Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fantasy Art - Bente Schlick

© The artwork presented on this post is used with the permission of its author. All the artwork is copyrighted. Please do not use the images without the permission of the artist or owner.

Bente Schilck is an illustrator and a concept artist born in the Northern Germany on September 1986. She is currently living in Hamburg and also studying Illustration and Design at an art school in Hamburg. Bente’s main theme of work is fantasy, but she also produced non-fictional works such as storyboards for films, comics, children’s book illustrations and nature illustrations. Recently Bente Schilck’s artwork was featured on the cover of the annual artbook published by Ballistic Publishing, Exposé 7.

Interview - Bente Schlick

Dark Wolf: Bente thank you very much for the opportunity of this interview.
For the beginning can you, please, tell me what attracted you towards art and when did you discover your talent?
Bente Schlick: Well, I guess this will sound rather overused, but I consider myself one of those who were born with a pencil in their hands. I soon figured out that painting was something that I was enthusiastic about. People told me "how great" they considered my painting; luckily, I knew that I didn't quite agree, because otherwise I would still be painting stickman (people will know what I mean). I never thought about doing something related to art after finishing school until I was in senior grades. That also was when I became more interested in old masters’ painting techniques and bought art history books, which I regarded as being boring and dusted some years ago. But yeah, art history was something that really interested me and I probably would have studied that if I had been rejected at art school.

Dark Wolf: Which are your favorite artists and which one of them influenced your works?
Bente Schlick: There are a lot of artists and pieces that influence me, most of them rather unknown to myself. It happens that someone tells me "Oh you know, this reminds me a lot of artist xy" and I have never heard of this artist or a certain piece of art. It's a nice challenge to copy another artist or his work, though. Sometimes because you can learn a lot of course (especially from the old masters), but I think you should still try to find your own style somehow.
Some artists I like and which inspire me the most are: Brian Froud, Alan Lee, John Howe, Howard D.Johnson, William Bouguereau, Hans Zaztka and John William Waterhouse.

Dark Wolf: You study “Illustration and Design” at an art school in Hamburg. How did your studies help you improve your technique? Did the studies help you learn new things about art?
Bente Schlick: Since it is an illustration school, I really come to get to know a lot of different techniques and most of them aren't done digitally at all. For example, I discovered my enthusiasm for serigraph in third term. It certainly made me more sensitive towards design, composition, layout, typography and such. So yeah, while I’m an autodidact in terms of digital art, I learnt a lot of other things in art school. It's also a good contrast between traditional work in school and digital work at home as my hobby. I also got in touch with all fields of illustration (some of which I liked, some of which I won't miss at all :P).

DW: Today there are many artists that are using digital tools. Which one do you prefer to use? Do you feel more comfortable using the digital tools or the traditional ones?
BS: I like both media. I always refused to do most of my work digitally first since I didn't like this new medium. However, I think it is a future technology and while pencil and brush hopefully will always remain major art tools, digital tools will surely make their way to become one of the most important techniques in some years. I just think it's good to keep your eyes open to what happens on the market, because everything changes constantly. As an illustrator, it's important not to miss out on it.
Every artist knows that it feels best to actually hold a brush in your hand or smell the drying paint, but on the other hand, I have also come to love digital art in its own way. I feel very comfortable with it now, but I also still love to do sketches in my sketchbook with a real pencil or just switch from my PC to my canvas and my easel, which stand right next to it.

DW: On your website you say that your main scope of work is fantasy themes. What attracts you toward the fantasy theme?
BS: I don't really know. I have always been a very imaginative person, sometimes a bit dreamy. Maybe, it's the possibility of leaving all the daily worries behind and escaping into a fantastic world full of wonders and fairytales. I always like to quote C.S Lewis as it seems quite fitting to how I feel: "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

DW: Going outside the fantasy art, who are your favorite authors? Which are the books you liked the most?
BS: I like J.R.R Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Christoph Marzi, Cornelia Funke, Philip Pullman, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Rainer Maria Rilke and Joseph von Eichendorff. My favourite books are "His Dark Materials", "Inkheart", "Nimmemehr", "Stardust" and "The Lord of the Rings". I'm also much into the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm brothers.

DW: How does a fantasy work influence your art pieces? While reading a novel do you feel the need to draw a particular scene or character from that novel?
BS: Mhm...a few years ago, I was a massive Harry Potter fan and drew a lot of Harry Potter fan art, also some Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials fan art. Nowadays, I don't really feel the urge to paint something from stories - more so characters that are described in poems or lyrics, because if you read a book, the characters are mostly described very detailed and there's little liberty for me to paint them like I want them to look. It's a bit different with lyrics and particularly with poems: most of the times you get only a brief glimpse or a metaphor of a character. That's what I like. Otherwise, I like painting book covers, but if I could choose, I would always paint the characters from my own imaginary world.

DW: I’ve read that among the inspirations you have poems and music can be found. At the poems obviously the inspiration is found in the lyrics, but at a song the inspiration comes from the lyrics or from the music as well?
BS: It's both. I love to listen to classical music as much as I love to listen to modern music. It gives me so much inspiration. Sometimes, it also happens that I listen only to one song over and over again while painting an image. Then, when I look at the picture, I immediately have the earworm ;). Or the other way around, which means I listen to a song on the radio and I suddenly remember the process of the painting I did whilst listening to it. It's funny when this happens years after you painted that particular image and you start out grinning weirdly and no one around you knows why. It's also a bit well... poetic, I guess.

DW: Your portfolio seems focused almost exclusively on portraits. Do you enjoy more painting portraits? And why only female portraits?
BS: Yeah, I think I'm fascinated by human beauty. I love to create different types of characters and such. When I started to get into portrait painting, I was 10 years old. I really really wanted to be able to paint a perfect face from my imagination. I'm more drawn to paint female faces, because... well... I guess in that case I am a typical girl. I love fairies and heroines and for me it's much more interesting to paint a beautiful dress than painting an armoured knight. I'm not really into painting brave warriors with huge weapons - or monsters. I could, of course, paint a beautiful elf, but, well, the muse isn't very cooperative in that case at the moment.

DW: Do you consider that your technique needs to be improved when it comes to landscapes or scenes?
BS: Honestly, I'm painting a lot of landscapes or scenes (mostly matte paintings/concept art) for clients, but it's not my main scope of work (not at the moment, anyway). There's always a thing that could be done better and I would never say that I was perfect in a special field. I'm trying to do a little bit of everything, but obviously you simply can't be good at everything, because the moment you concentrate on one thing, you immediately disregard another. Talent is like a muscle that needs to be trained or it'll become stunted. It often happens that, when I see an artist whose art I like, I think "Oh, I wish I could paint like her/him", although it's simply not my field of work. Maybe, in some years I'll have enough of all the fairies and beautiful faces and will try something different, but for the moment I'd like to stick with them (though lately I tried to consider the surrounding of my characters a little bit more). So, to answer your question: I guess it does.

DW: Recently your works were featured in the new Exposé catalogue. How does it feel to be a part of this project? How about the fact that one of your works is featured on the cover of the catalogue?
BS: It's not the first time my work is featured in the Exposé series, but I think I was certainly still more excited this time, because my work is featured on the cover. I was clearly hit by surprise when I got the news that "Touch of Gold" was their first choice - maybe because I never considered it as one of my strongest pieces. It still feels a little "unreal" that my name is mentioned on the website of Ballistic Publishing and everything. A year ago, I'd have never wasted a thought about ever getting on the cover. But I think that's just typical, if you desperately wait for something, it will never happen and when you're suspecting it the least, the surprise knocks on your door. Exposé 7 has a place of honour on my bookshelf.

DW: Speaking of a catalogue would you like someday in the future to gather your works in personal art book?
BS: That depends. Would you buy it? ;) Just kidding. But I'd loved to publish such a book. I already have a vague idea of how it could look like, but I still think it will be far far away in the future. There's so much going on around me, my art and everything else that a book is the last thing I'm thinking of at the moment.

DW: So far among others you worked on storyboards for films, comics, children’s book illustrations. Which one do you consider to be the most challenging and which one the most rewarding?
BS: That's a difficult question. I think it always depends, every field has its challenging parts and sometimes I feel more comfortable doing children's books illustration and then the next day I completely hate it. But I guess most rewarding would definitively be children's books illustration, at least if you get in contact with children and they love your work, because children are the most honest and best critics.

DW: At what are you working at the moment and what future projects do you have?
BS: I'm doing a lot of cover artwork at the moment next to my studies and some other private commissions. At the moment, I'm also looking for an agency to enter the field of art licensing and such.

Thank you very much for your time and answers. It has been a pleasure.

For more information about Bente Schlick and her works and for more of her artworks please visit Bente's website, Creative Soul.

© The artwork presented on this post is used with the permission of its author. All the artwork is copyrighted. Please do not use the images without the permission of the artist or owner.


Jo said...

Wow! Such beautiful pieces of art, and what a fascinating interview! It was a great read, and I am definitely checking the website out!

ediFanoB said...

Good interview! wonderful pictures. My favorite one is the wolf.

Memory said...

Wow, Bente's work is gorgeous. I especially like the first two pieces.

Adele said...

oooh, the top one is just gorgeous!!

Mihai A. said...

Thank you all very much :)
Bente has a talent for portraits, but my favorite is the "Autumn Wolf" too :)

Donna said...

I like them all, they are all beautiful. Bente Schlick has wonderful art skills, these are the sort that create art worth losing time staring at. Thanks for the interview.

Mihai A. said...

Thank you, Donna. Bente trully has art skills and she puts them in great value :)

Barbara Martin said...

Lovely work, especially the first and the fairies. I wonder if Bente used an Andalusian horse as a model.

Mihai A. said...

Barbara, it looks you know the horses very well. I amglad you like the pictures :)

Unknown said...

awww man that is very disappointing to read - That an Art book will be far away :(
I would love to buy a book of Bente's art, it is so majikkal and simply mesmerising.
Thankyou for such a wonderful interview.

Mihai A. said...

Thank you too. I would like to buy such a book as well :)