Sandro Rybak is a 28-year-old illustrator from Germany. After studying law for two years he decided it wasn’t what he wanted. ‘’At some point I drew more than I was studying, so that was kind of a hint.’’ Sandro graduated as a graphic designer in 2016 and has been developing his career since.
‘’Just like most people who decide to head into an art direction I started out drawing when I was a kid. I had a hard time expressing myself when I was growing up and I never really fit anywhere. In my arts class I felt at home, like I belonged with those people.’’
What are elements that influence or inspire your work?
‘’When I started out, I believe movies, comics and videogames where my main source of inspiration, but that changed when I got to studying graphic design. Now I get inspired by what I see on a daily basis, such as old advertisements when walking by a store. I take elements from those advertisements and merge them with my own work. Japanese graphic design speaks to me as well. Especially the mix of modern typography and that iconic Japanese design. Japanese art wouldn’t work in European advertisements though, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use certain elements.”
It’s a dream of yours to work on a videogame, but I noticed that you already did concept art for a few of them.
‘’Yeah that’s true, I worked on a mobile card game called Evoker, which was actually my first job. I got that job via a friend. I drew fantasy characters for the card in their game, and I did a couple more jobs in that genre. Also, after I graduated a company called BigBigSun contacted me and offered me a job as a visual developer. At BigBigSun I mostly designed backgrounds and environments. I took it and moved to China for a while, I got back last year (2017), in May. However, at some point I got fed-up with concept art and I completely changed my style.’’
At first you did a lot of concept art and then you decided to head into an entirely different direction, why?
‘’Yeah, I get tired of doing the same thing over and over quickly. I want to try stuff out, find new topics and new ways to express them. Because I’m jumping from one style to another, I sometimes fear I’ll never get amazing at one thing, but on the other hand, exploring new styles makes me happy.’’
Since working on a mobile card game wasn’t quite the goal you had in mind, what kind of game would suffice?
‘’Both triple A games (games published by big companies) and independent games have their positive sides, as working on an indiegame grants you more creative freedom. However, when working on an AAA game there will be way more people enjoying your work, which might be worth the creative restrictions.’’
The illustrations you made for De Correspondent were something entirely new to you. How did you experience working on something like that?
‘’The first job I got in 2018 was a commission designing posters for a nightclub, which I wasn’t happy about at all. I wanted to get work done for a platform where people wanted me for my skills. Then I got contacted by De Correspondent. They passed me a vague idea of what the article was about and let me do my thing. It was a such a fun time project, as I got to work out a new style I had never used for a job before. I always feel good when I get to explore new styles. Seeing my art next to an article for a big website gave me a lot of confidence too.’’
Why do you think platforms like De Correspondent need artists like you to add something to their articles?
‘’I feel like we live in a time where every second counts, so platforms need images to grasp people’s attention. An image should reflect whether an article is worthy of your time. Sometimes having a recognizable image helps when reading an article and an image makes it easier to get into the text. There’s a lot of reasons.’’
How do you stay relevant as a freelancing illustrator?
‘’My main point of advice is to keep working on your own projects and swing them into the great wide open. Use Instagram, Béhance, Artstation or any other visually based platform. I like to compare it with a lure that’s always attracting new fish, and if you use the right bait, one of them might go for it.’’
‘’I’m not really the kind of person that sends people his portfolio when looking for a job, but I know I should. Having an online portfolio and sending it to potential clients are both musts. To me contacting people is a pretty hard thing to do, because I’m a rather shy person. It’s definitely something I have to work on in the future.’’
We hope you enjoyed this article and that you will visit On-Art in the future again. Also, if you liked Sandro Rybak’s illustrations you might want to have another, way longer, look at his various online portfolios on Instagram, Artstation and Béhance.