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Watercolour Visions - Interview with Robert Farkas illustrator

Robert Farkas / Astronaut is a four time Threadless winner, creator of numerous TV shows’ headlines. Robi had exhibitions in San Francisco and New York and he is one of our favourite Hungarian illustrators, not just because we are in love with his unique style, but also because he's a super calm person who's always has something nice to tell you. 

When did you find out that you are going to be an illustrator?

As a kid I loved drawing, and in 4th grade I knew that I’m gonna be a car designer or a spaceman. My Mom was very happy that I’m good at drawing as there is a strong artistic influence in our family: I have a painter, sculptor, photographer and also a director among my relatives. Later as a teenager I wanted to be an architect, and also get interested in web design which was more about animation back then, so I got into animation quite seriously and finally I found myself working in a small studio, where I learned a lot. There were not many of us working there but we had loads of jobs and I had enough of the massive work. I started to make illustrations intuitively in my free time, and I loved doing it. I uploaded my works to an online market place and it turned out that people like them. After a while I realised that I make more money designing T-shirt graphics than creating animations, so I made my decision to work as an illustrator and graphic designer

Where did you study?

My Mom wanted me to go to Secondary School  of Visual Arts but I only got in to the furniture design department so I rather decided to go to Frigyes Schulek Technical College. Later I found out that architecture is more maths than drawing. I was struggling through high school, and went to Dennis Gabor College which I left quite soon and started working. In the past few years came up the idea again to move to the US so I thought it would be great to have a degree therefore I went to Budapest Metropolitan University where I received a degree in digital design. Funny enough that in the end we didn’t go anywhere but stayed in Budapest and started a family.

What are you known for?

My most popular works are my fox designs - I made loads of pictures with digital watercolour technique about different animals. Foxes are one of my favourites.

What do you love the most in your job?

Freedom and self expression. I like to express my ideas. Being a restless person I always have many things in mind. Illustration is a therapeutic activity for me that calms me down.

What was your favourite work, what sort of jobs do you like the most?

My biggest favourites are the maps I created for series - Twin Peaks, True Detective, Walking Dead and Stranger Things. Usually I work pretty fast but with these maps I work for weeks: I make some research, lot of sketches before choosing the locations and the right technique for the certain map. I worked a lot on my kids book of astrophysics which I enjoyed a lot too though I feel that writing is not really my strength.

What do you do apart from illustration and graphic design?

I still do animations but less than before, I try to concentrate on illustration and t-shirt design.

What would be your dream job?

Once in my life I’d love to design a proper Hollywood movie poster. A few years ago I almost had the opportunity but in the end they decided for a different style so they gave the job for someone else.

How do you work and how does one of your days look like?

Morning is family time: Fanni wakes us up every morning around 7. We have a coffee and talk about the day with my wife Lili. After that I go to work or start to work from home. I browse through my mails, and now the half of my day is gone. Than I start to work and finish around 6 in the afternoon. After work we take a walk with my wife and our daughter and we head to home, dinner, bath and we watch a talkshow about politics. We are crazy about these kind of programmes.

Who inspires you?

It depends. The basic technique I prefer the most is digital watercolour but I try to experiment with new tools as well. There are a few artist I always keep an eye on: Terry Fan, Budi Satria Kwan and Kris Tate.

How does an idea become reality and what kind of techniques do you prefer?

Ideas usually appear as pictures in my mind while doing monotonous activities. Sometimes I sit by my table as a zombie while images are running around in front of my eyes, so I make sketches of the best ones and let them ripen for a while and get back to them later to recreate the original image I had. Mostly I use Photoshop mixed with some kind of analog technique, but I prefer working digitally as it’s much faster and also because unfortunately there’s no Ctrl+Z in hand-drawing.

What kind of music do you listen to while working?

I love synth pop but I also listen to punk, funk and real old school rap.  I prefer a wide range of genres and there’s always something new added to the list.

What would be your advice to the newcomers in illustration and animation?

Never give up! There is 9 billion people on Earth and all of them could be a potential fan of yours. Opportunities need to be look for! Create bravely and with time the first success will surely arrive!

Would you name a few of your favourite illustrators?

From Hungary Csaba Klement is my favourite, from the international scene I’d name Terry Fan.

Robi's designed for us a set of 5 animal tattoos created of his most popular illustrations - Death Run, The Burning Sun, Midnight Owl, Plattensee Fox and our biggest favourite Rorschach -  in beautiful characteristic watercolour style. Animal Instincts temporary tattoo collection is available from our shop, HERE!