Today marks my tenth year with CGSociety. Over that decade, I’ve had the honor to meet the cream of the digital arts crop. One of the first artists I idolised was Steven Stahlberg.
This 3D master has been a part of CGSociety basically since it began, not only by posting his incredible art, but also mentoring artists, being a forum leader, judging challenges and Ballistic books and being a CGWorkshop instructor for some of our all-time most popular courses.
Fairy And Snake. Cover of EXPOSÉ 1
It was a joy to chat with him about what he’s been up to.
Let’s go way back. Where were your born and raised? Where are you now? What sparked your interest in digital art?
Born in Australia, raised in Sweden. I have lived in a bunch of places like Hong Kong and America (I think I've moved 31 times). Now I'm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I became interested in digital art before it existed, from reading science fiction about computers making images and animations. (I was already into art, since I could hold a crayon, just not digital.) As soon as I got the chance, I entered the digital field.
What are you doing these days?
Now I'm a lead artist at Streamline Studios in KL, we do full-service outsourcing for AAA games. I work both with concepts and with 3D, mostly on the character side but sometimes environments and props too.
What are some of the projects you have worked on?
Elder Scrolls Online, Phantom Dust, EVE Online, World of Darkness,
further back Id, Chris Roberts, an animated movie about Anne Frank, Need for Speed, Sims, Tabula Rasa
, many others.
You have been part of CGSociety basically since it began. How has CGSociety helped your career and personal growth? What kind of personal and professional relationships have you developed?
It has helped me so much, it's hard to know where to begin. It was the first big forum I posted art in, and as such comments and crits kept me fired up and always trying to improve.
Secondly, helping others you always learn something yourself, every artwork you look at trying to C&C it, you train your eye and your brain to see what's wrong and what to do about it. It's like any training, you don't notice the improvement at first but in time it's there. And this personal growth has of course fed into my career. And of course clients and employers have seen my work on CGTalk, which has led to a lot of jobs, both freelance and fulltime.
As for relationships, I've developed many, mostly from people I've helped, who have later gone on to bigger things, but they still remember me and still keep in touch.
What’s the most important tool you use?
Photoshop at the moment. I do a bit less 3D now, more 2D.
Whose work (both past and present) do you really admire and why?
Frazetta of course, for his effortless mastery of color and anatomy - even though it's often fake anatomy, it actually looks better than real! No one else has ever really pulled that off.
Hergé, for his mastery of the ligne Claire (Ed. French for "clear line" - a style of drawing pioneered by Hergé, the Belgian creator of The Adventures of Tintin. It uses clear strong lines all of the same width and no hatching, while contrast is downplayed as well) and story telling.
Moebius, just an amazing artist and person.
Roger Dean, Chris Foss, Carlos Gimenez, Katsuya Terada, Craig Mullins, Kim Jung Gi, Spider Zero, so much art, so little time...
What do you like to do away from the computer?
When I lived in America I used to compete in target shooting, but you can't do that in KL so now I just go to the gym.
Lasik Surgery the hard way
Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting, that you can tell us about?
Right now I'm working on an image of Caitlyn from League of Legends, reimagined as a Japanese school girl, and Miley Cyrus reimagined as Harley Quinn. I'm making narrated videos of the process also. And of course every month I try to make a few more pages of my graphic novel, Android Blues
Android Blues page 9
Miley Cyrus reimagined as Harley Quinn sketch