After 12 years of doing visual effects for movies like "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" of Roman Polanski´s "Oliver Twist", Alex Broeckel found his passion for illustration. Since then, he has worked for clients from advertising, TV or the game industry and is happy about the variety and challenge that every new project has to offer.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Alex: After working for 12 years as "Lightning Technical Director" in the movie business (I did visual effects for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Roman Polanskis Oliver Twist) I felt that this work is not creative enough- several people working on a single scene for months. So I switched fields within the movie business and started working as concept artist and mattepainter- helping the makers with the visualization of their ideas. The big advantage was that I was able to be creative again. The jobs ended with images that I was able to be proud of again because I did it entirely by myself and not only a tiny part of it. Coming from there, the step towards illustration was only small. With the background of visual effects, I feel most comfortable with jobs that are realistic and live from the atmosphere of light. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Alex: No, there is something new to learn every day! Question: Where do you live? Alex: I was born in Freiburg, Germany and spent a few years in Munich and in London. Since 2010 I live with my girlfriend and two dogs in a small fruit- and wine area in the Palatinate, close to Bad Duerkheim- and don´t want to live anywhere else. Question: Can you describe your studio for me? Alex: In our apartment, I have my Studio with a large desk with 3 monitors, which are so bright that I could use them as a solarium - and 2 dog baskets. Since I work digitally, I only need little space for my work. The most important thing about my workspace is that it is only 50m away from a park, were I get the best ideas for my projects by sitting on a bench in the sun. Question: What is your biggest inspiration? Alex: I started in the movie business, and that with a good reason: I love films! Loud and quiet, funny and sad. Question: How do you get the best ideas? Alex: As I said, by going to the park with the dogs and what also works well is night work. I have not found out why, but from 10pm until 4am, when everything is quiet and dark outside, I get a creative boost which really pushes me forward. Question: What technique do you use? Alex: Completely digital on a MacPro. Mostly I work with a mixture of Photoshop (2D) and Modo 501 (3D). Question: Tell us about a favorite project you have recently completed. Alex: I was able to develop some visual concepts for a client from the surroundings of Michael Bay for a new film project. But that´s all I can say about it. But it was the most exciting project in a while. Question: What would be your dream job/Commission? Alex: I like visual effect. Therefore I am really interested in things that look real, but are not actually possibly real rather "invisible effects". Question: Do you keep a sketchbook? Alex: No, but I have a non-romantic tablet PC for sketches, which runs photoshop. I don´t always carry it with me, but when I do, I can go into full color from the beginning and don´t have to draw lines with a pencil. Question: What are your hobbies? Alex: Did I mention films yet? Apart from that I manage to draw also in my free time, digitally and on my tablet. But the strict rule is that no one gets to see it, ever. Only then it is still just for fun! Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Alex: I would be in the credits of Michael Bay´s "Transformers" as Senior Lighting Technical Director. An offer I turned down in order to switch to digital painting. Question: Who would you like to meet? Alex: Those personalities that I was able to meet so far, turned out to be not so nice to meet… Maybe that´s why I now can´t think of anyone. Question: If you could travel back in time, where would you go to? Alex: Not that far, end of the 19th century. World exhibition in Paris. Question: What kind of music do you listen to? Alex: I don´t have a certain area. I listen to everything from electric to classic, depending on my mood and the project. The nice thing about working alone at home is that I can turn up the music as loud as I want. Question: What is the funniest thing you have ever done? Alex: I am totally humorless and never do anything funny. Never ever. Question: If you won the lottery, would you still work as illustrator? Alex: Hmmmmm, hmmmmm. No, not at first. I would take off for a few years and illustrate a graphic novel, something I have wanted to do for a while now. But I know one thing for sure, I was always the happiest, when I had something to do. I like creating things and cannot imagine not to be creative for a reason. So I would probably go back to illustration after a few years absence. Question: Do you collect anything? Alex: Films! That one was tough to guess, right? And illustrated books of all kinds and themes.