What’s your day job?
Not so much a day job as a lifestyle that you bend any which way to generate income. I’m a professional artist.
What’s the last thing you worked on?
Just came off a storyboarding gig, this cover for Something Wicked and a couple of caricatures of South African musicians.
How long have you been painting?
I’ve been painting intently for about six years; any painting before that was too uninformed to count. Been drawing all my life, though.
What’s your favourite medium (oils, watercolours, pencils, digital)?
I tend to circulate favourites. Oil paint and a massive blank canvas is the most fun, because you can really throw yourself at it. I have the longest history with ink, and digital offers so many possibilities that I embrace them all equally.
How did you come up with this piece?
I recently got turned down for a sci-fi concept art gig, because I didn’t have enough of that kind of thing in my portfolio. It’s annoying, because I love sci-fi, yet in concept art it’s been done to death and I tend to go the opposite direction to the general norm. So I took this as the gauntlet that had been thrown down and jumped at the chance to get stuck in. A massive inspiration of mine is the painter John Harris, who has done a lot of covers for Tor Books (they have an amazing stable of artists), and I definitely took cues from him. I wanted to relate the sense of scale between the craft and the planet, giving it a telephoto feel.
The clouds in the background are spectacular. Are those painted or is it photo-manipulation?
I have been doing a lot of matte painting of late and nowadays very little is actually created from scratch, much of it relying on what is called photo replacement. A small section of the cloud is actually a photographic reference, but most of it is hand painted. Once you have an accurately lit section, it can be expanded upon to good effect.
Your art has featured in almost every single Something Wicked issue to date. If you can remember, what was your favourite piece to illustrate?
It’s funny, because I forget about a lot of work that I have done. I’m always looking ahead, so when a piece is finished, I’m through with it. That said, when I look at my work on the SW page, I’m often surprised at the balls I had to do some pieces. I really liked the WW1 story, which I think was for the first issue, as well as a piece of a bridge and a riverbank which was set in eastern Russia (if I recall correctly). In the latter piece I left a massive white area, which I don’t normally have the restraint for; I always tend to drift into big white areas, which is a shortcoming. Frank Miller knows how to leave blank areas to amazing effect!
Where can we find more of your work?
At the moment there’s not much in galleries, but my web address is http://www.flyingdutchmanart.com/ and I’ll be putting more work up for sale there shortly! Here’s my online shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/hendrikgericke