I could lose myself looking through Samuel Schuhmacher's illustrations for hours on an end. The intricate drawings are full of life and small details. So I made a meditative game out of trying to find the letter hidden inside each picture every day. But now back to Samuel. I interviewed him about his career, his style and his background.
Would you like to introduce yourself and talk a bit about your background?
I'm Samuel Schuhmacher, I live and work as a freelance illustrator and comic artist in Zurich. I finished my illustration studies at the Kunsti in Lucerne a few years ago and these days I'm mainly creating hidden object pictures for various clients from the private sector and public institutions.
Not sure, I was definitely influenced by my childhood favourites, the Frankobelgian comics like Asterix or Lucky Luke. They were my first love, I continue to love them today, and they influence my current style.
What subjects are particularly close to your heart?
I'm interested in the small, seemingly unspectacular stories in life, both in my comic stories and in my hidden object pictures. I am convinced that every life, no matter how boring it may seem at first glance, offers enough material for a good story. The nicest compliment I once got was that you can tell from my hidden object pictures and stories that I like the people I portray.
Where did you grow up and did that have an influence on the course of your life? Or also on your drawings?
I grew up in Hettlingen near Winterthur ZH. It was a picture book childhood, I could always play outside on the cul-de-sac or draw for hours in my room while listening to the three question marks (a well-known German children’s book series). Since my mother was a kindergarten teacher, there was a large selection of children's books and picture books at home. The community library was also super important to me: I could borrow all the comics and radio plays I wanted, which was important for my later development as a drawer and dialogue writer. I also created theater plays with Playmobil figures for my little brother, that also had a role to play in my artistic development. Essentially, I still do exactly the same thing today as I did as a child: I play. Drawing is a game in which you can process everything.
I'm currently working on a picture book project, for which I am in the final stages - all the drafts are done and I'm in the process of finishing them up while listening to audio books. I'm also on tour in Germany and Europe with my band Prince Jelleh, which is a lot of fun!
What is the most challenging thing in your life right now?
I would say balancing everything. I have so many things I like doing and even more that I would like to do. At the same time, I need to make money and that means I have to let go of some projects. I'm currently trying to find a balance between commissioned work and my own projects, and I do cancel an assignment once in a while so I have time to work on a first long comic of my own...
The beauty of comics is that the person reading chooses the pace in which they read, which is not the case with other visual media, like film. Comics also have their own way of captivating readers. I think that's because of the crazy mix of dialog and drawings. Plus, drawings are something very personal - you can feel the author’s presence in the pages.
Thanks Samuel for the interview and the great comic images this month!
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