Thursday, August 23, 2018

As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.

Today we'll be interviewing Henrik Rosenborg.

Kaminski: The first question is typically the same to get the ball rolling: What made you pursue art? Is it something that you always saw yourself pursuing? What KEEPS you pursuing it?

Rosenborg: I think originally it was when I was very young and drew and painted in school. I always had a vivid imagination and was, for that age, fairly good at putting it on paper. I think the feedback from that when I was younger helped a lot. I didn't take it very seriously though, I just drew and didn't really care about progress, which was great in a way. The real progress started happening when I was sitting in my parents' basement playing World of Warcraft, no job or anything planned for the future and I was like, "what the fuck am i doing?".

I started thinking about what to do with myself, I knew, right then and there, that a normal job wasn't for me, I wanted to be creative. So I started approaching drawing as a profession, it took maaaany years before I even knew what to do with it. Seven years ago, now, I decided I wanted to be an illustrator so I just gave it all I got. At first it was more about just working with something that was interesting. Later on it turned into a way of helping people dream for a bit, see another world, even if just for a brief moment. Why I keep doing it I think is a mix of things, partially because I've put so much into it that I don't want to back down and partially the same thing as I mentioned, to help people dream a bit.

Kaminski: When first starting out were there specific industries you'd target or were you at the 'shotgun approach' and just sending out portfolio examples everywhere to see what stuck? And in that vein, what are some stories of your first for-hire projects (without naming any specific names of course)?


Rosenborg: Well I had been an avid player of Role-Playing Games (RPGs), especially in the fantasy genre for the most part of my life, so I knew I wanted to get into that somehow. I did very soon realize that it wasn't that easy to reach the bigger names even though I thought I was awesome. I started with applying to a bunch of RPGs on the Swedish market and the first few gigs I did paid incredibly bad.

My absolute first gig was for a big company, they found me as I was painting live at a big event in Sweden, the university brought us to different events to promote the school. At first I was kind of rude to the poor guy. I was tired and hungry, but he was persistent so we ended up deciding that I'd work with them on this project they had. It didn't work out though, I was so fresh back then, I didn't know anything about working professionally. It was quite a downer at first, that I lost a big name like that just cause I had a hard time adapting to the task. I was so used to just doing my thing you know?

To answer the question I'd say at first I did try get all sorts of jobs, and I did a bunch of jobs that I really didn't enjoy. But after a while i knew I wanted to get into Trading-Card Games (TCGs) and RPGs, so that's what i've been doing lately.

Right now i'm also getting into concept art, which is new and challenging!

Kaminski: Oh how fun! I love that you're so open to change.

That being said, I definitely followed suit, initially. When I first started out I had the potential to work with a big name game company that I certainly wasn't ready for, and so I declined the task. Looking back, I kinda wish I hadn't, but only you can know what you're capable of, you know?

As I've probably gone on about far too much in other interviews, I'm a HUGE fan of the Shadowrun universe and to this day, that's what reflects my need to draw so much cyberpunk and dark fantasy. 

Rosenborg: Yeah it makes a ton of sense, I guess you're ready when you're ready. I've turned down stuff before too cause I haven't felt ready or that it wasn't my area of expertise. I like to pick up jobs that i know I can handle.

Kaminski: So then, I have to ask: What influenced your dive into game art? Was it also that you played lots of RPGs and things? Were you hoarding RPG and card games much like I was in my youth? Lastly, were there any specific artists or game worlds that ultimately drove you forward?

Rosenborg: It was definitely RPGs, magic, some Swedish RPGs, computer games, Baldur’s Gate was a big one. All of these combined, it was just so imaginative. I remember, and sometimes still do to this day, the feel that the world is gray and dull in comparison to what a fantasy setting is. I often find myself trying to find some signs of real world magic! But in the long run, I want to make my own thing. I've been working for two years or so on my own fantasy setting with some friends, it will be a table top RPG and I am super hyped about it! I've always had a hard time restraining myself, I just really want to tell everyone about everything that i've made with it so far but I'm gonna keep it until it's finished enough to be showcased. 

The artist that has had the biggest influence me from the start and still to this day is Paul Bonner, just looking at his art has given me so many things. When I first saw a piece of his I was like, "how the fuck do you do that", and so that's been my constant pursuit too. Seeing his art has also made me believe in my ideas, that my imagination can turn into something, I don't always have to adapt and fall in line with what everybody else is doing. Which has been extremely valuable. Over the years I've of course picked up on other artists whose work I just love, like: Jesper Ejsing, Even Amundsen, Alex Konstad, Mike Azevedo etc!

Kaminski: Switching gears: when you first started out, what kind of training did you have initially? Are you professionally trained or did you learn as you went? Also: What medias are you favorite and why?

Rosenborg: At first it was all pencil drawings, which I've been trying to keep sharp up until today. I like to somehow stay in touch with the traditional mediums so I draw and ink some when I have time for it. It started out with a one year art school, where we got to try EVERYTHING! Sculpture, pottery, painting, etc., etc. That's where I grew the most in a short period of time I'd say. After that, I did three years at Uni - game design and computer graphics - there was a lot of 3D so I spent most of my free time doing 2D art. At first, I really didn't study too much; I've always observed a lot while being outside or around people to try to figure things out. But to actively study, I haven't done much at all. Some life drawing and anatomy through a course last summer. I've learned most through observation and just massive amounts of work! Being keen to figure things out and occasionally using reference! Correct anatomy, light, material, etc., aren't my main focus most of the time.

If it looks cool and believable i'm content!

Kaminski: I can see that your pencil work has a heavy influence on you, especially with the amount of detail your ink work has in it. Sidebar question, but do you do Inktober yearly? Or even Month of Fear?

Rosenborg: HAHA, noo... I try to, but I can never commit!

Kaminski: Hah, I agree. Something that has worked for me in the past is to find a theme and then start poking people to join in! Of course... mine usually are some sort of blend between cyberpunk and horror, but, well...

Rosenborg: Hmmm... like sci-fi or something?

Kaminski: It'd be a little more abstract than that, but yeah, pretty much.

Something like, "Pick a genre and research some material that could be in that and then adapt that to it." This is how, oddly enough, the Robo-Junicorn theme popped up out of nowhere for a project I worked on!

As far as media and creativity goes, it's amazing how many of us go through the trials of trying everything out before we decide what works or what doesn't. It took me awhile to decide that animation and posable figure sculpting was most definitely NOT my thing.

In that vein, are there any medias that you're simply not comfortable with? Do you have any stories about a project that you started that was an absolute flop because the materials just weren't in your wheelhouse or you just kind of thought midway through 'DAMN, this just isn't working'?

Rosenborg: Hmm... not really, this whole time I've been kind of set on doing 2D. Drawing, painting etc., so I've always dealt with any professional assignment with 2D. I have had assignments in school that involved 3D and 3D-animation which are areas where I am not at all comfortable! I've always been like "If I do what i love and get good at it people will hire me for it". So I've always just kept at it with 2D, painted textures, etc. - no photo bashing. That's just what i simply love and feel comfortable with!

Kaminski: Sounds like you and I have the same mentality when it comes to painting. I'm not against using whatever you want to get the end result, but I know personally that I can't find any solace in photo bashing and using texture overlays and things. Hell, these days I barely even use the blender brush (much to some people's dismay).

Rosenborg: Same here! All these options confuse me more then help me, to be honest. I mostly use one brush and just paint really.

Kaminski: Nothing wrong with that!

Rosenborg: But like you said! I don't mind at all what others use, I can see the point in using all of it.

Kaminski: It seems like you really push your work using techniques leveled up during traditional media use.

Rosenborg: Like what, for example?

Kaminski: Your work reminds me of the illustrations that I used to see frequently in fantasy game books - like watercolor and ink and things.

(Henrik's piece on the LEFT, Kojima's work on the RIGHT)

Maybe the best comparison might be similar to Ayami Kojima.

Do you have any projects that aren't under any sort of NDA or anything that you'd like to promote? These can be personal, or otherwise.

Rosenborg: I'm gonna mention two projects here that I am really keen on, one personal and one for a client. First off, I'm gonna mention the monster book I am working on for a litrpg book series called Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko. Working with Luke is incredible, he's such an easy going guy, he's written this wonderful world that you just get lost in, it's so imaginative and it has this classic fantasy feel that i love. We throw ideas back and forth, he's letting me be a part of the decision making and it's a project I work on in-between other gigs. I simply do this because I want to take my time, I want to think, I want to doodle, i want to try before settling on something. Working with a person who's down with this is incredibly inspiring and joyful.

Secondly, I'm gonna mention my own passion project Ö (Swedish letter for some flavor). It started with me being in need of a home for all the weird creatures I was sketching. I started making up stories about them, but I kept forgetting a lot of the ideas I came up with. So one day I started a word document and wrote down one sentence about each idea, just to not forgot about it. It was a whole lot of weirdness, but it felt fun and crazy, just how I like a fantasy world to be. When I had thirty-five pages of one-line ideas, I felt like I should do something with it and so I started shaping it into Ö. Today we're five people working on it and what I can tell is this: it'll be a table top RPG, it'll be post-apocalyptic high-fantasy, there'll be a lot of darkness, you'll feel small and confused a lot. It's just one of those worlds I barely understand sometimes, but has a level of complexity and madness that I personally love.

Kaminski: What goals do you have for the immediate? And long term?

(WIP shot for a current project)

Rosenborg: For now it's all about stability for me: finding a balanced life, getting routines. I've worked hard for a long time and unfortunately had a pretty major crash about a year ago that I am still recovering from! Also, to just have fun and actually have a life outside of art. I easily get obsessed and burn out so I'm still trying to find a balance!
For long-term, the biggest thing I can think of is getting the ball rolling with Ö, and of course pursue some other career goals, like I'd love to work on something Blizzard related!

Kaminski: And to see you rebound as you have? Inspiring!

Rosenborg: Thanks man! It was a grim time.

Kaminski: Those serious downs with art can be intense, I never wish them upon anyone. I actually went through one myself for the earlier half of this year.

That being said though, I don’t want to dredge that up for you as it can be hard to break that feeling.
For the most part, I like to help people through hard times such as those!

And on that note: I think, especially with the cover, that Ö looks like an incredibly rewarding project!

Rosenborg: Oh i don't mind talking about it, ever, I decided to be super open with it. I talk about it a lot. I don't think suppressing it helps at all!

Kaminski: I agree! Good to know that your in the same mindset as me. Some people feel the opposite whilst I think talking about issues really helps to get them off your chest and breaks a cycle. Kind of like a big release!

Rosenborg: Yeaah man, helps you process them! Cause I don't think that these problems ever go away so, better learn how to live with them right?

Kaminski: And lastly: what's the best piece of advice you can give to upcoming artists OR what's the best piece of advice you've received this far as an artist?

Rosenborg: For me it has always been simple: Have fun! Fun is such an endless force of motivation and energy, if you feel like you're doing something fun it's easy to keep going. That's always been the lead motivator for me at least, just painting stuff that I enjoy and eventually I started getting paid for it and now it's my full-time job. Cause I got good at what I loved doing! So: Have fun, believe in your designs but also take a hard look at your work now and then and see what can be improved. Lastly, surround yourself with great friends and grow together.

Kaminski: I love the idea of collaboration! I think all artists should jump on the bandwagon!
I have to say, your interview was great! Thanks for joining in!


Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Henrik Rosenborg.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Henrik's work at:

If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.

Today we'll be interviewing John Martin.

Kaminski: Morning John, let's dive right in! What's the reason you got into creativity? Did you have anything that ultimately led you down this path?

Martin: Comics. It's the first thing I saw and was like "wow" I want to do stuff like this. I tried to draw what artists like Jim Lee and Marc Slivestri were drawing (at the time they were at Marvel). It showed me that it was a huge part of my soul (I didn't realize this until after I got older).

Kaminski: I hear that! Comics are an amazing transcendence between writer and artist. And each goes hand-in-hand. Do you find certain techniques that apply specifically to doing comic art? Or even certain supplies that seem to work best for comic work? Basically, what's the comic palette like typically for a John?

Martin: I don't think there is a  certain technique that just applied to comic art, or any art for that matter. It can all be used if your creative enough. Supplies? Everything from the pencil to a paint brush. It can all be used. As for my palette it's still evolving and growing as I learn and experiment more.

Kaminski: There are certain supplies that I have like a mental block for. For example, Oil Paint eludes me for the sheer fact that it's like a mathematical problem or chemistry problem trying to make sure that everything lays in properly...

Martin: The only block I have on supplies is a financial one. The moment I can hurdle it, I'm trying it. And I know I'm going to make some really bad pieces when I try a media for the first time, but I know I'm going to learn a lot of what not to do.

The only block I have on supplies is a financial one.

Kaminski: Yeah! My fear and my space holds me back.
Oil paint is my ultimate goal, but fuck it's expensive.

Martin: It would definitely have to be locked up somewhere so the animals can't mess with it, but the moment I get some I'm Bob Rossing the hell out of some paintings for a bit!

Kaminski: Gah! I can fully agree there!
On the fact of exhibiting your work, whereas galleries are for fine artists (typically), it seems to me like conventions are really a catch-all when it comes to artwork in general, but a great deal of them seem to cater specifically to comic book artists. That being said, what is your gauge on the con scene? I know you do them alongside me, but I'm sure you have a completely different view of them than I do. Do you have any horror stories or incredible stories that you've experienced via conventions?

Martin: I enjoy doing cons, but I think a lot of your big market cons are starting to get away from the artist/creators and going into more of the media and cosplay (not all, just some like SDCC, Wizard World, Fan Boy Expo). Art theft is on the rise at these cons, also. 
I don't think I've had an experience at a con that can be classified as my worst even though I've had a couple bad experiences, but they have been quite out weighed by the great experiences and the people I've gotten to meet.

Kaminski: Well, as we've seen from personal experience, it appears as though celebrity watching is a real thing. For example, I've been to shows where we didn't sell a single thing, and yet the celebrity lines were packed all day long. It has the potential, to me at least, to be slightly disheartening.
On the flip side though, the folks that I do meet and greet at shows really put themselves out there and have very meaningful, incredible conversations. It's always amazing when a fledgling artist comes up with questions and their face lights up when you can give them the exact advice they were looking for.
Switching gears: I know you do a lot of ink work, especially working as a comic inker. What's your favorite thing about working with inks? What kind of advice could you give someone just starting out? Do you have any preference for a supply that you use?

Martin: Well I realized that my pencil work wasn't strong enough to do a book, so I went on to inking which I found out is harder than it looks. Even now I look at something and go, "how did they do that?!" I've come to love adding that extra dimension to a page as well as a bit of myself to it. 

Advice I'd give someone starting out? It's not as easy as it looks and start with a brush and not tech pens. Pens will hold you back. Also, be willing to do what the penciler is scared to do (advice that was given to me from Aldrin Aw), and the last bit of advice is don't take critiques personally. They are to help you get better no matter how harsh they can be. 

My supplies is normally my Pentel pocket brush, Pigma small brush, Faber Castel super brush, Raphael sable Rd #2, Hunt 102 nibs, and Sumi ink for pages. I use tech pens with brush pens for con sketches.

Kaminski: Man! That's cool, and also good to know! I use a brush marker myself and the strokes are amazing - especially when doing hair.
Do you have any projects you'd like to promote OR personal work that you're exceptionally proud of that you'd like to talk about?

Martin: I'm currently looking for new projects. There is also the 901 Anthology that should be out soon, which has the short story that Mitch Foust and I did (his pencils and my inks).  There are more projects in the future that I can't talk about right now, but I'm very excited about.

Kaminski: I'm glad to hear that your prospects and leads are really moving forward! That's super cool and I'm glad for you rockin it out!
I always hear people go on about how it's all about putting yourself out there. How did you manage to get connected to these artists to collaborate? Was it just something that happened naturally or did you have to go out of your way for it?


Martin: It's networking and working the field. Social media has been a great help when it comes to that. I've been able to get advice from some pretty big names in the industry. Sometimes some one will say that some one is looking for such and such and then I send what I've got and hope for the best. I also try and look out for work for other artists as well. If I see something that I know someone would be great for I pass it along. I think I've only been approached by one person about working together (Mitch Foust), I've gone after the others.
Cons are a great help with networking also.

Kaminski: That's GREAT! I think that the artist interdependence is a great tactic to get people to come back and forth.

Martin: I think the big companies are beginning to see that as well. There aren't as many exclusive working contracts anymore.

Kaminski: With working as hard as you do, you ever find yourself dealing with burnout? And if so, what kind of strategies do you use to cope with it?

Martin: Actually I don't. Sometimes I just have so much I want to do that I can't decide what to do first. And most of the people I befriend on social media over the last couple of years are artists as well, so I always see something new or different. I've even found out that I had been fans of a couple of them for years and didn't even know it. I also look through reference material pretty often and see what will make me go, "oh that would be perfect for this" and then knock it out. I try not to get in that hole or burnout because all it will do is make it harder to reach the end goal.

Kaminski: Man, I wish I could say the same, but sometimes my confidence and things wanes.

Martin: My confidence is fragile at times too, but I just try to remember the end game.

My confidence is fragile at times too, but I just try to remember the end game.

Kaminski: And for the final two questions: what goals do you have for the immediate? And long term?

Martin: Well, the immediate goals for the next year (I make them birthday to birthday because that's when I normally reflect) is to finish writing this mini series I had an idea for, get some cover work, and to ink a few books. Long term is to have a name in the industry and work on books that I've grown up loving. To work on games that I grew up playing, and to show my kids that dreams are goals if you apply a bit of focus and determination.

Kaminski: Lastly, what's the best piece of advice you've received or best piece of advice you can give to upcoming artists?

Martin: Best advice: ask questions and listen to industry pros. Befriend them if you can. As you grow and ask for advice, believe it or not, they will actually be watching. Be open to criticism as it's the catalyst to growth. And lastly, just get out of your own way and just draw. It doesn't matter what it is, just do it and try a new technique. You may be surprised on how natural it feels.

Kaminski: Great advice, and thanks John, for wanting to be a part of the interview series!


Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with John Martin.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of John's work at:

If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!



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