To start with, i speak no German and I felt like a typical brit abroad.. speaking loudly and slowly in a slightly patronising manner... not intentional but luckily the german people speak english much better than some of us and are very tolerable. :)
First things first, as part of our 3rd year we are to act more professionally and start visiting local studios/designers for feedback on our portfolios and to create some contacts for networking in the future after graduation. Setting up contacts/appointments in a foreign country is a very daunting task, but luckily we were given a helping hand and had some already arranged for when we landed. I joined a few of the 2nd and 1st year illustrators in a visit to see Eboy (blog & shop) although more specifically Svend, one of the original members of Eboy still situated in Berlin (The other two members, Steffen and Kai, have actually relocated to Canada). Svend was very kind in showing us around his studio and answering all of my annoying questions on how they go about working, what its like collaborating and what process they go through to create their work. One of my main questions was about how they managed to take their artwork from posters and apply it to other formats, as I too want take my own designs and put them on snowboards, tshirts, toys, or anything I can. For example, their pixel style didnt quite work as vinyl toys at first and so it changed into the PeeCols we see today and their custom wooden toys. I gained a lot of useful info from Svend about working as collaborative, how the work is shared equally between each member and since their work is a single style, only they know which member has created which elements. Like many professional illustrators, they have built up a library of elements that they can delve into and re-use to save time.. however I'm not sure if i can get away with that. Similarly they tend not to sketch out every idea and possibility but work straight onto the computer using a grid for the layout/isometric pixel style. What always surprises me is how the artists and illustrators i like say they often fell into a particular style or area of work, there doesnt seem to be a set way of breaking into the industry.. sadly...
Whilst there, I also took the opportunity to show Svend my portfolio... now I dont think anything in particular jumped out at him, there was nothing he was truly excited about... but at the same time there was nothing he despised! It is a rough portfolio at the moment and I asked whether there was anything in particular he thought I could improve on but instead commented that it was good to see a range of work, not just one style. We got chatting about hiding behind an alias and creating any work I wanted in any style I liked, but soon spotted the flaws and downsides to that... apparently we were talking for quite a while and we didnt want to take up too much of Svend's time... but could've probably carried on for hours! :)
I also tried setting up a 2nd visit with Tim Robot (blog) who has a similar working style/theme and interests as myself... however the only day available for the visit was the last day of our trip, before his exhibition opening and it also clashed with our plans before packing up and going home. Now I am gutted that I didnt get chance to visit Tim, since work wise, we seemed to be similar in my opinion.. however I have already asked him if it would be possibly to send him a digital portfolio and some questions about his work and succeeding as a freelancer. I'm going to form some coherent questions and finally get in touch with some people.. :)