Andreas Preis: “Don’t wait for anything to happen, just start it yourself!”

I got my first real illustration job through my portfolio on Behance.

Introducing Andreas Preis

Based in Berlin and Barcelona, German designer and artist Andreas Preis caught our attention when he started publishing his hand-painted ‘work in progress’ skateboard project on Behance. We reached out to him to try and understand how he makes things happen, and he was kind enough to quickly reply and share some amazing insights! This is a summary of our conversation.

Thank you for your time, Andreas. Let’s start with a big question: what were your main inspiration sources for your hand-painted skateboard project?

I’ve been working for Landyachtz Longboards for years, creating lots of different designs with animals for them. I also made lots of different personal projects where I incorporated some animals. So when I started this project I wanted to bring one of my owls on this board. I’ve always liked to really work with the shape when painting things, which is often a bit harder to do when you want to print files and need to create some kind of ‘All-Over-Design’. So in this case, I wanted to really fill every little corner in with my ornaments. Since the owl and natural wood already have a little bit of a native look, I tried to go completely in an Indian direction.

What were the main struggles and advantages you faced by doing this by hand, as opposed to designing everything on Illustrator and printing it afterwards for example?

The main disadvantage is, of course, that there is no going back. Especially on wood, if you make a mistake, there’s not a lot that you can do – except for integrating it somehow. Also, working with symmetry is lot easier in Illustrator or Photoshop, where you can just mirror everything. On the other hand, I just grew up drawing so for me sometimes it’s still easier to get some harmonic shapes by drawing by hand instead of creating some kind of vector.

When you paint an object, you can just use every little detail of that shape. If you have to print it afterwards, it’s often a bit difficult because there are always some restrictions. But you can redo lots of stuff, change details, change colors, change sizes, and so on. So that’s of course a big advantage, especially when working for clients! But in the end, for me, it’s always nice to leave my screen for a while and work with something ‘real’.

Funny thing with this project: Landyachtz saw that board and liked it so much, I had to create a printing file afterwards. I did it with real drawings on paper and Photoshop. It turned out quite well, but from what I’ve heard, it took them a bit to get it perfectly attached. That project is on Behance.

How did other creatives’ feedback on Behance help encourage you as you developed your project and posted new updates?

Since this was quite a personal project, to be honest I didn’t really care that much. I had my own idea already, but of course I really liked getting some feedback. Even if you have everything planned, you can always get some new ideas by being open to feedback from others. Sometimes you even misunderstand somebody, but that gives you a new way of thinking anyway.

I’m working on a new personal project called Animal Poker, where I create real drawings that will become print files later. In this case, I always check what people write, what they think about my colour choices, the layouts, and so on. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t. But it’s always encouraging to get feedback and reactions.

How has Behance helped expose your work? What are the main benefits you got from using it to publish your projects?

A lot! I got my first real illustration job through my portfolio on Behance (and it was for Nike!). I get requests all the time. I’ve been using it for almost 6 years now and got featured a few times, so it’s been quite helpful. It’s very easy to handle, even if you know very little about programming. Since I also use ProSite, I’m quite happy with it.

How do Berlin and Barcelona differ in terms of the overall ‘creative vibe’ and how do you make use of that to inspire of your work?

That’s not so easy to say, since I’ve been living in Berlin for years, but I only stayed in Barcelona for a few weeks or months every now and then. The main difference for me would be that in Barcelona it seems even harder to get clients that really are based in that particular region. The city is not cheap and people’s salaries are quite low. So on one hand it’s cool for me, since my clients are spread around the world anyway, but on the other hand it’s a bit of a strange feeling. I just haven’t been there long enough to build any kind of network or however you want to call it.

As for the city itself, it’s incredibly beautiful. There are so many buildings that just look like straight from a fantasy movie. Ornaments everywhere, little towers, mosaic windows… still, in Berlin I have the perfect mix of everything: low costs (still, no matter what people tell you!), lots of artists, musicians, concerts, exhibitions, nice parks, great restaurants, so basically whatever you want, you’ll find it somewhere in Berlin. The quality of life there is just amazing, which plays a big part in my own productivity.

What advice can you share with young designers and illustrators to make their ideas happen?

Do it! Lots of people are just talking all the time about ideas or ‘projects’ that they want to do some day. Don’t wait for anything to happen, just start it yourself! Sometimes it’s good to just go right into it. If you try things, you learn things. If you want to achieve anything in this industry, you have to work for it. All those people you think are ‘sooo talented’? More than anything else, I bet they’ve been really disciplined and diligent. Oh, and don’t forget to be nice! 🙂

Over to you

Is discipline as important as talent? What’s holding you back when you want to make things happen? Share your thoughts with us by tweeting your thoughts with #MakeYourselfHappen.