Metal Illustrator: Interview with Caelan Stokkermans
Caelan Stokkermans, Vocalist for Ascent Of Apophis. He’s also Illustrator. On this post, Caelan Stokkermans gave us some information about Him Career as Illustrator. Check it out.
Please give a brief introduction of yourself, your career and your work.
My name is Caelan Stokkermans, I am a graphic designer and illustrator over at Caelan Stokkermans Arts. I have been creating artwork for the music industry for about 3 years now. My artwork features mostly fantastical landscapes, creatures and objects. I bring in many different types of styles such as abstract, surreal and realism. I try to create a sense of awe and wonder in the viewer with my work. I enjoy creating a story or concept for the artwork that the viewer can then expand upon with their own imagination.
When did realize you wanted to make a career out of illustrating?
I started out creating art for fun in my spare time. Mostly just doodles in a sketchbook, I never thought I would make a career out of it. My first introduction to professionally making art was through a friend’s band that at the time was called Vim Nibby (now The Grievance Club). I made a concept sketch that an other artists then took and made into the final digital version. This was the seed that eventually grew into what I do now. The realization came when I started up a page for sharing art I made digitally on my phone. I started getting requests for logos and artwork which made me realize I should do this professionally. Without that initial commission though I would never have thought to share my art.
Decimated Humans - Dismantling the Decomposed Entities. Cover Art by Caelan Stokkermans. Listed on this Blog as Best Death Metal Cover in April 2016.
What difficulties have you faced in transitioning into becoming a professional illustrator?
Initially I did photo manipulation for a majority of my artwork. The switch to painting and illustrating was difficult because I had to go back to the basics and essentially relearn everything I thought I knew about creating artwork. I still use photo manipulation to get a general idea of what I want and as a reference but a majority of what I create is illustrated. I am very glad I made the jump to illustration because it forced me to improve and redefine myself as an artist. The end result was much better pieces and a more unique style with my art.
Raze the Void - Obsolescence. Artwork by Caelan Stokkermans. Listed on this Blog as Best Melodic Death Metal Cover in May 2016.
What do you like the most about illustrating?
What I most enjoy about illustrating is the depth and detail required to make it look amazing. Especially with metal artists, the amount of details is mindblowing and results in these fantastic creations. I also enjoy how you are able to put more of your own unique style into your work with illustration. With photo manipulation sometimes you are limited to what you can find with stock. Illustration allows one to control everything about the art from the perspective to the composition.
Misanthropic Cleansing, Split Album between Visceral Hatred and Human Devourer. Artwork by Caelan Stokkermans.
What do you like the least about it?
Sometimes illustrating can be very tedious and time consuming. The amount of time spent on a single illustrated piece is much more than what I would spend on a photo manipulation piece. It’s also rather difficult to correct and rearrange the piece as freely as you can with photo manipulation. Despite this the result is for illustration versus photo manipulation (at least with my work) much more spectacular and really shows how much work you have put into it.
Who are some of your main artistic inspirations and why?
I draw a lot of inspiration from illustrators of Magic The Gathering. Peter Morbacher, Noah Bradley and Raymond Swanland are among my favorite. Their work reflects my own where they create storylines to their work as well as fantastic creatures, deities and environments that inspire awe in the viewer. I also draw a lot of inspiration from artists of the metal genre such as Dan Seagrave, Ken Sarafin, Par Olofsson and Dan Mumford. These are the artists that I usually see gracing the covers of my favorite bands and I could stare for hours at the detailing in their work. Ken Sarafin is actually the one who helped me and is still helping me learn how to illustrate. I draw a lot of influence from his more abstract style and color composition.
What is the best advice you have ever received regarding your artwork and career?
This isn’t as much as advice I received from someone but more something I observed of the industry I work in and artists I admire. I observed that some people create art for the sake of creating art and others create it for profit. I realized that what separated the great artists from the mediacore was the philosophy in which you approach creating artwork. Instead of mass producing a ton of decent work with the goal of selling it to bands I decided to do art first and making profit second. This was one of the driving forces behind my decision to learn illustrating and the re-branding of my company to Caelan Stokkermans Arts. I wanted to create art for the same reason I created doodles in my sketchbook. A creative outlet for all the stories and ideas I am always coming up with in my head and not because I would make money.
What are some of your goals for the future?
I plan on improving more and more on my illustrating and developing more of a unique style. I also would like to start working with some larger bands and record labels. Mostly I am just enjoying the success I have achieved thus far and looking forward to whatever is to come for CSA.
Do you have a philosophy behind your work?
My philosophy for art is to create artwork for the sake of creating art. Create something you are proud of and wouldn’t want to give away to anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Put in the time and energy and always innovate and reinvent yourself as an artist because that’s the best way to improve. Art is taking the inner world of our minds and manifesting it in visual form.
Any last words.
You can check me out on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Behance. I am currently working on building a new website but have all my most recent work on my current site. I will provide links below. Thank you for everyone who has supported my art and I shall have some exciting new pieces for your viewing pleasure soon!