by Jeff Michelmann
SciFi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?
Jeff Michlmann: When it comes to traditional art, which I hardly do anymore, I mainly use pencils of all kind. Most of the time I’m sitting in front of Photoshop CS3 together with my Wacom Intuos3 A5.
SciFi Art Now: Why?
Jeff: I’d love to use Painter some time, but I never got my hands on it. But, then again, Photoshop is all I need — Photoshop and a Wacom, of course!
SciFi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?
Jeff: It all began with an online multi-player space simulator called Freelancer… Oh, it was classic…
SciFi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?
Jeff: The funny thing is, that it wasn’t advice that was given to me directly. I learned it through different ways like watching others paint, hearing their stories about life and so on. But the main thing that was stuck in my head for all these years, which I’ll never forget, is to never give up!
SciFi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?
Jeff: There are way too many. But the one artist that inspired me and helped me the most is Tobias Roetsch. We are big buddies, constantly helping each other out and inspiring one another.. without him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
Another big artist who majorly inspired me was is Bobby Chiu. His first video podcasts really helped me a lot in the past.
There are many more artists who inspired me in the past and still continue on inspiring me with their art — Greg Martin, Gary Tonge and Dylan Cole come into my mind, but there are lots more that I can’t add right here, as the list would go on forever.
SciFi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?
Jeff: Oh, science fiction is a brilliant genre! The best thing about it, is that you can go crazy with your ideas. However this applies to any other genre, of course, fantasy or surreal art for example. So, what I love about science fiction in particular, is the futuristic setting, which sets it apart from any other genre, in my opinion.
The combination of different genres is always icing on the cake. Surreal space art,.. Robots in a fantasy world.. That’s something that I haven’t seen that much of lately.
SciFi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?
Jeff: I really enjoyed working on my latest landscape scene called ‘First Sunshine‘. It took me a lot of time to complete that work, which I hardly even realised, as time just flew by.
|First_Sunshine by Jeff Michelmann
Working on my latest space art, ‘Polaris‘ was much fun, as well. It’s the second version of an old piece I created four years ago and I was able to see the progress I have made during that time by comparing both versions.
SciFi Art Now: In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?
Jeff: Well, not really. Except for the computer crashing on me once and for all out of the blue, but that’s happened to so many digital artists before, so it isn’t really bizarre anymore.
SciFi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?
Jeff: This is an easy one! My own mind and perception. It can’t be any more frustrating, when a project just won’t work out the way you want it to, and you constantly think that everything you try to paint is bad due to a temporary low.
SciFi Art Now: What keeps you going, despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?
Jeff: Every time this happens, I say to myself that this is only one more step to being a better artist. Every brush stroke I make, will help me on my way. After all, everyone has to start somewhere, and all I have to do is keep on practising — and keep on painting.
by Jeff Michelmann
SciFi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?
Jeff: I think this is rather obvious and very cliché, but.. don’t give up, practise makes perfect.
• To contact Jeff email him via j.michelmann
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.