Friday, May 4, 2007




Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

I’m Austrian, in other words, I’m from the small mountainous country sandwiched between Germany and Italy, right beside Switzerland. I have a multi-faceted background in fine arts, as well as in history of art and German philology on schools in Austria and the UK. In addition, I’ve had the chance to meet the great Ken Southworth at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts where I joined a course programme on classical hand-drawn animation. He became my hero, right away.

Apart from that, I owe my father part of my fascination concerning drawing. As an architect he explained different aspects such as perspectives etc. when I was still very, very young. As a child I very much enjoyed these precious moments of “enlightenment”.

How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end? (Please be very detailed and in depth with this question)

Well, before starting with the actual design I always do a lot of research. Even if sometimes I find it rather easy to design a new character which literally seems to be jumping out of my pencil I rather stick to the rule “think before you draw”. That helps me to get a more detailed idea of the character.

Technically speaking, I start drawing small sketches and silhouettes of the character I am aiming at. This is usually just a general orientation for me. Then I continue with more detailed sketches using the final scale. At this stadium the challenge is to make sure that none of their dynamic features get lost using a blue col-erase pencil, by the way. Finally, I use an ordinary mechanical pencil to finish the drawing and to outline the shapes.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

A typical day is not really PR, shaking hands, lobbying and visiting prime ministers but rather a day spent at my animation desk focusing on both drawing and writing but also giving lectures on special occasions. I work with my creative team of Satzinger & Hardenberg.

What are some of the things that you have worked on? (Books, Movies, Games, Comics)

I have created e.g. the “Rookie Bulls” for Red Bull, the “Autumnland” characters for Bahlsen, the “Christmas Goblins” for Pressehaus, “Tim Tao” for Thelen & Thelen Entertainment, the game- and character design for “Urban Troll” and “Santa Elk And The Crazy Stars”. I have also worked on “Looney Tunes” and “Pinky and Brain” magazine covers and posters for Warner Bros. Worldwide Publishing and various concept artwork for Story & Co, Sat1, Dino Entertaiment, JoWooD, Ubisoft just to mention a few.

Is there a design you have done that you are most proud of?


What projects have you done in the past, and what are you working on now? (if you can tell us).

At present, I am working on a merchandising theme titled StarDucks and on the development of a TV-cartoon series on behalf of a major international client. I can't tell you much about that, not because it is "so secret", but it is on a very early stage.

Who do you think are the top artists out there?

There are a great many top artists in Germany (like Oliver Kurth or Thorsten Kiecker just to mention two of them) and Austria.

On the international scale there is a never-ending list starting with Bruno Bozzetto, Stephen Hillenburg, Giorgio Cavazzano, Peter DeSeve, H.B. Lewis, Genndy Tartakovsky, John Kricfalusi, Martin Wittig, Stephen Silver, Uli Meyer and the like. The creative magicians at Blue Sky (Jake Parker, etc.), Disney (John Nevarez, etc.), Pixar (Ronnie Del Carmen), Avalanche (Ryan Wood, S.T. Lewis, etc.), Dreamworks (Jakob Jensen etc.) and so forth…

But my personal hero was, is and will always be the great, the only, the wonderful Ken Southworth.

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

First and foremost I use blue and red col-erase pencils, common mechanical pencils and Photoshop. Oh, and a wacom tablet, of course. The way I colour the characters in Photoshop varies. What I really appreciate about Photoshop is the layer system, i.e. being able to work on characters with a transparent background. Usually I do not use any filters apart from the Impressionist.

What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?

Rough sketching is definitely most fun. The clean-up is not hard but less creative and therefore less fun.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

Reading books, writing, travelling the world with partner in life Laura, life drawing classes, drawing from nature courses, talking with other artists, talking with non-artist etc.

What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?

Favorite character designs?

Well, that's easy. Bruno Bozzetto’s Signor Rossi and Disney’s Donald Duck, Madame Mim and Merlin and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Dexter.

What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?

Ducks and dagons are what I often draw but in fact I enjoy drawing more or less everything: dragons, children, fairies, knights, goats, …

What inspired you to become an Artist?

The books by Roald Dahl, Runer Jonsson, Astrid Lindgren, Lewis Carol, Dr. Seuss, Tomi Ungerer, Christine Noestlinger, the comics by Andre Franquin, Don Bluth’s “The Secret of Nimh” and last but not least the Disney classics, of course. “The Sword In The Stone”, “101 Dalmatians”, “The Rescuers”, “Robin Hood”, etc. Watching them together with my grandmother Luise and my younger brother Valentin at the "Schubert Kino", a sort of children's cinema, here in my city, was one of the most significant factors in my childhood for wanting to become an artist. By the by, these movies don’t seem to automatically turn the whole audience into artists. My brother became a scientist in nano-technology and geosciences.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

Well, the artist I’ve learned the most from is Ken Southworth. Somehow he managed to teach me - without literally saying it - to see myself as a kind of reporter who observes his own characters and reports about what they do.

What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?

Animation Archive Blog, Cartoon Modern, Cartoon Brew, Kaliber 10000, Drawn.

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

Keep your eyes open, think before you draw and practice, practice, practice.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

Not yet, but maybe next year.