Living and running a design studio in Germany, Tobias Roetsch proves that being a full-time artist is not rocket science when you work hard and love what you do. Fascinated by all things space, he creates incredible art that is truly out of this world. Curious about his story, we recently asked Tobias about motivational tips, the challenges of being his own boss, and inspiration drawn from the stars. Continue reading and get to know the artist behind his work.
Tobias Roetsch is now having his Limited Edition mini-series of three, spacetacular designs. Each work is launched once a month, so stay tuned and collect them all!
How many years experience do you have as an artist?
My artistic journey started in 2005 with some very small images. In the beginning, I was only showcasing them on German pages. In 2006 I decided to go for an international audience, which was quite a step for me at that time. I also started taking photos in 2006 after purchasing my first DSLR. Since 2010 I am a full-time freelancer living from my art and photography only. To answer the question briefly: Artist for 14 years, self-employed for 9 years (wow… time flies)
Are you self taught or formally trained?
I am entirely self-taught. It all started as a hobby and was not intended to be more. At some point, people wanted to pay me for my work. Of course, I was thinking about art studies but people already liked my images, so I decided to skip education and go for my own style and technique. It might not be the best or easiest way but it is my way.
Are you currently a part-time or full-time artist?
I am a full-time artist just like I have been for the last nine years. Digital art and photography have equal shares in my daily job, which is good because every day is a bit different. The mix is not getting boring.
How do you motivate yourself to work every day?
There are times when I can’t motivate myself to work at all. In really bad cases, this lasts for days or even a week. I have learned to accept these times, but I feel bad nevertheless when it happens. Maybe I should mention this is only affecting my personal work because it is different from commissions. I can work on commissions even when I am not motivated to do personal projects. Of course, it is more challenging when I have motivational issues, but I can keep going.
In general, I can motivate myself quite well, with the idea of making someone else happy. If it’s a client who is happy with the work I’ve done for him and can now reach his own goals better, or if it is some random person downloading my wallpaper for their screens or buying my art prints to decorate their homes.
Being a freelancer is part of the motivation itself as well. After more than ten years of self-employment, I’ve learned that I am the only one doing the work. In a big company, you can rely on others and take this as an excuse for yourself to be lazy or unproductive (to some extend, at least). I can’t do that. Because when I am not working, nobody is earning money for me. I would prefer a world without money, but it is part of the art world, and I must accept it.
What does your creative process look like?
First of all, there has to be an idea. And there are two ways for me to get one. It either just appears in my mind, or I am influenced by movies, games, or other images. Taking parts I like, and something new is forming in my thoughts.
Then, I start with rough compositions to feel the scene I want to create. To start is way harder for me than finishing something. The more I work on a picture, the more fun I have creating it. But in some cases, this is not working. These are the images that looked good as a rough idea but turned out to be not working visually, and the amount of fun I have is a good indicator of whether it is going to work.
While I always have a rough idea in mind when I start to work on something, most of the details, the colors, and the light are trials and errors, and there is a lot of back and forth sometimes.
One last important point for me is that I always ask close friends and artists for feedback on my work-in-progress pieces. External views always help improve your quality and grow as an artist.
What are your strongest inspirations?
Nature is my greatest source of inspiration. That is where my photography and digital art often go hand in hand as well. I see something, and it makes me wonder how this place would look like on another planet, or in a fictional world. Daydreaming at its finest. Of course, other artists and movies are a great inspiration too. They help to push your own limits further.
Why does space have such a strong influence on your work?
I have been fascinated by space my entire life. As a child, the Star Trek series impressed me quite a lot. I read a lot of books about the planets of our solar system. That is why it was a somewhat logical step to create my own space scenes once I was able to do it. Today I am still very interested in what is going on above us. Thanks to modern media we have the possibility to be very close to what is happening at NASA, ESA and the others. This is very inspiring to me. And looking from the artistic point of view: it is a very thankful topic because basically everything is possible.
What do you like to create the most?
It depends on the mood I am in. My favorite things are space & sci-fi scenes, fantasy images, landscape photos and photos of architecture. I do not have special preferences between these topics. I am happy when a scene has a convincing and believable setting (regarding my digital art) and tells a story (especially in my photos).
In which area do you feel better – photography or graphic design?
I personally do not see or feel a difference. Considering the popularity of the images the answer has to be digital art. Maybe it is way harder to stand out of the crowd in the field of photography nowadays compared to digital art. Everyone is able to take a photo with his smartphone but not everyone is able to create a fantasy or sci-fi environment.
What are your passions, other than graphic design?
I count photography to the graphic design part and therefore will not mention it again here 😉 I like doing sports. I used to do more when I was younger, but I love the feeling of achieving stuff like going for a certain distance at a certain time or climbing some mountain and looking down on the world below me. So bicycling, climbing (well, not really climbing but alpine hiking) and skiing are my favorite activities when it comes to sports.
Another thing I am quite passionate about is history. I read books and articles and try to watch as many documentaries as I can to learn more about our past. To better understand why the things in our world today are the way they are.
How did you begin selling your original artwork?
People asked me if they could use my images for their projects (like a book or cd cover or on a homepage). It was not my plan to make money out of my art before (mostly because I thought I am not there yet and not good enough). Later I started offering prints online.
What do you consider the best channel to promote your designs?
Personally I think my website is the best place. It is just about my art and me and I can edit it to my needs and have all the possibilities I need. It is the center of my network of social media and online art galleries where everything comes together. But it is a lot of work and there might be easier (and free) solutions offered by the big players online (with acceptable limitations).
What is the FIRST original artwork you sold on the Displate marketplace?
The Rise of a Planet. It is my best-known image and people really like it. Therefore I am using it as test upload to check if a service has potential or not. I actually forgot about Displate first (shame on me). But I logged in some months later and noticed that I made some sales without doing anything (and even though I was only offering a single artwork). This looked very promising and I started offering more images. It is working very well ever since
What is the greatest advantage or benefit you’ve gained as an artist from selling your original artwork on the Displate marketplace?
First of all, I think it is still special to have something printed on metal. When you think of art for your home you usually look for a canvas or photo print. Metal is still something special. The second point is the fact that Displate is doing something for our planet. I really like the idea of a forest somewhere that was planted because of my art. And the third point: at the end, an online shop is all about the money and displate is offering a nice regular monthly income, which I really appreciate.
What do you consider your biggest success so far?
The way I live today is my biggest success, I think. I decided to work self-employed at the age of 22. That was a huge risk, and it has taken me a long time to establish my business. Today I have a list of renowned international clients. I have a somewhat calculatable fixed monthly income. There is no alarm clock in my daily routine (I wake up on my own, which I consider a big blessing). I have a wonderful wife and a cute dog. I will never be rich, but I will never live in poverty. What else could I be hoping for?