Interview with John Schwegel (aka Fizzgig)
John Schwegel, also known as Fizzgig, is a US based artist with his unique “spooky cuteness” style.
His characters always inspired me to develop myself in illustration and to create more. And now I am very happy to take an interview from John, and to know more about his artistic growth, experience in drawing, illustrating, and selling on stocks.
1. Could you tell a little about yourself? When did you first start drawing?
I’ve always loved drawing as far back as I can remember. I still have a laminated drawing that I made in kindergarten of a family of cats. There is one cat water-skiing in an above ground pool. Another has on a cape and is flying around. Next to him is a cat munching on some popcorn in a movie theater. I must have been a bit insane as a kid.
2. Did you take any educational courses in this field or are you self taught? What tools and software do you mainly use?
I went to the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia, where I majored in illustration. At the time, they didn’t offer much training on computers, so I’m pretty much self taught when it comes to digital work. I mainly use Adobe Illustrator and a mouse. Sometimes I’ll use Photoshop if I’m coloring in a scanned drawing or to get some colors or effects.
I think my spooky-cuteness style is always evolving. I like to experiment with different looks and techniques. Even as a kid my drawings had a unique look to them and I think that carries through over the years.
4. You are a stock contributor; how did you find out about stocks? What did you start from? Which of them do you like the best and why? Would you like to go exclusive, why/ why not?
I just found out about creating stock a couple of years ago. I’v used stock at my day job for years, but always figured they had staff that created the images. I think I just googled “sell vectors” one day and found out that I could sell stock on various sites. I started on iStockphoto, which is my current favorite, because I seem to have more sales there than other sites. Some other sites I like are ClipArtOf, GraphicRiver, Graphic Leftovers, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Fotolia, VectorStock, BigStockPhoto. I don’t like to have all of my eggs in one basket, so I don’t think I would ever go exclusive. I like knowing if one site goes out of business or has a drop in sales, I have my work on a lot of other sites. Although, I do see some good in going exclusive at some of the larger sites. It would certainly make uploading and keeping track of files much easier.
I’d like to get back into drawing and painting with pencils, inks and acrylics just to get a little break from the computer every once in a while. Right now I’m trying to focus on creating more stock illustrations, but I’m sure there are more zombies and monsters coming soon.
6. Where do you get your inspirations from? Could you name any particular artist?
I think I draw the things I draw because I watched too many cartoon and sci-fi movies as a kid…and as an adult. I’ve always had great art teachers in school which were a big influence. Some of my favorite artists are James Christensen, Brom, Brian Froud, Gris Grimley, Brian Despain, Wes Benscoter, Ragnar, Cam De Leon, Jhonen Vasquez and many, many, many more. Caffeine is a big help, too. =)
7. Thank you very much for the interview John, is there any advice you could give to aspiring digital artists and illustrators?
Caffeine is your friend. Keep experimenting and trying new techniques. I also think it’s good for digital artists to first develop traditional drawing skills before moving to the computer.