Berlin’s reputation as a centre for creativity continues to grow. Studio space is cheap, galleries and exhibitions are showing new work all the time, the music scene is thriving, and some districts boast incredible street art. Micheal Kutsche is one of the residents who’s not only finding constant inspiration in the city, but is also gaining a reputation as one of the best digital painters in Europe.
Going through Michael’s portfolio, one of the most striking things is the variety of work he creates. From robots and toys to caricatures and highly detailed character work, he never conforms to one style or subject matter. Yet he always creates images of stunning quality.
“Maybe if I had a certain comic style I would just search my mind and say, ‘You put this form and this form and this form together,’” Michael says. “But my approach is to take an hour and get inspired by some pictures on the internet, and from my books, or maybe go to a museum or an exhibition. When I feel inspired, I just go. Every task, no matter if it’s a task from a client or from myself, is a problem and each problem has a solution. It’s not approaching it from the same direction stylistically; it’s more like evolution.”
Race for the prize
One of Michael’s latest personal pieces is The Boxer, a skilfully rendered image of a man with a human face and body, but the ears of a pig. The surreal idea of combining something human with something animal was a concept Michael wanted to explore, while at the same time the attention to detail and realism in the image gives the character a great deal of believability. He imagined the pigman as a character in an animation, interacting with real humans.
“Most of the time I use a pencil and a brush pen,” Michael says. “It’s like working with ink and Japanese calligraphy. It has a cool flow with it and it’s good for sketching. You can make big black areas quickly. That was the first step, then I took it over to Corel Painter for 95 per cent of the job, and the last five per cent in Photoshop.”
Michael can’t always let his creativity run wild. He does a lot of illustration work with big clients in the advertising and computer games industries. Lately, he’s been doing some promotional artwork for The Creative Assembly, a British games developer for Sega.