short but sweet...
what are you loving about illustration right now?

The biggest difference I see these days is technology.
I can do things today in an hour, that would have taken a week, required a whole department of professionals and a huge budget just 10 years ago. I am still glad I learned my tricks the old fashioned way, and I am sure all those tools can be overwhelming, but I love them VERY much.
how long did it take for illustration to become your full time job?

I was very lucky to be able to live off my illustration work right after finishing school.
I had taken a lot of effort to get ready though: I had done a lot of internships, a lot of design work for Magazines and Ad Agencies while I studied.

you're pretty much a conceptual genius, how do you go about brainstorming?

Ha! I don't really believe in talents or gifts. For me the one road to decent work consists of thinking hard while drawing on letter size white paper until my head and fingers hurt. I also think it s crucial to have a set of trusted friends that you can bounce ideas of, before you send them to the client.
advice for new / young illustrators

See the other side: become knowledgeable about publishing, design, marketing etc.
I think to be a good illustrator, you have to have a functioning "inner art director".
For me illustration (whether conceptual or more style focused) is about communicating something to the audience. So you have to have a very keen sense of how your audience thinks and feels.
advice for established / old illustrators

Uh-Oh, I don't know if I am in the place to give established illustrators advice. The one thing I am trying for myself, is that I ideally want to solve problems a long time before they become urgent. Like inventing new directions and stylistic approaches WAY before clients stop calling for the old ones.
all images copyright christoph niemann
i STRONGLY suggest you check out his ongoing blog with the New York Times:
and his wonderful website: http://www.christophniemann.com


  1. This is awesome.
    So cool you are doing this.

  2. really clever ... love the toothpaste and toothbrush! I am finding it difficult to keep up with all your blogging Pete ... how do you do it?

  3. Thanks a ton for this interview. Christoph is one of my favorite artists in the illustration world.

    It's fantastic and inspirational to read his advice.