Let’s spend a little time with Benjamin Borucki, a graphic designer from Germany. He has done art for Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Heaven Shall Burn, Suicide Silence, Lunar Aurora and more.
How did you get your first paying art job?
I did the cover for one of the sampler-CDs of the German Metal Hammer Magazine. After that I was contacted by a German Death Metal band called „Burial Vault“. They liked the mentioned cover and wanted to use one of the designs they found on my website for a shirt. I think that was the first payed job. Of course I did covers and shirts before. But that was stuff for my own band „Sonic Reign“ or friends of mine.
Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I always liked to use textures and high contrasts. But I tried and still keep trying to embrace different styles. It is boring to always use the same formula. So I do as many tutorials as possible and read literature on arts etc. to get new input.
Who are your artistic influences?
One of the first artists who really blew my mind was Travis Smith. I am still fascinated by his works. His way to deal with textures and colors had a big influence on me. His pictures transport very intense emotions, which is also something very important for me. Then of course Joachim Luetke, H.R. Giger and many other artists, especially but not only in the metal genre. In times of the internet there are so many artworks, styles, artists to discover that it is impossible to name all of them.
Tell us about your studio space?
It is nothing special. Just a desk, my computer, monitor, a Wacom tablet and some speakers to listen to music while working. All this is in our bedroom, which is pretty nice since I love to sleep a lot, haha. And there is a big glass door leading to the garden which is pretty nice.
Take us through a typical day.
Usually I get up rather late and keep lying awake in bed for some time to gather fresh ideas or just to think about what needs to be done in which order this day. After getting some coffee I start working until I get hungry. Afterwards I go for a walk or just have a short break. Then I work again. Usually till 5 or 6 p.m.. This is followed by some sports and cooking (I love to BBQ) with my wife, sometimes meet friends, read something, play some video-games, watch a movie, or something like that.
How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I usually read the lyrics and listen to the music of the band a couple of times. Then I try to put some pictures or ideas to paper. Just some words, no drawings. I usually take a break and after that and look for the most interesting points on the paper later. I then start creating some basic and rough drafts in photoshop, mostly at first based on stockphotos. If I like it I start to work out some first details and then send it to the band to see if they want me to follow this direction. If not I start all over again, if so I work out details, colors and contrasts until everyone is satisfied.
What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
Nearly everything I do is done on the computer. Most works are based on photos. If additional painted parts are needed I use my Wacom tablet to do that. The photos of course need some extra work, like sometimes building up a fitting background, getting requisites, mixing fake blood, etc. hehe. I enjoy these works very much too.
Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
When I gathered my ideas on paper I usually tend to look which pictures I can find on this topic in the internet. I like to see what other artists did with that idea. To get some inspiration, but also, at least as important as that, to be sure to follow another path in the end. But of course many ideas come from my mind as well.
Do the bands give you any direction?
Yes. Often the bands tell me what their rough ideas are and what kind of style of artworks they usually like. But mostly we discuss this again when I listened to the music a couple of times and developed my own ideas. Seldom there are really concrete ideas that the bands want me to interpret. I like both ways to work.
Do you listen the band’s music when you work on their project?
That is something I absolutely insist on. At least when I am searching the main themes and feelings that need to be visualized in the artwork in order to reflect the character of the music.
So I always ask the band to send me some or better all songs of the album.
Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Besides working hard on your skills, doing tutorials regularly, and getting and maintaining lots of contacts you should always make clear that your work is hard and valuable work and accordingly has its price. I know some artists that really have problems convincing their customers to pay an adequate price. If you want to make a living with desings you need to internalize this business shit as well. Unfortunately.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on some re-releases of the German Black Metal Band „Lunar Aurora“. I already finished most of what they wanted me to do but still some stuff needs to be done. A really nice project, great music and nice people to work with. Beside this I am always preparing some designs for merch which I offer later to my contacts.
Have you ever turned down a project?
Yes I have. I need to be interested in the music of the band and I also need to like the people. Otherwise a project will not be much of fun.
Do you have any dream projects?
Of course it would be nice to do artworks for some of my favorite bands like Arcturus, Opeth, Katatonia, Behemoth, Porcupine Tree etc. Also I would like to do some artworks for movies. But I am very happy and satisfied with the projects I got so far.
What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
Besides the mentioned bands I am a big fan of Emperor, Ihsahn, Satyricon (at least the older stuff), Dark Throne but I also love classical music, Hard Rock Prog Rock etc.
These days I listen to Lonely Kamel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Camel, Metallica, Megadeth, Deep Purple. Hmm.. those are all favs of mine too. I guess the list is long
Who would you like to see featured on MBA?
Joachim Luetke. I must confess that I found out about him not very long ago although I knew many of his works before. My first choice besides him would have been Travis Smith, but you already featured him hehe.