Conceptual Art of Michael Kutsche

Currently working in San Francisco as a character designer for upcoming film ‘John Carter of Mars’ (2012), led by ‘Wall-E’ director Andrew Stanton, it is easy to see how Michael Kutsche’s vision as an illustrator is in high demand. The striking realism of his designs and the skill exhibited in his conceptual illustrations make it hard to believe that Michael, originally from Germany, has undergone no formal training in art or design. He has taken time out of a busy schedule to talk to me.

‘Coming Home’ – mostly Painter, Photoshop tweaks:
michael kutsche illustration

Empire – Total War for PC Gamer – Painter and Photoshop:
michael kutsche illustration

When asked how he got into the illustration he now does, he explained that drawing was always a passion since childhood, preferring much more to play around on his own than to listen to a teacher. In this way, Michael ended up teaching himself, never studying art or design.

No matter if it was a crayon or a chunk of clay back then or some new 3d software like nowadays, diving into it and trying to find out the mechanism behind it is one of the most exciting parts in the creative process‘.

Medieval 2 Kingdoms Artwork – Photoshop only:
michael kutsche illustration

‘Freya’ – Painter X and Photoshop CS3:
michael kutsche illustration

Michael tries to avoid approaching each piece in the same way before drawing so that he doesn’t fall into the trap of a becoming a painting facility, repeating the same style and theme again and again. ‘I like the idea of the renaissance, where the artist would often be an inventor, a scientist and a craftsman‘. Michael therefore likes to experiment with his techniques, both digitally and with traditional media, switching between techniques.

michael kutsche illustration

michael kutsche illustration

ⓒ Michael Kutsche, 2009

As well as working on Andrew Stanton’s new film, Michael has just finished working as a character designer on Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010) and plans to continue working as a designer in the film industry. ‘There’s also several plans for personal projects, one of them is a gallery exhibition with my traditional paintings, as well as an animation-related project‘.

Good luck, Michael!

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2 Comments

  1. Amazing work! With no formal training this is truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

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