The Man Behind the Monsters

I first heard about him at Doodlage and after that I knew I just had to get to know more about him. This month's artist has a slight fixation on monsters. I am talking about Stefan Bucher. His monsters are whimsical and are far from the frightening monsters that trick-or-treats during Halloween (**grin**). I find Stefan interesting and I wouldn't deny that I have become a fan. I like his style, his humor and his passion for the things he does. So below is the official e-mail interview I had with Stefan. Enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Stefan G. Bucher. It’s pronounced SHTE-fawn BOO-ker.
The G is silent. I’m an illustrator who also designs and writes.

In your blog, it mentioned you barely have a free time. What's a normal day for you?

Let me tell you my normal day in reverse order:

I design and draw from about 3 or 4 to 5 or 6AM.
From 2AM to 3AM I have dinner and watch the Daily Show & Colbert.
At 1:30AM I walk to the market to get food for dinner.
From around 2PM until 1:30AM I write, design, and draw.
Sometimes I sneak out to meet friends within that time.
From 6AM to 1PM I sleep.

When and how did you start making your monsters?

I made my first Monster drawing in April of 2006. It appeared on my arm while I was drawing and I decided to draw it. Then I drew 50 more. Those became the book “Upstairs Neighbors.” While I was trying to find a publisher for that book I started filming myself drawing monsters. That’s how got started in November of 2006.

What was your first monster?

Stefan's first Monster

What materials do you usually work with when creating your monsters?

I use Faber-Castell PITT artist pens, Staedtler pigment liners, Tombo ABT pens, Sharpies (fine point and wedge tip), and Yasutomo Sumi ink on regular old uncoated bond paper.

How do you go about creating your monsters?

I put a few drops of ink on a piece of paper, blow it into a shape using air through a straw, and then turn the sheet until I see the Monster hiding within that shape. Then I film myself (in time-lapse) making the Monster visible.

Among all the monsters you've created, which one is your favorite?

Oh, that’s like picking your favorite kid. It can’t be done.

I saw the work you did for STEP Inside Design, I really loved it. Can you please share some of your most memorable graphic design work experiences with us? (Can you attach an image of your favorite work, as well?)

Thank you. I’m glad you like the STEP work. It’s some of my favorite stuff, too. But, boy, my most memorable graphic design work experiences? That’s a question for a campfire evening, and not all of them I’d want to commit to writing. The short answer is, I got to design a catalog for David Hockney, and had the honor of presenting the designs to him at his studio. He’s a big artistic hero of mine, and he was just as brilliant in person as you’d think he’d be. That was pretty amazing. Of course, my favorite work is the Monster Book “100 Days of Monsters.”

David Hockney Catalog Designs

100 Days of Monsters

You are among those people, most young graphic artists look up to. I would just like to know who is your design mentor and why?

Well, people look up to me because I’m 6’4”, but I’m not sure anybody looks up to me beyond that. If indeed they do, I hope I’m worthy of it. Do I have a design mentor? Not any one person I could name. As an illustrator my early mentor was a German cartoonist named Uli Stein. He’s huge back in Germany, and he took me under his wing when I was a teen illustrator back in the Old Country. In terms of design, I tend to look more to illustrators, comedians, writers and musicians for inspiration. I read a lot of biographies. When I first got into design I really admired the Designers Republic. They took the whole Swiss International aesthetic and made it hyper-futuristic and fun. They also introduced me to the idea of funny legal copy when I was about 16. They were just about the first design firm I was really consciously aware of outside of Hipgnosis. But Hipgnosis were from another time and already had a lot of patina when I was a kid.

In art school I fell in love with Tomato, and with Mark Farrow shortly thereafter... These days I’m crazy for Non-Format and Big Active. There are a lot of other designers whose work I absolutely love, too, but those are the people where I think “Dammit, I wish I’d done that!”

What advice can you give to all the young and aspiring artists who aims to make it big in the design industry?

Here are the two things to succeed in graphic design (and in life):
  1. Be useful!
  2. Don’t be boring!
That’s all you need. Work as hard as you possibly can
to achieve both and you’ll be all set.

A profound graphic design and advice

Visit Stefan's blog at 344design. And to Stefan, thank you so much for the time you spared for me and for my blog.

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Anonymous said...

i like the quote "be useful. don't be boring!"

epic win!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This guy is really great. The monsters are so funny!! :)
There is no doubt that he has got talent and he sounds very funny too. Great humor, amazing monsters!! :)

Anonymous said...

Loved the videoclip. Funny to see him in action. I would love to be able to draw like that.

RaShell said...

What a wonderful interview!!! Stefan is an extremely inspiring person/artist/designer, thanks for a little peak "behind the scenes" :)

Anonymous said...

his art is cool, not to mention his style of making his masterpiece whoooyahhh "be useful dont be boring"

Anonymous said...

his art is cool, not to mention his style of making his masterpiece whoooyahhh "be useful dont be boring"

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