Solomon Amstutz: Specular Reflection

Straight out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania comes the man with the detailed plan. Solomon has done artwork for suchs bands as Children of Bodom, Between the Buried and Me and Every Time I Die. He has a fluid drawing style with just the right amount of details to not make the work look too busy. Ladies and Gentleman…Solomon Amstutz.

How did you get your first paying art job?
I got my first paying job from Emptees  Double J from Victory records was looking for designs for Silverstein, and mine was accepted.  It was the first time I starting thinking that I could make money with my art and form a career out of it.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I like to constantly grow and change as an artist, and because of that I think my style has shifted in various ways throughout the years.  I’ve always been really obsessive about details, and that’s something I think has stuck with me, no matter how my style has changed.  When I first started out, I did a lot of loud “Hot Topic” style designs, mostly because that’s what bands were looking for at the time.  I still like to do some cartoony stuff every once in a while, but I think my style lends itself to being more detailed and realistic looking.

Who are your artistic influences?
I have so many influences that it would take far too long to name them all.  When I’m looking for inspiration I like to watch movies (especially weird ones, horror or sci-fi), listen to different kinds of music, read or just browse around and look at other people’s work that inspires me.  I’m a big fan of H.R. Geiger, Florian Bertmer, John Baizley, Ben Gudel, Jeremy Forson, Matthew Woodson…and the list could go on.  I also really like classic tattoo art.  And of course, I can’t forget metal music.  It’s one of my daily inspirations for some of the weirder stuff I do… haha.

What words best describe your artistic style?
Eclectic, detailed, skulls.

Take us through a typical day work day.
I get up whenever my body decides to wake up, make an omlette, check my emails and get to work.  I work so sporadically throughout the day that it’s hard to say I have a schedule.  Sometimes I’ll work from 1-7 a.m. depending on when I went to sleep the previous day.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
When I get a brief from a client, I do some really rough sketching just to get ideas flowing.  I’ll then take that and do a digital sketch, still pretty rough, and send it to the client for approval.  If I get the green light, and move on and do a detailed sketch, then ink it in Manga Studio.  I’ll then export the file to photoshop for all the coloring and to add any other details with PS or Illustrator.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
I use a moleskine and pencil when sketching, sometimes I’ll use micron pens if I want any scanned elements, and most everything is done digitally unless I decide otherwise.  I’ve done a few things that have been strictly pencil and ink and scanned in for a bit of retouching in PS.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
That definitely depends on what I’m doing.  I do use reference material if I’m going for a more realistic feel, but I also do a lot of things straight from my head.  I usually will look at a reference photo just for general proportions of things and then fill in the rest of the detail myself.  I think relying on reference materials too much can hinder originality, unless you’re going for a photo-manipulated look.

Do you listen to the music from a band when you are creating their work?
Yes, I will listen to whatever band I’m working on a project for on repeat.

What merch companies do you work for? And is it difficult to get in touch with them?
I’ve done work for a lot of different merch companies.  A lot of times I won’t deal with them directly, as it’s the band or management that is in contact with me, but the companies I have been in direct contact with have been great!

Do you enjoy working with the companies or direct with the bands more?
I don’t know if I have a preference for that.  Some bands are amazing to work with and are very specific about what they want and have great ideas, while others are super vague and seem like they really don’t care what I do, as long as it looks “cool” or “metal”.  I usually do like to be in direct contact with a band, just because it cuts out the middle man with communication, but merch companies are a little more business savvy when they deal with me.

What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on a couple shirt designs for UnderOath’s summer tour, the “Illuminatour” and Sick Of It All’s new album artwork.  I can’t really say much more about either of them though ;)

Do you have any dream projects?
I would love to do a collab piece with Jacob Bannon for Converge.  I think that would be mind blowing.

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
That’s another one I could go on about forever.A few of my favorites of all time are Radiohead, Thursday, Circa Survive, Brand New, and Boys Night Out. I’m currently listening to Defeater, letlive., the new Alexisonfire, Transit, and Fences.

Check out Sol’s work at:

About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.