Where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I grew up most of my life in a trailer park south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, in 2007/2008, I started screen printing show posters for Siren Records. I had to take a regional rail train an hour north of Philly to get to every show to sell my screen prints at the venue to barely breaking even, but it was completely worth it! After making and selling prints I started illustrating tour posters, record covers, and t-shirts. This helped build toward my portfolio to aim for editorial work, ect…. I currently live in Queens, NY.

I often forget that you're in your final year at SVA MFA Illustration as a visual essay program. This is partly because you make a lot of commercial work, and partly because that work is so refined. So, I guess I’m wondering how you have time...
Thanks for the humbling comment! I am in the studio from 7am/8am until 11pm/midnight everyday for the most part. Sometimes I have to work later to meet a deadline but that’s the nature of what I get myself into. I have everyday blocked out in the hours I spend working on pieces for school/personal work, experimenting, client work, and even for the time I need to take off to settle down. I am in my second year so I have a super flexible schedule, where I write out what my thesis is, set the bar, and make the deadlines. All I have to worry about it showing up to class, and create work every week in the form of sketches, or finishes for my advisor.

How has your work changed over the past few years, what have influenced these changes, and where do you see it going?
When I was younger I always wanted to draw like an old master. At the time, I felt like that was what made you an artist, but I failed time and time again. After accepting how I drew naturally and worked on expanding that, I realized it was a better approach then trying to draw like Delacroix or whoever. What got me into illustrating and played some role on “style” were zines by Cristy Road, Raymond Pettibon’s record covers he did for Black Flag, Skateboard decks, and a hand full of show posters plastered all over the walls at the Ottobar in Baltimore when seeing the Subhumans/From Ashes Rise play in 2004. Seeing all this built a personal frame of reference that I often go to when creating images.

My drawing skills went from bad to satisfactory over the last 5 or 6 years. I am always striving to get better. I started making work in acrylic early on, and moved to rendering stuff out on the computer in art school. I wouldn’t have moved to the computer if Tom Leonard didn’t push me to continue exploring it as an option. I owe him a lot for that!!! I started out as mentioned by doing rendered out stuff, to doing flat silk screeny stuff, and now I am doing flat painterly stuff using exclusively photoshop. The next step is probably to explore limited color, adding more figures in my pieces and upping the contrast in my work. Application is up in the air. *Sirens call to all art directors*Why are you drawn to conceptual illustration?
If you eat candy, it taste really good, but it doesn’t really fill you up. Now if you eat a balanced meal, it will be filling, taste good, and stick around with you for a while. That’s kind of why I am drawn to conceptual illustration. It’s a lot like having a balanced meal. Not to say that once in awhile you can’t enjoy chocolate cake.

I know your process in a bit of a hybrid between traditional and digital, but do you prefer one method of working over the other?
Illustration = Hybrid, Gallery = Traditional. With my traditional works, I tend to take my sweet time and figure the piece out. So my fully painted traditional pieces take 10-80 hours unless they are super small. Most of the time, when I do a “hybrid” piece, it takes me 2-15 hours to go from start to finish. Also I am more confident with my color choices and composition when it comes to making doing a hybrid piece.

What do you like / hate to draw.
I love drawing everything, I hate it when a drawing goes wrong, but that’s the fun of it. Trying to work out the drawing and get it right.

I've noticed that you tend to draw people "looking away", is there some deeper, psychological reason for this?
I’ve been exploring in my recent work, various ways I can evoke a sense of tension. When a figure is “looking away” it’s usually my way of showing a dramatic emotional disconnect between either the viewer or another figure within the painting. I could use a facial expression to do the same thing, but when I draw it, it often comes off a little corny.

Define "being rich"
When you can legitimately “make it rain.”

How much of an impact has your time spent involved in the punk / hardcore scene had on your work?
Punk/hardcore taught me to think for myself, do things myself, and work hard to earn what you have. Of course the visual language of the subculture has played a role on my artwork, but its more transparent today than it was five years ago. All influence should be.
Why is being straight edge still relevant?
The Edge will remain relevant while drinking, and smoking remain relevant. I am a firm believer in the Edge and PMA. Other people’s habits are their anchors, not mine. I don’t let that stand in the way of me having fun.

Top 5 edge bands - NOT including minor threat or youth of today (far too obvious)?
Aw man! Well in no particular order….
1. Champion

2. Carry On

3. Floor Punch

4. The First Step

5. Chain of Strength

Honorable mentions…

1. Set it Straight

2. Let Down

3. Miles Away

4. Good Clean Fun

5. Mind Set

6. Down to Nothing

What do you do when you're not working?
I like to try out different places for dinner, I ride my bike when I can, go to punk rock shows, and occasionally I go to Philadelphia to hang out with friends down there if all my New York friends are busy. I visit galleries pretty often when I find out about an opening.

Who’s work are you loving right now?
Mia Christopher work is super fun! Clare Rojas is another fine artist I’ve been following whose work is incredible. I just picked up Blexbolex’s children’s book “Seasons” and it’s pretty breath taking.

skateboarding or hockey?
Although I am a Flyers fan, I got to go with Skateboarding since I have “Sk8 or Die” tattooed on my shin.
Any goals for 2011?
Gain more clients who want to use me for the printed page, the digital screen, or for the application of products.

Balance more time with people who want to hang out and professional work life.

Do a little bit of traveling for short spurts of time. Like going to Canada for a weekend or to other east coast jawns.

What do you want to tell young illustrators, just getting into the biz?
Know 150 Art Directors names off the top of your head that you want to work for and need to get your work in front of/keep it personal. Get to Know 50 Contemporary Illustrators you think are awesome and stay in touch. This business is about making connections not only digitally but also in real life. If you have the opportunity to meet them, do it. Don’t be shy or nervous. They are people getting/giving work, just like you.

One other piece of advice I have to offer for young illustrators to remember. YOU’RE AN ARTIST. Yes your work has to be within the context of whomever you are working for, but your personal work can be your illustration work. It’s probably as easy as shifting it 5 degrees to bring it into context for whoever your illustrating for.

What about the older guys?
Stay up to date on what’s going on around you (trends, technology, ect), and with that knowledge, don’t be bitter, stay honest, humble and cautious to younger illustrators. Your influence, for some young creative person can make or break their creative soul. Not everyone can take tough love.

Final words
“Unguard, I will let you try my wu tang style”

all images copyright Dan Fishel - check out his great work here: http://www.o-fishel.com - Thanks Fish!!


Marco Wagner

1. Where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?

I was born in W├╝rzburg, a small town in Bavaria, central Germany
where I still live and work as a freelance illustrator since 2006.

2. What is the art/illustration scene like in Germany? I’m really interested to hear what’s going on overseas.

Like in the USA, Illustration suffered from the economic crises started in 2009, but now it feels like it’s getting better. Generally Illustration gets more appreciation in Germany than years ago, but I would love to see more illustration in advertising. Ad Agencies are very interested in illustration and create ideas on illustrated campaigns, but it´s often the client who does not venture it. Yet!

3. Throughout a lot of your work, nature and ornamentation (dots, map markers, rhombus, ect) play a role in how you develop concepts. Are you pulling from a personal frame of reference using nature and ornamentation for your conceptual solutions or is there another reason.

Well, my kind of developing concepts reminds me to a situation when I was a small child in kindergarten. We had a big box full of LEGO, 98% bricks and 2% special pieces like, colored glass bricks, flowers, wheels, .... Every kid tried to get some of the special pieces to improve and to decorate what he had built with the bricks. So now, I also have a box with special pieces that delight my heart like the LEGO pieces in kindergarten. And I try to use them ( dots, rhombus, needles, wires,...) to create my illustrations and make an illustration that fits for the concept and additionally makes me feel more in love with it. It’s a very good feeling when it works!

4. One of the reason’s that I really love your work, is that your concepts are very poetic. When your given an assignment/working on a personal piece, what do you do you’re your starting to crave out a conceptual solution? writing lists, lots of drawings, lots of coffee?

Haha, thank you. Well, few coffee, few drawings, but writing down every stupid idea coming into my mind. Best time for stupid ideas is short before sleeping so I have my list on my bedside table. Writing down helps me to draining my head. And when I think it´s enough for 3-4 good concepts I start to do the rough sketches. And they are very rough so thanks to all ADs who trusted me! So that´s how I work for illustration jobs. For personal pieces the process of cogitation is much longer as I love to do small thematical series of works.

5. Do you feel that there’s a lot of separation between your gallery paintings v.s. your illustrated paintings/mixed media?

Well, actually not. I know that my personal pieces are a bit morbid and dark and wouldn’t find a place in illustration. Furthermore I work digital/mixed media for illustration jobs by contrast to my gallery work. But they have also a lot in common, like composition, colors, ideas, elements and my box of special pieces.... I try to balance everything.

6. Do you think you were prepared leaving art school to start a career in making art for a living?

Not at all. Just this advice: it will be hard!

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7. If you weren’t living in Germany, would you live anywhere else?

Maybe in czech republic, as my wife originally comes from CZ. Landscapes are beautiful, and the mentality of people is awesome and the atmosphere often inspires me.

8. What are you up to when your not painting/drawing? Is it important to you to have down time?

Of course I take my rests. I love to spend time with the family, do sports, go hiking, cook, all the good things.

9. I know when I attended ICON6 in Los Angeles, there was a big divide between illustrators or were hesitant about illustrations being on digital tablets (iPad, Nook, ect) both still + animated/interactive, and those who were accepting it with open arms. With more and more things being appropriated for the web and digital devices, I was wondering what your thoughts were on these changes?

We should be open for all new developments that offer opportunities for illustration. As you know I love the mix of analog and digital regarding to esthetics, but my development in the last 2 years was contrary, because I spend a lot of time doing paintings and drawings for exhibitions. I really love new media, digital working but will never leave my paints and pencils.

10. Any advice for young illustrators just breaking into the industry?

Just one advice: it will be hard! ;-))

11. Any advice for older illustrators?

hm... Share your knowledge as much as you can.

12. Final Word?

I am looking forward to spring!


Thanks Marco!

To find more of Marco Wagners work, go to www.marcowagner.net/

All of Marco's work is under ©opyright.

-Daniel Fishel


Bradford Haubrich

1. Where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?

I am from a lovely town in New Jersey called Haddonfield. I’ve been drawing since I was little, I guess I’ve been “illustrating” since 2008.

2. I love Philadelphia, but from your perspective why is Philadelphia, an up and coming city for art/design/illustration?

Well from what I can see there are a ton of talented people, both young and old, that are doing it for the love of the game. That combined with the low cost of living, and the pre-existing DIY ethos for which Philadelphia has become known and loved for, creates a genuine enthusiasm/energy that is, in a word, awesome.

3. The thing I really like about you is your persistence to continue to make art. If illustration work isn’t coming in, you just start making things and setting up gallery shows for yourself and selflessly for lot’s of friends and artist you wanna rap with. What sparked that idea and how are you able to curate shows/get into gallery shows?

Hey thanks, I really like that you really like that. I guess I wouldn’t say it’s an idea as much as it’s a mindset, I just feel compelled to make stuff, express myself, tell stories, and keep it moving. I don’t really like to sit still or be stagnant.

My new year’s resolution last year was to make more friends, so I made sure to do that and go out to as many gallery shows and pertinent events as I could. I made a record-breaking number of friends last year, shattering my long-standing record from first grade, which invited me to participate in gallery functions. It’s amazing what a few beers and some conversation will do.

Paper Blog Opening from TrickGo on Vimeo.

4. More and more I see that your tackling projects that are either on the web or are animated projects for the web. Are they getting in touch with you or are you getting in touch with them? What’s the process like building pieces of art to be handed off to an animator?

Those two projects were done with Oscar Productions, which is run by one of my childhood friends Ian Maguire. He approached me to storyboard and create the artwork for those projects.

The process was longer than a standard illustration or design project because there was a lot of preparatory storyboarding involved. Once the piece was laid out sequentially, we then began the familiar process of sketches, and then to the final. Also the finished art files had to be meticulously layered and named to avoid confusion, and even then there was still a lot of communication between the animator and myself. The most ridiculous part though, is that I still use Adobe CS (trade secret) to Photoshop stuff so I had to group all of the layers manually as opposed to selected them and hitting apple+G! ha!

5. I really love the honesty and rawness of your artwork. Can you talk alittle bit about the evolution of how you began making images the way you have now today? What are your thoughts on the new images your working on?

I think that today it starts the same exact way it did when I was younger, with drawing. The variety of end products, and the path that I take to arrive at them, is what is continuously evolving for me. I’m getting a better idea of how to build the bridge between my initial idea and the final destination. In my most recent work I am starting to introduce more of a personal narrative, projecting aspects of the culture that is immediately around me onto my artwork.

6. Your work tends to be both beautifully designed/hand lettered, and conceptual. I was wondering if you could talk about your process in coming up with idea’s for a piece of artwork, either for an illustration or a personal piece.

Thanks! I think a lot, I draw a lot, I am constantly looking around for interesting visual cues, I listen to people, and I ask questions. The older I get the more I realize that I prefer to keep record button permanently pressed down, as opposed to blocking out time in my life on a calendar to do sketches and systematically approach creating art.

7. What kind of music do you jam to when your skate boarding the streets or working on a piece of artwork?

Ha, that depends on my mood for both. I listen to a lot of different music from aggressive to mellow, from rap to old country music. It depends on the season, and how I’m feeling.

8. Genos, Pat’s, or Jims cheese steaks?

Pat’s, I guess, however; with prices on the rise ($9.00! for a wiz with!) who really knows anymore.

9. Dream Client(s)

Hmmm, you mean like the ones that approach you because they love your work, don’t give you grief about the fee, and then a few months later commission more art work because they like you so much? Yea, I think I’ve heard of them before.

10. What are you working on these days?

Oh man, well I’m in a group show about dinosaurs that opens next week, I’m working on an installation that will melt as the weather gets warmer, finishing up screen printing covers for a new ‘zine, I just started a commission of album artwork/web banners for a local rap trio, and I told my littlest sister I would make her a wooden bunk bed for her dolls as a birthday present, this last one could land me in some hot water if not completed in a timely manner.

11. Why not paint your illustrations instead of taking a mixed media/digital approach? Is it beneficial in how you think about making the art work? Is it important to learn how to make images digitally or is it just another way?

I like Photoshop because, if done right, I have complete control over all of the elements in the image. This makes it easier to change, fix, or re-color things if necessary. I don’t think it’s important to make the actual image on the computer, but knowing your way around Adobe’s Creative Suite is a good to know regardless.

12. Any advice for illustrators/artist breaking into the field?

Be ready to work extremely hard and push yourself with every project, if this is surprising to you then that is bad.

13. Any advice for the Vet’s out there.

Nope, I know better.

14. Final word?

If ever there was a blog title that summed up my life more than this one, I have not found it.

Thanks a whole lot Brad!

All work under ©opyright by Brad Haubrich
To see more of Brad's Rad work go to: Plaidbrad.com

-Daniel Fishel