Stefan Große Halbuer
Freelance Designer & Digital Artist
Who is Stefan Große Halbuer?
“Hi, I am Stefan, a graphic designer and illustrator from Münster, Germany. I’m kind of an allround creative, with a passion for information design, editorial illustration, storytelling and print design. I work as a freelancer for around 8 years now, and for various clients like corporations, magazines, musicians or NGOs.”
“If you could only show us one project of yours, to describe what you do, which one would it be and why?”
“That’s really hard to answer, as my work is quite diverse. One recent project that covers a lot of my creative fields may be “Understanding Blockchain”, a platform concept where users can learn about the basic functionality of the blockchain technology. It may be not that art focused, but I did infographics, motion design, UX design and illustrations for that one. Here’s the project: Understanding Blockchain”
“What’s the earliest art project you were proud of?”
“I’ve drawn a lot of vehicles, planes, and stuff like that when I was a kid. I remember drawing a Jeep or something, and when it was finished and looked at it, I thought “damn that’s cool!”. I guess I was around 7 or 8 then, and maybe it was the first time I realized that I had earned a next level in drawing, after that stuff every kid draws. Using a correct perspective, with lots of details, quite accurate I would say.
After that (many years after), I was really proud that I could push myself back into digital hand drawing early last year. I didn’t do it for some time back then, and bought an iPad and started my Instagram to get me motivated, and it worked really nice.”
“What art pieces (from other artists) blow you away and what specifically do you like about them?.”
“There’s so many great artists out there, it’s really hard to tell. I don’t have THE artist idol, but there certainly are some pieces of art I regularly look at, just because I feel inspired to see them. Here’s maybe 3 favorite artists, among so many others, and one example piece:
I actually have that print hanging in my living room and it’s just not getting boring after years. Karolis is a master of matching concept, silhouettes, colors and textures. I can only recommend to scroll through his entire work for the intelligent, calm and easy looking concepts. If I were an art director for a magazine, I just would hire Karolis for every article, he’d find the right visual concept for it.
Sachin is another go-to illustrator for me. Every time I look at her work, I fell inspired. I love how she mixes portraits with strange or unusual elements, often also technical parts or elements from pop culture. And she has an unmistakable style you’d recognize any time. I love the soft outlines and color contrasts, everything feels somehow a bit “juicy”, and always unique.
Some of my work focuses on architectural concepts, and you just can’t avoid François Schuiten when you’re into that. The precise drawings of his fantastic city views amaze me every time. He’s also a master of perspective, his drawings often really drag you into a scene, like in this illustration where the foreground opens up the scene in such a nice way.”
“Throughout your life, what kind of support did you have from the people around you when it comes to your artistic developments?”
“I never ever in my life felt any borders from family or friends. My parents are both workers and our family doesn’t have an academical background, but my grandfather was a passionate painter.
My father would have liked me following his footsteps as a carpenter, and while in school I was a really chaotic guy. But after I started by apprenticeship as a media designer and has my first success, he was fine with it.”
“What art project of yours are you most proud of and what makes it so special.”
“Hard to tell, but maybe it’s the bachelor project I made together with my fellow student Jan. We worked our asses off to create an exhibition concept and I think the result after a few months was really something special: Cosmos of Light.”
“What are things that influenced you in your life, to create the art that you create?”
“I’ve always been interested in details of everything. I want to understand things and be able to explain it to others through my art. That’s why I do information design, and on the other hand quite detailed illustrations which most times include a story, I guess.”
“What aspect of your art do you want people to remember you for?”
“Like most other artists I know, I like to hear that someone recognized my style in a piece of art. Even as an allrounder, I want my art to carry my thumbprint, both in concept and visual style.”
“Why are you creative?”
“I really just have to. In phases where I’m not creative for some time, I feel an urge to be. I’m fine with having some time off. Reading a book or playing videogames for three days straight, but I always need to get back to the desk and write down concepts, draw something, visualize ideas. I never ever had a moment where I didn’t know what to do because of a lack of ideas.”
“If your friends or co-workers were here, what would they tell me about you?”
“That they’ll be forever curious about how I manage to have my high output of work, while at the same time never saying no to having a beer.”
“What’s one specific memory you never want to forget?”
“The nice and easy life back in school. Most relaxed lifestyle ever.”
“What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face in your life?”
“Getting up early.”
“What chapter in your life, did you enjoy most?”
“Like I said above about my memory, it’s got to be the time in school, being around 15-17 years old maybe. School sucked for me sometimes, as I was really lazy, but these times were so easygoing.”
“What does the process of coming up with new ideas look like for you?”
“I think there’s two types of generating ideas: The first type are ideas that just pop up. The stereotypical shower-situation, where you suddenly have a great idea. I usually just write them down and save them for later.
The second type would be ideas that you need to have for your work. Like when I’m working on a visual concept and need ideas for that project. That’s the moments where you need ideas on point, and it can definitely be a challenge. I usually have my toolbox of techniques to generate these ideas, and it’s nothing special (like the regular brainstorming/mindmapping).
To me, the key here is a really good and precise briefing. I always ask myself and the client: what do you really want to express with this visual? What’s the core idea? It’s just a process and in the end I have my idea. If I’m working on a personal project, I ask the same questions, I’m only client and artist in the same person.”
“What kind of advice would you give someone who struggles to come up with ideas?”
“I think there’s some tips in the answer above. Other than that, I’d suggest to learn what your best ways of inspiration are. Some need a walk in the park, some need to go to the museum. I usually just look around on Instagram, Pinterest, Behance, and study other creative’s solutions.
Another tip that works for me is to really intensely study the world around you. I see some many ideas in everyday things. You can combine them to your problem or challenge, mix them, find something new in the stuff that surrounds you every day.”
“Before you start a project, what feelings or thoughts are going through your head?”
“I feel really challenged most times, as I always want the upcoming project to be better than the last. It isn’t in most times, what often makes me feel disappointed. Then I see what’s next and…one more try!”
“At what point in a project do you struggle the most?”
“Depends a lot on the type of project, but for client commissions it’s always that point of waiting for feedback on my concepts. Clients hire me for what I do, so I’m not afraid they don’t like my style. But with ideas, it’s something different. You can have a perfect concept that at the same time doesn’t work at all for the client. For larger projects, I usually set up some kind of concept presentation, with moods, scribbles, written ideas. I often struggle to finish that PDF and just send it over, for the fear of getting rejected.”
“Do you have any advice on breaking out of your artistic comfort zone?”
“I do it far too infrequently. I think it’s really important and a technique to avoid you find yourself in kind of an artistic dead end. Funny thing is that I worked with “real” paint last week, for the first time in maybe five years. And it’s been so great. I made a painting for my mother. Important thing is to not building up pressure, but to just experiment and to go with the flow.”
“If you could give your younger self any art advice, what would it be?”
“Don’t stop drawing. Stick with it. I’m sure I’d have so much larger social media accounts right now if I didn’t stop drawing at the end of my design studies.”
“If you could ask your favorite artists anything you wanted, what would you ask?”
“I’d ask them for their art director contact lists. Haha no, I think I’d just like to chat about art business…getting jobs, sending portfolios, managing social media, that stuff is always interesting to me as there’s no right or wrong and everyone has their own techniques.”
Stefan Große Halbuer
Remembering an artist’s name shows that you care. It’s not all about the artwork, but also who created it! If you could ask Stefan Große Halbuer any question, which one would it be? Post it in the comments down below!