Have you always been and wanted to be an illustrator?
When I went to school the main thing was being a ‘Graphic Designer’ and at that time they had everyone take ‘Illustration’ class. I’ve always drawn so that was always a creative bentIeasily gravitated towards. When I graduated I didn’t think of myself as an ‘Illustrator’. As I continued to work I’d come across projects needing an illustrative approach and I’d just do it myself. So over the years my approach to design is such that I not call myself an ‘Illustrative Designer’. When I illustrate I am making design decisions and when I design I am using an illustrative approach. The two are so fused together for me it’s hard to separate them in terms of my creative process.
I’ve always known I’d be doing something artistic when I grew up though. Anything artistic was a touch point of curiosity for me as a kid. Being able to sit down and create something was a form of escape for me. Many days I’d stay in my room and just create stuff from house hold items like boxes, foil, tape, an old motor from a discarded toy and then when I was done I’d have a cool looking robot. Pop culture had a huge influence on me too, drawing what I saw in Saturday morning cartoons, MAD Magazine and the art on my parents RCA LP’s which were done by Jim Flora really rooted my desire to be an artist. It would however take me about 20 years to figure out how much those various sources of inspiration really shaped who I am now.
How did www.illustrationclass.com come about?
I teach digital illustration at the local college visual communications program here in Salem Oregon. It’s one day a week but it’s a whole lot of fun. It lead me to create an illustration tutorial site at: www.illustrationclass.com where I post easy step by step creative processes through various projects or methods I use. Also on the site is shared creative processes by many other illustrators in our industry. Since launching it 5 months ago we’ve had over 75,000 unique visitors and many teachers across the nation are using the downloads in their class environment so that is very cool.
Apart from illustration what other things are you into?
I really enjoy photography. Specifically capturing textures. I pitched a design book to HOW Books in 2006 and it got selected to be published. So in June of 2007 my first authored book called ‘Crumble, Crackle & Burn – 60 Stunning Textures for Design and Illustration’ will be released. Each of the ’60’ spreads in the book feature the raw texture then a piece of artwork utilizing that texture. I worked with ’55’ artists to create the artwork for the book and assigned each a specific texture to use. The book comes with a DVD and each texture is provided as a hi-res bitmap tiff and layered PSD file. It’ll be a good source of inspiration and resource for creatives whether illustrative or design.
I also love to doodle. I save all my doodles and then archive them in binders. I like to combine my photography with my doodles too and create low-tech animation.
Who are your favourite artists/illustrators alive today?
Pretty much everyone at Drawger
My tastes are in constant flux and I enjoy browsing new work all the time but these five I really enjoy on a regular basis.
Have you ever considered moving into Fine Art?
I enjoy painting and have done a few over the years but nothing for a commercial use it’s purely for personal enjoyment. I have a style I like to work in called my ‘Doodle Style’ which tends to be more art driven rather then commercially driven. I’ve had these ran out in large format on a canvas substrate and framed and have them hanging in my studio. Everyone who sees them comments on them and asks about how they’d get some but until the stigma of ‘Digital’ is reduced in the minds of gallery owners it’ll be hard to sell them on a show in this format? I may be wrong but that is the attitude here locally. I think in NY and elsewhere it’s far more acceptable though so I might pursuit more at some point but now I am content in just entertaining myself.
Are you involved in any collaborative projects at the moment and is there anyone you would like to work with?
I enjoy collaborating in online art projects. A few recent ones are:
Out side of these type of collaborative projects I’ve always wanted to illustrate a children’s book so I’d love to team up with a writer. I have had a story idea for years but have never done anything with it. I am always open to collaborate though.
Another business relationship I have which I would also consider a collaborative effort is with a printer I use. I run ideas by them and get them on board and we both benefit. I create and come up with the ideas they produces them at a discounted rate and we both benefit from the exposure. Most artists I find are bad at marketing and all though I loathe most marketing people I’ve worked with enough to know its very important so I spent the time it takes to market my work well so it has the best chance of surviving in a very competitive marketplace.
I am also very fortunate to be serving as a board member for ICON5 (The Illustration Conference) so I am excited to be helping to shape the next national conference for illustrators. Can’t announce where the next conference will be yet but if you book mark http://www.theillustrationconference.org you’ll be able to find out where the 2008 conference will be in January.
What’s next in the pipeline for Von Glitschka?
Well the biggest thing for me now is my own self-published and manufactured product called ‘Keyboard Characters’. By the time this interview is posted the site should be launched. www.keyboard-characters.com Unique limited edition art for the work environment. I’ve been working on this for a year now so I am excited to see it finally launch and I think people will enjoy them. I am already brain storming other sets and themes to do and will be offering it as a customized service too.
At some point I’d love to design some vinyl toys but I haven’t been able to make any contacts yet. I may just end up producing them on my own because I do have contacts with manufactures in China I’ve used on other things who could hand it. Another idea I’ve been working on is skipping the whole vinyl craze and focusing on lower-tech collectible toys but that is all I’ll say about that at this time.
Another thing I can talk about is art prints. Once again teaming up with a printer and producing my own set of themed art prints will be one goal for the coming year.
OK, heres one idea that is a little out there but would be a kick. I’ve been wanting to design my own fabric patterns, have the fabric printed then get some custom lounge style shirts made from it. Not to sell just for myself. Do some really crazy designs on it too.
Bob Staake: The guy is a machine and his work is just fun to look at very prolific too. Mattias Adolfsson: Just a whole lot of fun. – Keith Bowman: His work is just a great example of not only good art but also good humor.
Shag or Coop?
I’ll probably catch major flack for saying this but I’ll have to pick Coop because it just take more raw skill to pull off his art. I love Shag but it’s time to move on from Tiki’s, Martini’s and Retro-Hip already. But to be fair I think Coop could expand his offering instead of doing another devilishly good looking chick. Maybe try some angelic hotties? Great now I’ll probably piss off everyone. LOL
The Addams Family or The Munsters?
The Munsters. Mainly because of their car. I am a huge fan of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth so those type of cars will always play a factor.
You can see more of Von Glitschka’s work at