Felix Scheinberger - A Passion for Illustration Is Far More Important Than Talent (Artist)

Felix Scheinberger

Felix Scheinberger, born in Frankfurt in 1969 studied in Hamburg, where his teachers were Erhard Göttlicher and Klaus Ensikat.

Scheinberger already engaged in exhibitions and obtained his first illustration-assignments while still attending university. He was able to follow on immediatly upon finishing university and has illustrated over 50 books within the last ten years. He has regularly published his works in newspapers and magazines and has also worked for several theaters. 

Scheinberger taught Drawing at the Hamburg, Mainz and Jerusalem. 

Since 2010 Scheinberger is the Vize President of the germans Illustrators Organization (IO).

Since 2010 He is a professor for drawing and Illustration at the University of Applied Sciences / Department of Design In Münster

Felix Scheinberger

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

A common answer to this is like "I was painting already in my childhood“. But this is what probably everyone can say. To be honest I had started sketching when I was about 17 or 18. Before, I just wanted to make music. 

I was a drummer in several punk and independent bands and being a musician guided me to sketching - I drew posters for the bands and small comicstrips for fanzine magazines. Drawing came late and was getting real intense not before studying illustration at university. In the beginning there was this bridge between music and my sketches, and you can see it still in my drawing style. 

2.What inspired you to pursue art?

Traveling, being outside, urban sketching.

3. How would you describe your style and aesthetics?

It is not so easy to describe our "own style“(...Normely we self are the last who recognize that what we call „our own style). I think it is always a mixture...things we like and are some kind of easy for us...themes we find interesting and of course other artists...this is not easy to describe..like we are sometimes unable to describe ourself and our personal life. 

My Illustrations are very much based on drawings. Drawing and illustration do not necessarily require. You can make wonderful drawings and still can not produce good illustrations. There are illustrators who can just not draw. They might make collages, models, vectorize them, or work exclusively digital. It does not have to depend on drawing. 

Felix Scheinberger

Nevertheless, drawing could be sometimes very important. So it is a good way to design things. As a designer one had to make ideas visible. And that is not simply by the fact that you googled something. (In addition, you can find on the Internet only things that already exist). Good ideas can not be googled. And you can not just take pictures. 

They exist only in our head. For this I find drawing important- Ideas can not be photographed, but you can draw them very well. I believe illustration is primarily the art of telling stories with pictures. If you love stories you are interested in nearly all stories. In addition, I think that it is good to always expand your own horizon. 

It is good to be interested in other things ... we do not only profit by ourselves, our art also benefits from this! The world in which we live is so big, wonderfull  and interesting, it would be a pity if we could not fill such a short life with all the interesting things. Illustration appears to me a good way. It is likeable and it gives the world a bit of all the good stories back!

Felix Scheinberger

4. How does your work comments on current youth?

At the Moment I work on a super interesting project that is connected to the younger generation, specally here in my hometown berlin. Berlin is known for its party scene and nightlife. The big techno clubs in particular don't want pictures of the party life. So you can e.g. 

Do not take cell phones or cameras into the clubs. You have to be handed in at the entrance. However, nobody has a problem if you take a sketchbook with you to the clubs. (In addition, I have already drawn posters or flyers here in Berlin, for example for Berghain or Kitkat, so I know the people who are responsble). 

I have always drawn in the clubs for the past three years. I have party guests, people who work there, DJs draw the bouncers and so on and all of these sketches will come out as a book in the spring. The project is called "Kinder der Nacht" and it will be published by EMF Verlag in Munich in May.

5. How do you overcome a creative block?

I try to realize myself, that procastinating is the fear of making mistakes. What we call "fear of the white sheet" has always existed with artists. Illustrators , graphic designers, writers and thousands of other creative professionals have been battling it for generations. I bet that 17,000 years ago in Lascaux, France they called it the fear of the blank cave wall. It’s a mystery. 

Why do we make things so difficult for ourselves sometimes? Why not just grasp the artistic moment and get to work? In my Opinion, the famed fear of the blank page is nothing more than the fear of making mistakes. It’s the fear of not living up to our own or someone else’s expectations; the fear that it might not “turn out well.” Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of “mistakes” then. 

At the computer, we deal with mistakes with Apple Z. It may be simple, but it doesn’t help in the real world because it only works for pixels, not for pencils. In the real world, mistakes don’t just go away. Also, using undo means we are losing an important benefit of mistakes: learning from them. When we are irritated by a mistake and can’t make it go away with a snap of our fingers, it remains in our memory. 

Felix Scheinberger

Not being irritated means forgetting it, means repeating it. If we don’t get irritated by a mistake, we’ll make it again. But there’s another interesting thing about mistakes: they are full of creative potential. If all we produce is whatever we can produce without mistakes, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity of discovering uncharted waters. Creative processes thrive on the unexpected, the uncontrollable, yes, on mistakes. 

Sometimes that stupid drop of coffee or the false stroke is exactly the thing that will give us new ideas and better drawings. So I try to remind myself that, the fear of the blank page is unnecessary. And that  for two reasons, first because mistakes are normal and everyone, beginners and pros – make them, secondly because mistakes sometimes move us forward. So my advice is to allow yourself to feel the fear of the blank page like actors allow themselves to have stage fright. 

It exists and even old hands battle it now and then. Get out on the stage and begin. If you make mistakes, you make mistakes. It’s a bigger mistake to let it hold you back. You’ll see, your illustrations will surprise and reward you and someday you’ll be proud of some of those successful “mistakes.”

Felix Scheinberger

6. Who is your favourite artists and why?

The French Artist Tomi Ungerer has always inspired me because he put the world on paper with just a few strokes, with sharp-tongued and humorous drawings. For me it was always fascinating to see how much ingenuity and imagination there is in his drawings. 

For example, he has always understood how to bring a humorous side to serious or sad situations. his drawings also have a political relevance and are not just “decoration”. He has always succeeded in capturing the essentials in a situation or a drawing. without unnecessary lines. He is a master at really getting things to the point: he is a master at reduction, he can tell a story with just one stroke.

7. What message would you give to aspiring artists?

I would tell something about the overrate idea of talent. Remember gym class? It was a strange, weekly ritual devised to prove to some that they would never be able to climb that rope, while to others it was their easy compensation for bad grades in English. Only those who were already good at it did well, while most young couch potatoes banned sports from their lives as soon as they were able. 

In illustration we encounter people with exactly the same experience as in gym class. In this case, though, it’s not about physical abilities or inabilities, but about that thing called “talent." Because like with sports, the belief seems to be that people who can draw and illustrate were given that talent at birth. 

Of course, the reverse argument would be that if a person shows they cannot draw, they won’t be able to learn it. And since you cannot possibly have a chance against the competition’s Godgiven talent many people just put their pencil aside for good. I have a few things to say about talent: Drawing is one of the first art techniques that we learn as children. 

Felix Scheinberger

Long before we learn reading, writing and arithmetic we are already experienced in using wax crayons and paper. Not only that, but we all had fun doing it. When we look at our childhood drawings today, we are often surprised at how freely and exuberantly we used the medium to draw a sun, a chicken, a house, daddy, mommy, and child. We were – according to conventional thought – talented. 

So why didn’t we all turn out to be master drafters? Why isn’t the planet populated with legions of illustrators? One part of the answer lies in our expectations. Behind the drawing child there is often an adult saying, “What a pretty picture!” This praise, along with the later destructive words, “Don’t make such a mess,” produces a strange life of its own with regard to our careers. 

It is self-fulfilling. The pleasure of being praised becomes an end in itself and gradually replaces the pleasure of drawing a picture “ just for fun.” Thus almost all children enter a phase when they begin tracing and wanting their pictures to look “like the real thing.” Drawing – a moment ago communication and talent. Talent means energy and perseverance and nothing more. the start. 

Many of the “talents” of whom great futures were predicted later took very different pathways. Conversely, many a purported “weaker” students later made their way. In my experience, personal commitment plays the biggest role. If you’re lazy, your “talent” won’t get you anywhere. What you can’t learn is to be interested. But when we sustain pleasure in drawing it puts a positive automatism in motion. 

If we enjoy doing it, we do it often and if we do it often, we do it well. So in my opinion the word “talent” is more than overrated. A passion for illustration is far more important than talent. creativity – becomes a vehicle for gaining approval. On the other hand, the fear of no longer being able to do justice to other people’s expectations blocks creativity. 

Felix Scheinberger
Very early on we stop drawing pictures for their own sake and instead draw for assumed critics or admirers. As we get older our demands on our own artistic skills increase and reach their limits, and we don’t hear such ready praise from the lips of our elders. And later, when we enter the art academies as freshmen, we quickly learn that the competition hasn’t been sleeping. 

Yet we humans are learning creatures. When we enter the world we can’t do anything but eat, sleep and digest. Everything else – playing the piano, cooking preserves, judo – has to be learned. I suspect that the thing that we commonly call “talent” mainly means “early encouragement.” 

Naturally, music lessons are easier for the children of musicians, but mainly because they were familiar with music at a younger age. Whether they will really become outstanding and successful musicians, though, also depends on the factors of effort, work, commitment, pleasure and inventiveness. Most illustrator careers fail due to the way illustrator careers are perceived and the ostensible lack of talent. 

When I look back at my own studies and compare the career predictions made about us students with today’s reality, I can say that the “winners” were by no means recognizable at the start. Many of the “talents” of whom great futures were predicted later took very different pathways. Conversely, many a purported “weaker” student later made their way. 

In my experience, personal commitment plays the biggest role. If you’re lazy, your “talent” won’t get you anywhere. What you can’t learn is to be interested. But when we sustain pleasure in drawing it puts a positive automatism in motion. So in my opinion the word “talent” is more than overrated. A passion for illustration is far more important than talent. If we enjoy doing it, we do it often and if we do it often, we do it well.

8. Which is your favourite book and why?

'Krabat“. A Fairy tale from the german Author Otfried Preussler. It is the story of a poor beggar boy who falls under the spell of a school for black magic and who is redeemed through the love of a girl. Ist sounds kitschi but In my opinion, it's one of the best books ever written. If you don't know: It's my recommendation!

Felix Scheinberger

Felix Scheinberger


Interviewed By - Anshika Maurya

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