Oliver Weiss Design
Oliver Weiss Design

Selected Clients
Professional Milestones
Biography in Brief
Working in Different Styles





BERLIN: +49-30-13896028
NYC: +1-718-213-4670




Children's Illustrations
Showcase Book Design


INFO > Interview with PSD Photoshop Magazine

Art: Interview with PSD Photoshop Magazine
Never Stop Getting Inspired
||| Interview: Magdalena Mojska

Oliver Weiss is an illustrator from Germany who works in a variety of different techniques ranging from whimsical drawings to mixed-media collage artwork. His clients from twenty years include Random House, Rowohlt, Reed Business, DIE ZEIT, The Christian Science Monitor, DER SPIEGEL, Deutsche Bank, and the Munich Oktoberfest.



The cover of PSD Photoshop Magazine

PSD Photoshop Magazine
(Oct 2010)



PSD Photoshop Magazine is a magazine with international circulation that shows its readers the secrets of the most popular image-editing application, Adobe Photoshop. It offers instruction in retouching photos and gives ideas and inspiration for creating various projects using Photoshop’s tools and filters.
>SUCEEDING AS A FREELANCE ILLUSTRATOR: Interview with FreelanceSwitch.

>ELTERN MAGAZINE: Oliver's first illustration was published when he won a contest at the age of ten.


>3x3 MAGAZINE: Lunch with Oliver Weiss.

>OKTOBERFEST AWARD: Interview with Münchner Merkur.

liver, could you tell us a few words about yourself?
     Oliver Weiss: I remember the first time a drawing of mine ever got published was in a large parenting magazine in Munich when I was ten years old. The school had entered an art competition, and my drawing yielded an award that paid for a hiking trip for my class. I guess that’s when it all got started. I have always wanted to be an illustrator, and for me being able to work in this field professionally is like a dream come true, especially given that I come from a wholly different background in engineering and science.

What do you like the most about being a digital artist? Why do you think it is worth to choose this profession?
     Oliver Weiss: Most of what I do is created and assembled directly on the computer, so I think it is fair to call me a digital artist, even though I still do use pen, pencil, paint and glue from time to time. It is such fun getting up in the morning and having a whole day of art ahead of you. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else these days. I am always at awe that I am actually making a living from doing fun little images all the time.

I think what is so exceptional about the art of illustration is that unlike fine art that hangs in galleries and museums your illustration needs to fit with a given topic or an article in a magazine, and this commercial aspect of it all gives you an immediate feedback about your work. I find that very gratifying. I also like working with editors and publishers, and crave to see the final product. I feel the best concepts are those that are receiving constructive critique on behalf of the client, and the final result is often (though not always) better than what I would have been able to come up with on my own.

Are there any downsides of being an illustrator?
     Oliver Weiss: As with every profession, I am sure there are negative sides to being an illustrator. I am a freelancer, like most of us, which means that in lack of an employer you need to motivate yourself to get to work. Also, you only make money once you actually nail a given project. You don’t have regular working hours and sometimes have to pull an all-nighter. The very concept of “vacationing” is unheard of. The royalties are usually quite low, and so forth... But frankly, for me these aren’t really downsides but rather essentials that go with the profession and make it exciting. I am not sure that my peers will agree with me here, but this is how I feel. So all put together I don’t see a great deal of downsides to the profession as such.


Biggest Achievements & Ideas

Tell us about your biggest achievements. What are you especially proud of?
     Oliver Weiss: I don’t really think I am “proud” of anything I have done, as pride is not a term that I can relate to. I do feel happy about a variety of projects I have been lucky to be involved in, even though I am not really looking back on my “achievements” all that much. I often feel the happiest when I am working on a new project, and I am sensing that it is turning out nicely.

“I often feel the happiest when I am working on a new project, and I am sensing that it is turning out nicely.”

That said, there have been a number of lovely projects that I feel good about to this day. One such project is my Oktoberfest poster design award from 2008 which came about through a competition that I was invited to take part in. My design was chosen to be displayed on posters, beer steins and kitchenware, and on a great deal of apparel, too. That was really cool.

Another venture that proved quite fortunate was my jacket design for a book on philosophy written by Richard David Precht. It got published by Random House, and has evolved into Germany’s bestselling nonfiction title currently, selling well over a million copies so far, with no end in sight.

I also enjoy assignments I do for DIE ZEIT, Germany’s largest weekly newspaper. In one such project I designed a large poster on the history of German parties since 1848. I used rivers as visuals for the political streams coming from the left, the right, and the liberal middle. The fun thing about the poster was that there was very little art direction involved, and so first I had to educate myself about the hundreds of German parties that evolved over the years through a PhD thesis from the 1960’s that they handed me, and through complementary research on the web before I was able to come up with suitable imagery.

A really fun product that will come out this fall is a number of packaging designs for coffee, tea, sugar, flower and the like that I created for a large manufacturer of tin boxes. I am really excited about seeing them up for sale in the store shelves soon.

Where do you get your ideas from?
     Oliver Weiss: Actually, the ideas come with the given assignment. It’s not like I have a preconceived mindset about a specific topic, but rather, once I tackle a project I need to get into things rather quickly, often within minutes. You develop a sense of coming up with visuals swiftly though I guess this comes with the profession after doing it for a while. Typically, I conjure up a small handful of concepts before getting to work on the final art.


Advice for the Novice

Any advice for the beginners in this field?
     Oliver Weiss: I think it is important to keep in mind that the profession of illustration is not all about drawing fun little pictures, but it is about running a business. The business of illustration, as I see it, is not so much about getting paid for art that you enjoy creating, but you get paid for creating art that pleases the client. Ideally, of course, both sides of the story will be addressed to in the process.

I have come to learn that many of my peers are lacking common business sense big time.

I have come to learn that many of my peers are lacking common business sense big time. One of the greatest mistakes that artists make is that they are outsourcing all issues dealing with business matters and legal stuff. I think that is a big mistake, and quite irresponsible at that. As a freelancer you need to be in full control of your goings-on, and understand all financial matters. By this token, never sign a contract without knowing what exactly it says. I usually draft my own contracts, or modify the client’s contract to my liking. Also, never spend more money than you make, and always leave a little on the side, especially when you are starting out.

As far as the artistic aspects of the profession are concerned, I recommend learning as much as you can, and see to it that you never stop getting inspired – not only by art, of course, but by the multitude of things going around us. Art is all about creativity, inspiration, and fun, and you shouldn’t lose that on the way.

Also, it might be good to know for those starting out that even though the world is your market nowadays, there are substantial cultural differences that need to be taken into account. For example, if you are working for the American market, which in my view is the largest and most versatile in the world, you need to know that art directors don’t like it when you give them more than one style. Europe is probably the least restrictive market in that regard, but unfortunately the market for illustration isn’t all that large, particularly in German-speaking countries.

What do you currently work on? Do you have any ideas for your future projects?
     Oliver Weiss: I got a number of things lined up for the future. I am working on some concepts for books, and in the longer run I also want to focus a little more on doing paintings and artwork for galleries. [2010]

(c) 1989–2018 Oliver Weiss Design Up! 
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