What were your childhood inspirations and earliest artistic memory?
When I get my first comic album of Thorgal series I was 6 and I just loved that world created by Grzegorz RosiÅ„ski , shortly after that I boughtâ€"no my brother bought me because I was very underage thenâ€" another piece from that author, which was Schninkel, Iâ€™m not sure what the English title is. This was incredible, super fantastic, unreal, yet a very believable world and characters emotions, all created with such simple materials of ink, a brush and a pen. And I just wanted to do the same.
My aunt had been a painter too; every time we visited her I was looking at art albums of some super famous polish painters like Gierymski, Malczewski or Chelmonski â€" all very dark, and full of trauma, but very realistic. Every painting Iâ€™ve been studying Iâ€™ve been trying to feel temperature and wind, or hear sounds or smell, so if I studied a winter scene with a pair of horses pulling sleds, I almost feel the cold air on my face and smell the steamy heavy breath of the horses struggling through the snow. All those painters were super talented but ...dead. That makes me think if I really want to be a talented painter whose paintings are printed in books like that, Iâ€™d died alone. So I saw comics as more promising route!
What training have you had (if any)?
You think it is possible to be just supernaturally talented without any of practicing? Donâ€™t believe in that! Talent is something closer to mind, it is your ability to name a color you see or divide complex objects into simple solid cubes and spheres etc. Now to draw all that or paint it you need a hand, and that means training your bones and muscles. So I did. For many years Iâ€™ve only been dreaming about being a comic artist, but Iâ€™d still be drawing all the time, not landscapes and poses, but I â€˜d draw battles, airplanes, lots of tanks and sticks soldiers, with lot of fire and smoke!
At about fifteen or sixteen years old, when I dropped the idea of going to study informatics and being a software engineer, I decided to go to art academy. I started my anatomy drawings, I had this XIX German book with lots of dead people in, but next to body parts there were wooden models of them or simple drawings showing how everything works. Later I got to private lessons, practicing large formats, different types of media, and speed painting, which was one of the key skills needed to pass the art academy exam. This involved painting an entire canvas in only three hours, so you start with a simple color composition, and if for some reason you need to end the painting at this moment you have a finished abstract painting, and if you still had time, you add some lights and details, and so on. Your work should be finished at any stage of progress.
I worked very hard at this time, but all that was not enough to get into art academy, so I turned to architecture and I got through without problems, as large format training and time limited drawings paid off!
Are there any particular schools or courses that youâ€™d recommend?
Not in particular, I can only recommend in general going to some of those artistic schools, with live pose studies, clay sculpting, composition, geometry , and perspective drawing etc. Architecture has that very high design factor, to which you may become a very good character or environments designer; a concept artist. While art academies are more about practicing your eye and hand to perfection, which is good also, but then they are pushing you into being an artist! Try to find a good combination of the two; good design and technical drawing, then master them to perfection. The most important thing is to know why you need those.