to aspiring artists. First,be patient with your own creations; if you think your work is completely finished,take a deep breath, turn off the computer, read a nice book, take some coffee and,finally, take another critical look at it. Second, since your style must be uniqueto make difference in the artistic world, I strongly recommend not copy themannerism of other artists. The photomanipulation is by definition the creationof a different reality and nobody has a magic formula to build it.

C2F:What do you enjoy most about C2F and the DCG?

HS:I enjoy passionately this serious and democratic website, which gives artistsa way of displaying their works. I also like watching the fan videos, the"gossip" about movies, the DCG and the opportunity for chatting with manytalented and nice people.

C2F:What are your favourite comic books and comic book characters?

HS:Sandman, Asterix, Marvels, Y, The Last Man (although I think its illustratora bit boring), Fables, among others, are for certain my favorite comic books.And Batman, Sandman and his family, Bigby Wolf are great characters.

C2F:DC or Marvel?

HS:DC for sure! They were the first and deserve your respect! Doesn't anybodyrealize that "Identity" and "Infinite Crisis" brought to discussion the important question of what it means being a hero?

C2F:In the 2004 DCG Awards, you swept the board, winning 5 awardsincluding Best New Artist and Best Artist. Nearly two years on, doyou have any thoughts on that accomplishment?

HS:It was a good time, wasn't it? In 2004 I produced a large number of manips.It was the first time in my life I posted my work on the web. These awards gaveme the courage I needed to continue doing manips. Ah... if we all could work onwhat we really like, the world would be a better place (but I believe it wouldbe a bit smelly)... I deeply thank C2F for the opportunity and also the folksthat, beyond praising, made constructive critiques about the manips.

C2F:Among your most noted early manips was your Thundercatsseries from 2004. Looking back, what do you think of that series? What inspired it?Which individual piece do you think works the best?

HS:Thundercats was a work deeply inspired by good childhood memories and thegallery in C2F showed me I was not the only one who liked the cartoon. Thepride I felt could possibly be comparable to a screenwriter who sees amiracle happening right in front of his eyes in the moment he is finallyintroduced to the actors who will play his characters. In the future, whoknows, I could add more characters to the series or do a large scene withall them, including the villains, obviously. I enjoy all my Thundercatsseries, although I'm a little disappointed withLion-O'sFrankensteining.

C2F:Finally, how do you do those *amazing* textures (metals, patternedcloth, fur, etc)? Us mere mortals are dying to know...

HS:I have some photo samples of rocks, woods, fabrics, reptiles and mammalsin my files. I start the manip by modifying the shape of these images in orderto make them fit in right the place I want. Spherize and Liquefy are tools Ialways use. The first is good to transform a 2D texture to a 3D texture andthe second one, to retouch and finalize it. I truly recommend this process toall those who work with Photoshop because there is no value in dropping inflat textures without this sort of treatment.

For more of Harald's art, takea look at hisDCG gallery.

Interviewer:Blazej Szpakowicz


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