Last week I had the pleasure to interview Suzanne Helmigh, an awesome digital artist from Sweden, who was kind enough to share her thoughts and her story with me. She is an inspiring person and I would like to thank her for taking the time to answer my questions, and sharing some insight into her life as an artist.
You can read the interview below
When did you start your journey as an artist, and what led you on this path?
Just like most artists I’ve always been drawing as a kid. I would bring some pencils and a sketchbook with me everywhere, the zoo, the circus relatives. When I look at old photo’s you’ll always see me drawing or investigating objects. Yet I always wanted to make stories, doesn’t matter what medium, so I went to do film school. In my graduation year I got to know about concept art for films as well as for games and everything changed for me. Suddenly my love for drawing and my love for creating stories could be mixed into one element, concept art. After my graduation in 2010 I went to draw full time. Pretty soon I started working for mobile developers and now bigger studios. Every day is about getting better at portraying my ideas and all the techniques that come with it. I am working on an artbook called Caldyra, something I can put my whole heart and soul in, come check it out sometime.
I think that you would certainly agree that there is a lot of digital art work currently on the market these days, how do you differentiate yours from the rest?What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
That is a big thing and it’s not easy. I think most artists try to paint what they like while also trying to be original. My idea is to let go of what other people want to see and really look into yourself and paint what you want to see. This way everyone can find their unique style or world.
What do you think is the most challenging part about being a digital artist?
I think the most challenging about being a digital artist is the prejudice some people still have about it. Saying it’s less artistic if it’s not real paint or when you use photo elements. To me art is art doesn’t matter what medium, it’s about expression yourself and telling a story or portraying a feeling. I wish more people were open minded like that, perhaps that way they will find it easier to express themselves too.
How do you promote yourself?
I’m active on the biggest art communities mostly trying to help other artists. I don’t work much on promoting my art, but promoting my ideals on how an artistic community should unite and work together.
What’s the most valuable art advice you’ve ever received?
Becoming good at art takes time, there is no quick way to it, just work really hard and enjoy the process.
Do you use any traditional mediums? Which are your favorites?
Just like when I was a kid I carry a sketchbook with me everywhere. Occasionally I like to play around with watercolor, oils, inks, charcoal or clay.
I know that you are currently working on your personal project “Caldyra”. What is it about? Could you share a few words on it? Also, what inspired you to start a personal project?
When you work in a game studio you spend most of your time working on other people’s ideas that you try to interpret y
our own way. I really wanted to be able to disconnect my art from work from time to time and have it be something like a hobby. It gives you so much freedom if you create art as a hobby project instead of something commercial.
About the story:
In this fantasy world, the human race used to be a highly ranked species when they harvested magical enhancement leaves from the Caldyra tree. But the human race grew so greedy, they killed all the trees to gain their magical powers… leaving them without any magic at all. A long war took place as now other magical species took control and killed off more than half of the human race and enslaving half of what was left. 40 years later a young freeborn girl called Ninae, working in her family’s Inn in one of the last human controlled cities decides to go on a journal to find out if there is any of the Caldyra trees left so she can save her city from destruction. The city’s supportive magical shield grows weaker and weaker and is about to evaporate leaving it’s citizens exposed to the dangerous outside world. She will be accompanied by a brave Fennec fox and Mercenary outlaw Boris. On their journey they find a mystical baby creature that keeps following them, not knowing that this creature is a one out of 2 most highly magical beings and haunted by every magical harvester from every corner of the land. This brings the companionship in all sorts of trouble in all sorts of places. They will encounter scary cannibals who enslave and eat humans, mystical creatures from beyond, marvelous creatures of the swamps and the beautiful creatures from the deep forest. Will they ever discover what happened to the last Caldyra trees? Will they be able to save human kind from it’s inevitable destruction?
(more of the story will be revealed over time.)
I am a compulsive reader of art books and non¬fiction. Could you share some of your favorite art books, or some of your favorite books in general?
The art of God of war ascension. The art of Uncharted, the art of the last of us. The skillful huntsman. The art of Daarken. Color & Light by James Gurney. I’ve got so many more I love and I’m sure more will follow!
What is an average Tuesday like in the life of Suzanne Helmigh?
Tuesday? That’s random. Right this moment as a freelancer (which will surely change soon) I get up at 8 start working at 8:30, doing studies, working on Caldyra and client work. This doesn’t stop till late in the evening. I often go outside to the sea or walk in the park see a movie in the cinema hang out with friends, like any other normal human being. I should really start working out more though….
Who are your role models, could you name three persons — dead or alive — who inspire you, or significantly influenced your life?
Frank Frazetta. The movement and power in his characters is simply amazing. His artwork inspired me as a kid and still does up to this day. Titus Lunter. I got to know him when I just started out doing concept art. He has taught me a lot and helped me through difficult times. I love him and he is an amazing artist! The art community. The kindness and supportive attitude my my art friends who always believe in me and help me grow into a better artist.
I would like to thank Suzanne again for this interview, and if you would like to see more of her work, you can check out herDeviantArt page here
You can follow her on Twitter @ SHelmigh
Also, please like and support Caldrya @ https://www.facebook.com/Caldyra