Valp Maciej Hajnrich Interview
Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi guys, my name is Valp and I’m a freelance art director, graphic designer and digital artist. I work and live in a beautiful city of Katowice in south Poland. I grew up in Bielsko-Biala, which is small city about 60 km south. As a teenager, I spent hours playing on my first computers such as Commodore or Amiga, until I had my first PC. That changed everything, so I started to learn and experiment with all the software I had from my friends. That’s how I stumbled upon Photoshop and how the journey of my life began.
When I’m not creating or designing (and that’s what I do most of the day everyday) I just love to go outside, nature is what I absolutely enjoy, no matter what the weather. I enjoy the most sport activities in the forest, such as running or cycling. Also, for good balance, need to drive my car, eat good food, listen to the music and play video games.
When did you first begin to make art?
It was about 18 years ago when I switched from MS Paint to Photoshop. My very first artworks were some simple gaming wallpapers based on a Quake screenshots and abstract wallpapers which were just a random use of Photoshop filters. Seems like digital art and graphic design were my favourite specialisations from the very beginning!
When did you first start using Photoshop and how did you learn?
Books. I still have some of them. It may sound like another world now, but when I started, there was no such place like ShiftArt where you can jump in and access all those brilliant video tutorials explaining how to create art, step by step. Yet I was always curious and really enjoyed experimenting with basically every software I had in my hands. As a self-taught artist, I spent countless hours on experimenting with digital art and that’s probably turned out into my unique graphic style.
From my point of view, knowledge is so much more accessible these days and it would be a shame just to ignore that. I mean those who really want to learn have just never-ending possibilities to level up – so it’s just a matter of few clicks to learn new skills. That’s really inspiring!
What inspires you?
Nature! And I need music in my ears during painting sessions.
What is your typical process when creating a piece of art?
Usually, I start sketching with just doodling. Sometimes I have an idea in my head but instead of chasing this mental image I prefer to follow intuition and create on the go. For example, I want to paint an old forest deity and I know it will be made of roots and branches but I have no idea how his face will look like until I start painting. I will keep painting until I get happy.
I have this small question I’m asking myself: “what to do/paint next?” I mean, not what’s next artwork be like, but this I’m currently working on. So I keep pushing and when I don’t know what to do next I stop. Sometimes it’s good enough and turns out into the nice illustration, the other day I have to abandon it and just leave it.
You may think it’s easy with self-initiated projects but when you want to create something then you just don’t want to give up in the middle. So it’s always a bit of struggling yet for me having fun from creation process is the most important part of the digital painting. Probably even more important than final image. Same apply for both personal and commissioned work.
Where do you get your source materials from?
I use stock images – paid and free – and sometimes I use my own photographs.
What is your favorite Photoshop trick/method at the moment?
This is trick always amazes me: ‘Color Dodge’ blending mode with “Transparency Shapes Layer” turned off in Advanced Blending. The best way to add highlights and reflections to the artwork.
What is your favorite Photoshop tool or plugin at the moment?
Brush Box created by Derrick Barth. This is true life saver for every digital artist working in Photoshop.
What work of your own are you most proud of?
Immersion album art created for Pendulum is a piece I’m the most proud of.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently involved in several projects and album artworks and preparing for some new artist series. There is a lot of new artworks to come!
What would you tell someone who is starting out making Photoshop art?
Have fun with it and don’t get stressed about what other people create or even what they say about your art. Follow your intuition and experiment, especially when you’re following a tutorial see “what if” and use a different brush or texture, change blending mode or use another color. Fail doesn’t matter when you learn, only fun does!