Wolfworld (Arik Roper) (US)
Moebius, Druillet, those french names may not sound familiar to you poster lovers, but, for me, it is both a good surprise and an honor that talented artists such as Arik drop their names as influences.Yes, you can feel european cartoonist influences in Arik's work and maybe is this the reason why I find his work so unique and beautiful. once again, I regret that the interview is not long enough to display all the art Arik sent me with his answers, so, you begin to know that, check his site !!!
Agitation Free, Pink Floyd, Om, Peter Green, Melvins
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I live in New York City. I do freelance illustration for various clients. I do a lot of album cover design, book illustration, poster illustration.. any illustration really. I've somehow managed to make my hobby of drawing fantastic art into my career.
When did you start drawing?
When I was about 3 years old, and never stopped.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I did both. I think I've developed my abilities on my own, with great influence from other artists of course and some input from my parents who are artists, but not actual instruction on "how to draw". I did complete four years of art school at The School of Visual Arts in New York with a degree in Cartooning and Screenprinting, but I can't say that I learned many actual abilities or techniques, rather I was just exposed to new mediums and people. Like I said, I've always been drawing and practice is a big part of what makes a person good at anything. A lot of what I do is basically an evolved version of what I was drawing in the margins of my textbooks in terms of subject matter.
I make a living from it. Being able to make a living from doing my art feels like success regardless of whether it makes me wealthy or not. It gets me by and pays my bills and I stay busy with various clients. I've carved out something of a niche market for myself doing these albums covers and posters, although I can wok in different styles and mediums.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Nothing regularly right now.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
I've got many influences. I like some of the 70s comic artists like Berni Wrightson, William Stout and Jeff Jones to name a few. I also like Roger Dean, Philippe Druillet , Moebius and many of the others in the European wave of fantasy illustration. Pulp sci- fi book covers provide me with endless amounts of inspiration also.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
First is the idea generating phase in which i think about what I'm going to make, how it relates to whatever it's meant for, the composition etc. This step can take a while. Once I have the idea in mind I proceed to pencil sketches, first rough then more final and eventually to the inking process. After this I prefer to sit with it and take my time refining it and adding details.
I do everything by hand using pen and ink or watercolor mainly, unless it's a graphic logo or something that needs that vectorized computer look. There have been a couple minor exceptions. The computer is useful in some post production steps. I scan the work when it's finished so i can deliver it digitally and at that point I might boost the contrast a little using Photoshop but I try to keep the final basically the same as the original.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
It depends on many things. The brainstorming stage can vary a lot. Once I have the concept in mind I can move fairly quickly. I'd say 7-10 days average, sometimes much less. As I said before, I prefer to have time to really look at it and notice the details and refine it, and for that I'll take as long as I have, but usually I don't have very much time to spend on this phase.
I like challenges. I might be able to pull of something like you described, but if you asked me to illustrate a car parked on the street I'd probably not enjoy that. There are certain things like cars and people that I usually avoid, although it's a good exercise to make myself do those things. Making yourself observe the shapes of mundane things can be a chore but it helps your overall knowledge of how the world is composed.
For which band have you already worked for?
Too many to recall.. High on Fire, Sleep, Buzzoven, Weedeater, Sunno))), Astra, Howlin Rain, The Black Crowes, Grand Magus, Witch, Wight, Cathedral, Ancestors, Earth, and many more which I don't recall right now.
Iron Maiden. That would be a full circle for me. Iron Maiden was one of the bands who's combination of art and music together as a whole really inspired me.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
I don't approach the bands myself, or solicit myself to them if that's what you mean. I'm usually busy enough with different jobs and projects that when a client or band approaches me I either take on the job or don't, depending on the schedule and other factors.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Usually the lettering presents the most challenging aspect. I have a mixed relationship with hand done lettering, sometimes i love it , sometimes i really don't. I lose patience with it at times, but it's important as a graphic element and it can make or break a poster sometimes. If there's no lettering then that's a big part of the equation that I can leave out and focus on the imagery and composition themselves.
I don't think so. I guess I am in some broad sense but I don't actually think of it that way. Those terms are usually defined by people who aren't in the "scene", so maybe I'm not the person to ask.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
My website is kept current. www.arikroper.com. I'm thinking about doing another show of original work sometime in the near future but not sure where.
What can we wish you for the future?
I want to get more into animation and make a film. I also want to create a graphic novel based on some ideas I have.