Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Click on the title of this post and it will take you to "TOTORO" a book that Martin was a contributor too and his work is still on display please visit Martins blog as well at, (Just clip and paste in your browser...)
Hi everyone Please allow me to introduce to you "Martin Wittig" One of the finest animal character artist and cartoonist and animator I've ever seen Bar none!!! I've always wanted to interview Martin so lets welcome him and enjoy his thoughts and his wonderful art.
1.) Martin?, Like everyone else, there is a story behind how (we) you as an artist become an artist and the path you took to get where you are today. You know like who influenced you and why? At what age did you decide to become an artist? What college did you attend and do you have any insight for any young artist on his way to a university?
I can remember always being interested in art. I wasn’t particularly interested in Animation as a career until much later. I spent a lot of time drawing and copying images from cartoons and Disney books. That was the beginning for me. I would say that my influences later on were mostly animation artists that I read about and admired. These were people like Glen Keane, Andreas Deja and so on. I was really limited in my scope of what I knew about the industry and art in general, so I clung to the current giants in the field, which of course was Disney at the time.
I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC. In hindsight, this may have not been the best choice in terms of getting the strongest background in animation. School was pretty frustrating because it seemed that the students had a better understanding than the administration did of the kind of curriculum we needed. However, I think I made the most of it, and opted to choose drawing classes instead of the scheduled humanities classes. After my third year of school I was accepted to the Disney Boot Camp, upon completion of which I decided to start working in the industry rather than returning to school.
I think that the best advice that I could give would be to do your research! Look up the schools that you are thinking about attending. Talk to others in the Animation Community about them, and find the best place for yourself. Once you are attending a college, don't take it easy! Do your work and bust your butt to get your skills up there. Get a mentor in the animation field, and constantly show your work around. Most importantly, be humble! You can’t grow as an artist if you are in love with your work or have an attitude. I still show my work to others, and take their suggestions to heart.
2.) Wow that was a loaded question huh? Hahaha ,………….Being the artist you are today where do you see yourself in ten years?
Oh man, that's a tough one. I think about that all the time. Hopefully, I’ll be working on a great project at one of the Feature studios doing some character development. I also would love to see my work in some children's books! That has been a dream of mine. Lastly, I hope that I have more time to spend doing things like painting, just for fun.
3.) Hahahaha don't we all..... So, Did you have to study animal anatomy and to what extent to be able to draw the characters you do draw?
I did study quite a bit of animal and human anatomy. I took a few classes at the Museum of Natural history, and did a lot of research on my own. I believe that it really has helped me on a day to day basis. I love studying anatomy. It was one of my favorite classes at art school. And by Anatomy, I don’t mean rendering a femur for 10 hours with a pencil, lol, but rather the functionality of the limbs, how they work, what do those muscles do? I used to live upstate NY, and we had a small local zoo that did not charge admission. So I would go there almost every day off, and draw the animals. They only had 20-25 different animals, but it was great! I spent weeks drawing one animal. When I would go home, I would compare my sketches to some anatomy reference, and correct my own work. I know it sounds funny, but it really helped me remember things, and the drawings weren’t precious to me, so I didn’t mind drawing over top of them. I must say that in a few weeks time, I could draw the animal with my eyes closed! If I can give any advice, please draw from life!!!!
4.) I agree totally thats how I taught myself as well. How has the Computer changed the way you do art work? Or has It?
ABSOLUTELY!!! I use a Cintiq almost every day. I started using one at work a few years ago with much hesitation, but then I began enjoying it, and now I have one at home. It certainly has a few drawbacks, and I am sure that in some ways it has hurt my abilities. Paper just feels so nice to work on, and certainly the screen just can’t duplicate that feeling. But it also has some great positives - it helps me to work faster and with more precision.
5.) If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Italy, France or Japan!! Man, I fell in love with France a few years ago. I would love to work there in those incredible surroundings. All that history and Art!! Japan looks like an amazing place too, and I’m such a huge fan of Japanese culture and history, that I know it would have a positive impact on my work just being there.
6.) If you could sit down with any artist in the world, who would it be? and what would you ask him?
Wow,...dead or alive?....I think that if it had to be an artist who is alive, I would probably say Carter Goodrich. If I could pick one who was dead, I'd say Rembrandt. With Carter Goodrich, I would ask him how he got so damn good! Actually, I would probably have a well prepared list of like 100 questions asking him everything from his approach to where he grew up. It would be a long day for him. As for Rembrandt, I would love to know where his inspirations came from, what he was thinking when he did some of his works, how he approached a painting or sketch, that sort of thing.
7.) What has been the most important thing anyone has ever taught you about your craft and who was that person? Also how has that changed your life?
Hmmmm… Thinking back, I remember a lot of things that people have taught me about my craft, but I honestly cannot say whether one was more important than the other. College was great in that I had opportunities to get advice from classmates and teachers. In the real world, it was kind of like sink or swim for me, lol. It seemed like I was put in the deep end of the pool, and I had to do it alone. Honestly, if I had to give anyone credit for me still being here today, it would go to my wife. She puts up with me, and is my constant inspiration and healer for when I’m down in the dumps....So yeah, it's probably her advice to keep going, and that I’ll get there one day that keeps me driven towards success.
Last but not least ……..Step up on the soap box and speak your mind. Tell the world how you feel about the future of your work or how you feel about the price of eggs….haha whatever you want…… this section of the interview is the real you….. ………
This is what I have been waiting for! I can finally gripe about how crappy it is out here! Lol. I thought about how I would answer this, and let me tell you, I think that I have exhausted my opinions on what is causing a lot of the crap in this industry. Actually, I am tired of even talking about it. I can't change it. But what I would like to say, is just focus on your work, on your goals. That's what I am trying to do. Push yourself as much as you can, and constantly reevaluate where you have been with your work, and where you would like to be. All of this crap going on with the economy, and lack of jobs is enough to drag anyone down, but this is the best time to shut that stuff out, and remember why we all chose this field. It's about the art.http://martinwittig.blogspot.com/
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