Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Interview: 10 Questions with the FANTASTIC Mike Sass!


Mike Sass
images copyright Mike Sass and Blizzard Entertainment

10 Questions with Mike Sass

1.... what medium and tools do you use to create art?

Up till 2 years ago it was all digital.  Mainly using Painter 9.  The past 2 years have been mostly oils, and only digital when I don't have the time.

2.... can you describe your creative process when making art?

I spend about a day making thumbnails, sketches and flushing out ideas.  Once I have generated a bunch that have promise I scan them into the computer and tweak them up a bit where I can then better decide on the best one to proceed with.  For speed, I do the final drawing on the computer then print it out and trace it down to a panel for oil painting.  The paintings take about a week... 5-7 days depending on size.


3.... what helps boost your creativity?

Thinking in the shower or while walking

4.... what helps you maintain focus and motivation when creating?

When working on the computer I can get bored or sidetracked, but when I am oil painting I am so involved that I never lose focus.  In the mornings I will listen to art podcasts to get into a work mood, and in the afternoon more upbeat heavy music to keep the energy up. (plus coffee!)


5.... what is the secret to creating a great piece of art?

Composition that allows for an impactful and clear communication coupled with a new, artistic approach.  This is achieved through the thumbnail stage, so don't rush the early part!


6.... do you feel its important to follow your passion in your career?

Absolutely.  Creating art is a lot of work, and the pay is not great.  If you are not passionate about it, it will show in the work and just feel like manual labour.


7.... how do you find your passion?

I try and focus my clients and only work on things that excite me or have high expectations and profile.  I turn down a lot of work and just work on things that I am excited to do; which is oil painting at the present time.  I like making and owning finely crafted originals... digital work is more of a chore now that I've switched to traditional media.


8.... who are your favorite artists?

Petar Meseldzija, Mark Zug, Steve Prescott... Traditional painters in the fantasy and gaming field.  These guys combine visual excitement and craft into a harmonious unison that I appreciate.


9.... do you offer workshops for artists?

Yep, I have taught a bunch of workshops on character design and also portrait and still life painting.  I usually teach one a year.


10.... if you could give other artists one piece of advice what would it be?

Strive to do the highest level (most refined, complex) work.  You'll get there eventually and then the simpler stuff will be a breeze.  A lot of people adopt methods, styles or subjects that don't push them enough.


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