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Artist Spotlight: Mark Roosien and Jasper de Groot

This month, we have something a little different: a team of two artists: Mark Roosien and Jasper de Groot

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
For example: where are you from, where do you live, do you have any formal education or are you self-taught, etc.

We’re Mark Roosien and Jasper de Groot, two self taught artists from the West coast of Holland. We both have a formal education as aviation engineers and have been working in the aviation industry for fourteen years now. As artists, we’ve been working for just as long. We started out with traditional 2D artwork and gradually moved on to digital 2D and then 3D modelling. We’ve done several projects, both alone and together, including worldbuilding projects, art challenges and commissions.

2) What experiences influenced your artwork? Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
Mark: I’d have to say that Jasper has been a big influence over the years. We often exchange ideas, we provide feedback on each other’s work, create collaborative work like ‘Kings Of Performance’ and we’ve had several art challenges. Working in the aviation industry is very helpful as well. It’s a high-tech environment that really inspires me.
Jasper: The earliest and most profound influences I can remember are watching scifi movies and cartoons a little kid; The Black Hole, Star Wars, Robotech, that sort of stuff. When I met Mark and saw his design style, which is way more hard scifi then mine, I always tried to match the feeling of ‘this might actually work’ that I get from his designs. Other than that, I’m a total tech geek. Cars, space, heavy industry, aviation, anything gets used as inspiration.

3) Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How do you create your artwork? Do you sketch an idea first or do you keep the design in your head until you're finished?
Mark: ‘Kings Of Performance’ became a very interesting project because it was truly a collaborative creative process. Usually, I start a design with some pencil sketches, but in this case it was purely digital from the get-go.
Jasper: First of all, we both made our gravracers separately. It was Mark’s idea to put them together in a single image set up as a racing pit. We used the back-and-forth method and a shared dropbox folder where Mark would make any addition to the model he liked and then I’d do the same. We kept a log file to record what changes we made and ask questions if we needed some sort of mutual consent before proceeding. We used the WIP images to create a time-lapse animation that shows the gradual progress of the image.
Mark: Using the log file as we did, gave both of us enough creative freedom to make the process work. That way, a collaboration can be like a creative jam-session.

4) When or how did you decide to get into digital artwork? Did you start with traditional media first or did you jump right into the digital world?
4a) What tools do you use to create your artwork?

Mark: I was working with traditional media and Photoshop, until Jasper urged me to give Trimble Sketchup a try in 2007. I’ve been in love with the program ever since.
Jasper: I’m not very good with drawing 2D other than making rough sketches. When I found Sketchup while messing around with Google Earth (back then they still owned Sketchup). Finally I had found an intuitive program that allowed me to give form to the many, many ideas I had in my head but couldn’t get right on paper. I’d say it’s more of an addiction then choice!

5) What made you decide to submit your artwork to DeviantArt?
Mark: To me, DeviantArt is a very open, creative community with a positive mindset. It’s very easy to find other artists who share your interests and working methods. This makes it a great resource for constructive feedback and all sorts of useful tips and tricks.
Jasper: That goes for me too. I come from a pretty conservative upbringing when it comes to scifi. Being able to share all my ideas and get positive feedback was a very refreshing experience.

6) What piece of artwork are you most proud of? Why?
Mark: If I have to pick one in particular, I’d say ‘Skyracer Redux’, which is one of my gravracer designs. It got noticed by Steve Burg, the original designer of the Babylon 5 Starfury. That was pretty cool!
Jasper: I’m going for the Star Pirates: Dreadnaught Class I made for Snakehead Games. I really stepped over my own hesitations with lighting and composition with that one. I always wanted to create a spaceship with a wicked flame paintjob!

7) What keeps you motivated when things don't seem to be going your way? What are some challenges you've faced in your career?
Jasper: My biggest challenge is the amount of time & energy my day job is taking away from designing. Patience, a supporting partner and jelly beans are my key to keeping faith.
Mark: It’s the same for me. Finding enough time to create new art can be tricky. In addition, I seem to run into an artist’s block almost every time I work on a new design. The only solution is to keep going. Sometimes the design works out and sometimes it ends up in the trashcan.

8) Do you accept commissions from people who enjoy your artwork?
8a) If you do accept commissions, have you worked for worked for many clients? How does your creative process differ when making your own artwork compared to making artwork for a client?

Mark: Over the past few years I’ve done a number of commissions. For me the most difficult thing isn’t the deadline, but the challenge to meet the client’s expectations. A client has a specific purpose in mind for the design and often has specific wishes which differ from your own artistic ideas. Jasper and I once did a joint commission for a boardgame developer. The requirements were dreadfully challenging, but it was great fun to exchange ideas and tackle the challenge together.
Jasper: I loved doing the commission for Snakehead Games: Star Pirates. I also enjoyed working with Mark on the board game commission. There’s no difference in creative processes other then that the pressure of deadlines can be frustrating and empowering at the same time.

9) How do you handle criticism of your artwork?
Mark: Constructive criticism is always appreciated. It’s a key element for personal growth as an artist.
Jasper: So far we’ve only encountered well intended and constructive criticism. With so much to learn, no matter how advanced you are, how can you get angry at that?

10) What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists who want to improve their artwork?
Jasper: Keep making more art, keep learning, keep your mind open to other influences and critiques, always try to make the next one better then the previous one and above all: keep making more art. Did I mention to keep making more art?
Mark: It’s a cliché, but it’s true: Think outside the box. Avoid making more of the same art over and over again. Frequently pick new themes and experiment with new visual elements in your designs.

11) Some people claim that digital art isn't "real art" mainly because it's made with software programs. How would you respond to this?
Mark: Software is merely a tool, it doesn’t generate art by itself, just like a traditional brush doesn’t generate a painting by itself. It’s the artist who creates the art. In my opinion it isn’t relevant whether he or she does that on a traditional canvas or on a digital canvas.
Jasper: I absolutely agree with Mark here. The tools or materials are irrelevant for the definition of art.

12) What are some of your more notable achievements? Have you been published in a magazine or exhibited your artwork at an art festival or gallery?
Mark: In 2010 one of my designs was used to help pitch a film script at the Writer’s Guild Foundation Seminar in Los Angeles. For the same purpose, the client had an actual model made of the design.
Jasper: My Star Pirates commission. My spaceships are still in use over there, but the coolest thing I ever saw was a contest to make the best Lego model out of my designs!

13) Any other comments or anything else you'd like to say?
Jasper: Beware of squirrels. Oh, they look innocent enough, sure, but who know what those little devils are hiding in those bushy tails?
Mark: Beware of Jasper, hahaha!

Where can people go to see more of your artwork? Do you have your own portfolio website or do you post your images mainly here at DeviantArt?
Mark: My portfolio can be found here: http://markroosien.daportfolio.com/
Jasper: I just post them here at DA, because I like the informal feel of the place.

  



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