Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Monheim, near Düsseldorf in Germany, and I always wanted to draw. No matter if I was inspired by children’s books, television or other media, every time I had some crayons and a white piece of paper, I was there drawing characters. I was an happy child.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I never attended an art school, and basically I have learned all I know by just drawing every day (especially by watching other artists online) and I have improved a lot during my time working in an animation studio in Berlin.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
Yeah, it has been a great challenge to get where I am now. My parents always supported me, but back in the days all my friends, teachers and colleagues use to tell me that being an artist was.. kind of an unprofitable job, to put it mildly. Now even my parents are surprised that I can live from drawing every day as a freelance artist.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
I have to say it has always been Disney, and I was especially inspired by The Lion King.
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
When I was about 5 years old I was pretty sure that I had drawn everything there is to draw: houses, rainbows, family, horses.. and I was very bored! Nowadays I really love drawing animals, I am not really sure why. They are much interesting to draw than humans I think, and I love to explore this subject every day. The same animal can look different every day, that's character design.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you are designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
Sure, I google some references such as animals, anatomy and then I sketch some thumbnails and then I start to color the best one very quickly, which then turns to be the base for the final drawing. I always listening to music while drawing, it's just so much easier and more fun!
What is your process in colouring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I am using Photoshop and start with areas of colors to get the proportions right. Then I start with some outlines or hairs etc.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
I think its both the part of finding the best shape and the right expression. This is the most important and the most difficult part. I am just so happy when the silhouette works and the expression of the character fits!
Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
Well, all the designs I have done are the "Best of the Day" so to speak, so I am always happy and a bit proud at the end of the day, but 24 hours after I look back at them again, and I think: "Oh no, I could have done better". I really think all artists know this feeling :-D
What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I don’t know why, but until my internship in an animation studio in Berlin back in 2009, I had no idea that there were jobs for TV series were illustration was required, I honestly thought you could only work as a children’s book illustrator and that was pretty much the only kind of jobs out there. Right now I am working on several children's books, illustrations for magazines and at the beginning of 2017 I have been invited to do some character designs for a feature film project. Looking really forward to do this!
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
I have to say my dream is still doing character design, no matter for what company. I love working on children's books, but character design is still my favorite part!
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
Keep on creating. Listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts and just let go. Don’t spend too much time on Pinterest and other peoples blogs and see what you can’t do. Do what you can do. Your work will improve by just drawing every day. Have fun!
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there are lots of choices. When you’re young, sometimes you know only one thing: you love to draw. What should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
This sounds cheesy, but really: Listen to your heart. Do what you love and this would be the best choice. By the way I don’t think you have to hurry to decide between this choice, there are a lot of artists out there doing comics AND animation, for example.
Many art teachers and schools suggest to their students that a commercial artist should always work in one consistent style if they wish to have a healthy career. In your own experience, do you believe this to be true?
Yeah, I guess this is kind of true. You will get your own style after some years anyway and this will be the special aspect of your work clients love or hate.
What’s your point of view about the industry today: what are the expectation for someone who wants to make a living with an artistic career?
There are millions of artists out there and they are all so much better than you and me. But this is totally ok and fine. Never give up by seeing other peoples art. Get inspired and start working in your style. If you want to be an artist, be one and always have fun. Everyone looking at your drawings will see if you had fun while designing ;-)
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
My favorite artists haven’t changed since the last 5 years, they are still: Uli Meyer (all characters and every single sketch!), Torsten Schrank (the character design is just so cool!), Carter Goodrich (character design!) , Sascha Wüstefeld (world best stroke of the brush), Isabella Mazzanti (her drawings are so beautiful) and I still love the art of Wolf Erlbruch.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can find my work on my Tumblr ( wiebkerauers.tumblr.com ), or get directly in touch with me via email at ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Thank you Wiebke :)