One of the featured artists on site today is Austrian illustrator Mathias Kollros. He has been involved with Magic for a little more than two years now so I decided to put the spotlight on him ask him a few questions.
Mathias, can you give us a brief introduction?
"I'm a fantasy illustrator working for Magic: The Gathering as well as Warhammer 40k and Legend of the Cryptids (an iOS game by Applibot Inc.). I've been doing this for around 10 years now and I'm enjoying it a lot. This is only my second time at a Grand Prix, but it's always an amazing expeirence to listen to the players that are telling me which cards they like the most."
Can you tell us a little about your professional journey?
"I have always been a big fan of fantasy, but it took me a very long time to realize that there's an actual industry behind it which means that you can also make a living with it. I was around 21 when that realization set in and that's when I started to work towards achieving that goal and turn this into my occupation."
How did you proceed from there?
"I was studying art at the time (which is not quite the same as working as an illustrator) and I then tried to find work as a freelancer doing fantasy illustrations. Eventually, it started to come in with various companies asking for smaller comissions.
"When I got approached by the Magic art director, it was like a dream come true since I then knew that I could make it work."
What is the worst part about your job?
"Once you've reached the point where you're actually able to make a living working as an illustrator, which has been your lifelong dream, you're now exposed to the fear of losing that dream. Granted, it's still much better than working for a boss that's dealing with anger issues, but sometimes I'm wondering what would happen if I end up losing one or two of my big clients. So it's mostly the lack of security when compared to a traditional job."
Do you have any advice for artists that are about to start their careers?
"I think the most important thing is to try to gain a lot of exposure for your work. This is easier than ever thanks to the internet, so you can try to publish your portfolio on plenty of pages, however, you should be selective when it comes to picking the pieces you're presenting. Otherwise, you might end up harming yourself."
How many illustrations do you typically finish in a month?
"That's really hard to say. I need between four days and a week per artwork. It's hard to say how many I'm churning out per month (on average) since sometimes you're being asked to do like seven cards all in one go and then you will have to wait for a couple of months before you're receiving the next request."
How many illustrations did you do for Magic so far?
"I have already done around 40 pieces and 20 of those have been released already."Cards illustrated by Mathias Kollros
What's your favorite card?
"Eater of Hope - not so much because of the name, but I think that I hit the nail on the head with the artwork. That might have something to do with the fact that I'm appearing on the artwork not once, not twice, but a whopping three times, however, I guess that's not too obvious for someone who's not in the know."
Thank you for the quick interview!
Be sure to also check out Mathias portfolio.