I just recently found these 2 pictures. When I read Arnie´s article Beginnings about many of my idols, a while back I got to look around in my computer after old pictures. I realised that to find the kind of really old stuff, I was looking for, I had to go outside the computer. That was when I found my old portfolio with illustrations from when I was 16 to 18 year old. And that was when I found this old cover of a ranger. Back then I didn’t have a computer and never new about the internet, so there is a reason why I did not have scans of anything on my computer. The ranger was for an underground Role-playing magazine called Saga published in a couple of hundred copies in Denmark. Nevertheless it was my first cover being published and I remember feeling like the King of the World, the day I got it in the mailbox ( the old kind of mailbox and not the digital ones ). Being 16 and having an illustration on a cover of anything, blows fire to a smouldering God complex. I was really believing in my own abilities, confident way above my actual skills, but I think the premature success made me work so much harder than I might have. One thing it taught me was that my illustrations needed a finish. They needed to look like real illustrations. I was forced by circumstances to do final illustrations and not just pencil sketches. Someone was waiting for my petty black and white illustrations and I took them very seriously. Staying up on school nights to finished them, and my parents let me.
Thinking back I am glad that I was dragged out of the amateurish closet so early and pushed into the life of a pro. When I finally got to do some real professional work as 18 I was already a seasoned veteran.
Well; enough with the padding myself on the shoulders. When looking through my computer for a newer version of a guy in a forest to put next to the old cover, I found the Borderland Ranger, a Magic card illustration. I am almost embarrassed at how little my choice of motif has changed the last 20 years. Somehow it seemed that I have settled nice and cosy into my niche. Or, I simple do not have anything more to offer than mean looking guys and weapons. The two illustrations is either a proof of simplemindness or of focus or a mix between the two… you decide.
One more thing. It shows how much you can improve you skills in 20 years. It has always been I a kind of satisfying thought to me, that in drawing you can always improve your skills through hard work and lots of lots of drawing…it doesn’t necessarily takes a gift from above or a born talent – though they would be very handy and nice to have. It needs an unbelievable amount of practise, focus and an open mind.