Ep.101: Nick Runge on why it’s important to draw and paint every day

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Jan 30, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Nick Runge, a watercolor, oil and comic books artist originally living in LA. He is most known as a portrait painter, describing his art “abstracted realism”. In the past, he worked for IDW and Dark Horse.

Get in touch with Nick

Key Takeaways

“Just keep painting! It’s like an exercise, it will suck some days and it will be great other days, but the most important thing is to just paint something, anything.”

Resources mentioned

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Special thanks to Nick for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Nick Runge, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists five days a week. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Nick Runge. And you will learn about his journey and why it’s important to draw and paint every day,

Nick Runge  

paint or draw every single day. So I think it’s things will come along naturally from that, if you’re just doing it so much things will get easier, the time you’re spending will start to seem more like just a normal task in the day. And then that I think that’s what can kind of lead to more of a career always having it in your life every single day. So

Iva Mikles  

Nick is a watercolor oil and comic book artist originally from Colorado, now living and working in Los Angeles, California. He is most known as a portrait painter describing his art as something close to abstract realism. In the past, he worked as an illustrator and cover artists for various comic companies, such as IDW, publishing, Dark Horse Comics, and many others. So please welcome Nick groggy, and let’s get to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have me here. Hi. Nice to meet you. Nice to have you here. And I’m super happy that you took time from your busy schedule to join us here and share some ideas and tips.

Nick Runge  

Oh, so awesome. I really appreciate being here.

Iva Mikles  

My pleasure. And let’s start directly with your background. And maybe you can share some of your childhood stories. Maybe what was your like, first creative outlet? And if you always knew you wanted to be an artist.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, my parents are both artists, my brother’s a painter. So probably since I was, I’d say like four years old, or so I’ve been painting and drawing. And luckily, having a dad who’s an art teacher, college art teacher, pretty much just leads the way as far as encouragement and all that. So yeah, I’ve been drawing as far as, as long as I can remember, it’s hard to watch people have like a first day they started or first experience, but I can’t really remember, it’s just always kind of been there.

Iva Mikles  

So it was like painting at home and all of that.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, definitely I didn’t like I stopped drawing and painting a lot from the time I was probably like 10 until I was about like 15. So I just didn’t, I just just wasn’t doing it. It takes a lot of work. So it’s not putting in the time, but luckily started to pick it back up in high school.

Iva Mikles  

So was there some kind of like a discussion as well with your parents? Maybe when you like told them? Okay, I will take this professionally or they were just expecting you to like go to artistic path?

Nick Runge  

Oh, no. I mean, they, I think they would have been happy with anything I was doing. But since I was drawing all the time, it kind of seemed like things like are you going to pursue this at all. And I started actually going to college for it and then met a comic book writer. So it was kind of the first venture in anything professional was kind of through comics. So that was 2004. And so it was a little hard to convince them to because I didn’t finish college to be like, let’s go right into this. But they’re cool with that. And it’s been pretty good since. So a long road, but I’m still here.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. And which were kind of like a biggest decision points or turning point in your artistic career. If you can take us through that story.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, that was probably there are two of them. One is 2004. When I was 19, I decided I’ll try to just learn more about drawing and perspective and anatomy and all those things and try to start going to Comic Con and all that. So that’s when I thought oh, maybe I can. I don’t know pretend to do this for a while. And I think that was the first time that I really thought maybe because I do drums to music. And that’s really what I wanted to do at that point. It’s like, I was taking drum lessons. And then I thought, well, this is an interesting, it’s always interesting to be kind of invited by someone like, Have you ever thought about this? And so that changed a lot of things. And I just started to go to Comic Con every year and at the same time. My family is very much into fine art. So it was kind of trying to pay attention to both of those worlds. And so the first first year to 2004 2005 was pretty rocky Trying to figure out all of these things again, getting better at drawing and going flying to California and getting to Comic Con and seeing that big world and everything. So that was the first turning point. And that was about, like 11 years of doing illustration and comic book stuff. And then point that I’m at now is I really, because a couple years ago, or it’s 2013, God, it’s crazy how fast it goes. I moved from Colorado out to California. And that was kind of where it started to break away from like, the commercial illustration. And tomorrow, like the fine art started looking at more painters and things like that. So those are like the two big turning points, I think, and how was the

Iva Mikles  

transition for you when you are moving and adjusting to a new city and finding maybe also the galleries to show your art and starting, like to find new paid jobs, basically.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I’m, I’m pretty shy. So that was a tough thing, trying to move away from all of your friends. And I was actually the opportunity I got the got me out to California was working for a game company called Kart games. So that was also strange, like trying to learn more digital art, and trying to expand that to do kind of have two worlds at the same time of traditional painting, and then go into that job. So that was basically the income. So as I’ve went to that during the day, and then I was trying to still do comic books full time at night, so that was like, sleeping three or four hours. And it was great and terrible at the same time. So worked there for almost not quite two years. So during that time, luckily, I had that income to kind of take that burden off. But the real challenge is just like the time. And I feel like nowadays, it’s the other way around, where I have a lot of time to paint, but I’m like how do I make money again? So definitely, pretty different.

Iva Mikles  

So how do you make money now? Or what is your main income? Is it selling your art brains or workshops? Or if you can share, like, how do you combine your income streams?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I mean, now it’s, it’s definitely more of a hustle. Because it was kind of starting over going from illustration to having a day job with art, which is a salary and something that was really cool back to now it’s basically just hustle and pain every day, try to get social media. So I’ll have little sales done on the other day. And it’s basically just kind of scraping by and getting into galleries and things like that. So yeah, the main income sources kind of doesn’t exist, but it’s always every day I asked myself like, should I go look for a job or Is today the day that maybe you’ll paint the thing that someone notices you for and so it’s pretty kind of up in the air at this point. But um, I think was Instagram especially it’s kind of opened this door to being able to make a couple $100 here and there and make the rent and you know, be able to just support myself and yeah, and live with my girlfriend and our dog and make it work so

Iva Mikles  

definitely yeah, because then you can just save up money for you know, like a month or day and then when you do more sales then it’s like more covered. So there is like downtime. Yeah, definitely.

Nick Runge  

Definitely. Yeah, it was it helped a lot to work at that job and just save save save and luckily, I just basically care about painting and not a lot of health care about cars or any of that kind of stuff. I mean there there would be super nice to have a cool one. Now down the road

Iva Mikles  

What about the the galleries when you mentioned like how does it work? You know, when someone wants to go to Gallery do you go around to different galleries to talk to them or you contact them or maybe they contact you or basically yeah,

Nick Runge  

there’s a lot of all don’t Yeah, exactly a lot of all those things, mostly internet. I moved from Colorado out to LA and then when I did that I got noticed by a Colorado gallery so it’s funny that you know they didn’t know they’re like oh, you’re from here so that’s the gallery I’m kind of represented by right now in Denver Abend gallery so working on just finished six paintings for a show next month so kind of hoping they’ll dry fast enough today, you know, photographed and then mailed and all that kind of stuff. Oh, perfect.

Iva Mikles  

So what is your medium if you can share with our audience like is it mainly watercolor? Or do you use other mediums and do you have maybe favorite brands even it’s

Nick Runge  

interesting because I feel like I paint the most with the oil but I think that might seem crazy because of the all the posts on Instagram are all basically watercolor. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

that’s what I was like, figuring it out.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t pick which one I love more and probably more comfort. Trouble with watercolor, just because I’ve always had done a little bit of that on the side, like with the illustration. So the thing that’s challenging for me is oil painting, but it’s kind of the thing I do the most. But at the beginning of the day, I tried to do a watercolor portrait, and then those get posted so much faster that that’s kind of, like most people know that artwork. But I’d say oil paint is my main focus now just trying to find some kind of voice with that. challenging,

Iva Mikles  

because the dry also quiet flow, as you mentioned, right? Yeah,

Nick Runge  

definitely. Yeah, I use I use a lot of like alkyds, which is it might it’s kind of an illustrator thing just makes the paint dry faster. But it’s also gives off a pretty potent smell. And so I’m trying to deal with that all the time. Do

Iva Mikles  

you have to wear also some kind of mask or when you paint or,

Nick Runge  

I mean, but for bigger paintings, it’s a good idea to have some kind of, but luckily, the studio I have it’s kind of a kind of a cubicle thing and a bigger room. So there’s an open air, top and fans and all that kind of stuff. It’s cool. well ventilated.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, good. Good. So you are not like sleepy or Oh, like, Oh,

Nick Runge  

my lungs are gone.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. And so whatever, then maybe the brand of the oils like? Or do you have like a favorite color you like? So maybe you pick and choose different colors from different brands?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I think like Gamblin and Windsor Newton, there are a ton of good oil painting brands, some can get pretty expensive. But I think some of my favorite colors are just like the cadmium and the things that are really expensive. So that’s tough to go through those so fast. You only need a little bit of them. But I tend to use a lot of cadmium red light and things like that just to kind of mix into all the colors. So probably, I don’t know if that’s my favorite color, but like Prussian blue colors that are kind of more transparent, they’re fun to work with.

Iva Mikles  

And if you think about your inspiration, or what is always in your, you know, creations or some kind of like a vision or art style, or even branding, which always comes through your work.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, it’s tough to say you mean as far as like artists, I’m inspired by or just

Iva Mikles  

something which you’re always maybe thinking about, you know, when you’re creating is it you know, like, yeah, major, or shapes or something?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I think it’s, I’m always trying to get as much detail as I can with the most abstract shapes I can. So I’m trying to really bring those two worlds together a lot. A lot of the times I just want to paint abstract, but then, at this point, like my understanding of it, I don’t know when I would stop or what kind of where to start with it. So I think I try to have like a realistic base, mainly faces. And then even though it’s still, it still takes a lot of the structure and light and all that for realism, I try to not think about that too much on a painting, the more just think about color and just kind of abstract shapes. So that’s always the thing is I want to just bring the two together, whenever I’m painting, whatever medium, I just want to kind of have it be never really, like photorealistic or too tight, is used to do a lot of that stuff. And I really liked it. But just trying to kind of move away from that now,

Iva Mikles  

do you maybe have some tips for people who are starting out either with abstract paintings or oil paintings, watercolor paintings, if you have like few tips, like maybe this is good to do. And this is like what you should watch out from?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, that I’d say, even though it’s funny, because even though I work a lot from photography, I’d say probably the best thing to do is just paint something from life every day, whether it’s like a little still life or a person or because it’s really hard at first, but you get so much more information, and it kind of forces you to get it done quickly. So I think that just sounds cliche, but just the repetition. Every day, I think when I was starting out, and when a lot of people are starting out, you kind of have four or five drawings that are like your favorite and always showing them off. But I think that it’s better to just put those aside and just paint or draw every single day. So I think it’s things will come along naturally from that if you’re just doing it so much things will get easier. And then the time you’re spending will start to seem more like just a normal task in the day and then that I think that’s what can kind of lead to more of a career. It’s just always having it in your life every single day. So

Iva Mikles  

is there a special way you would approach observation, you know, from real life, like because everyone is talking about the practice, but how is it to practice maybe the best way you that you actually learn and improve if you have maybe some tips about that.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I think life drawing figure drawing anything that’s kind of a not necessarily you have to be going to a certain school for that but just finding classes you can drop in because I think the also The atmosphere of other artists, you’re going to see all these different ways people approach things. And it’s also that I’m so shy that I get like that adrenaline rush of being around people that I think really helps. It can be kind of crippling at first. But like anything, if you just keep doing it, I think that’s the best way, is just working from a real person. Or if people are in more into landscapes, or still lives or anything, I think it’s just the, again, the repetition of go sit in the yard and draw something draw any like anything, just start doing it.

Iva Mikles  

And so how was it for you then on the conventions, when you mentioned that if you’re shy and approaching different people? Do you always have a table or, you know, what is

Nick Runge  

I was terrible at it, I was terrible. So I was trying to make friends with people who are talented, and you’re kind of, they have the gift of gab, and then kind of follow them and see how it goes. So luckily, I’ve always ran into people who are a little bit older, or whatever, and be like, come do this and do that. And it took, I think I went for four or five years before I actually got a booth at Comic Con. Because it was, I first started going I think, in 2006. And it was really hard even then to get a booth at the waiting list and all that. But I think it was just years and years of applying for that. And then finally got one and that made it a lot easier because then people come to you and you have a booth and they walk by and you kind of can be the salesman thing and meet all kinds of nice people that way. That was I think it was just the complete intimidation factor. At first when I started going that either breaks you completely and just find something else to do, or you had determined to keep going back. And then ComiCon is just kind of a just hits you like a sledgehammer of pop culture when you walk in. So it’s hard to start at first. But I think as you walk around, things just kind of pop out. And it just kind of happens. Yeah, definitely. Because

Iva Mikles  

like a lot of artists are introverts. And it’s hard to you know, just like, talk to other people. But then it’s also important to do networking, right. So it’s kind of like,

Nick Runge  

yeah, it’s like hundreds of 1000s of introverts and then exhibitionists kind of together.

Iva Mikles  

thinks it’s funny. Yeah, so it’s very interesting. So this was the San Diego Comic Con, right. You’re talking about? Yeah, definitely. And do you go also for other conventions, you can mention like maybe forced people to check out?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, I mean, I right now, I actually don’t, it’s kind of a I’m just not really doing conventions or anything anymore for the time being, but there’s like New York Comic Con. And it’s, there’s so many hundreds of them that I think it’s just someone just throws a rock, like they will hit a Comic Con somewhere. So just go to it. And tickets are usually not very expensive, like the San Diego one has become such a movie TV beast that it’s kind of impossible to even get in. So if I tried to go back and get a booth, that would be a challenge. But I’ve kind of switched kind of more back to the fine art world and kind of kind of what I grew up with more. So now it’s kind of a lot. It’s good, quiet life now compared to go into the Comic Con and, or being on the computer every day doing illustration, jobs and things. So it’s a it’s kind of different now.

Iva Mikles  

And if someone would want to do now, what do you do now? How would you advise them to, you know, start looking for a new paid jobs or, you know, to get noticed, you know, when you’re just starting out maybe with fine art?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, that’s, that’s a hard question to answer. I think it’s like Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter, and all those, those things help so much that I think it’s really good to have a day job, and then just draw and post. And I think Luckily, the internet as brutal as it can be, it will, people will notice it, or, you know, at least you can get good tips on like, what to practice and the cool thing about Instagram and those things is you can kind of sending the artists and messaging sometimes get direct communication, which used to be like unheard of, you know, if you saw something in like an art magazine or something. The chance to actually talk to that person was kind of that’s ridiculous nowadays, you can just get on the internet and on YouTube, and you know, so I think that there’s so many avenues as far as job seeking that that’s kind of self explanatory. But I think the main thing is just really try to hone the craft and just really focus on that because that will really push through a lot of the nonsense if someone’s actually going to start looking for illustration jobs. But yeah, even in the last two or three years, I’ve kind of started to fall away from the networking thing. As far as that goes, so that’s, that might be tough for me even to try to get back into doing that nowadays. So I’d say really just honing the craft and just keep posting online. See what happens?

Iva Mikles  

What are your go to platforms? Now when you use them less? Is it Instagram? And then the YouTube, as you mentioned, or other platforms as well?

Nick Runge  

I yeah, I want to, I want to do more things on YouTube. So I get questions about workshops and things online. So I think that would be a lot easier than just trying to have them in person. But I’d say Instagram, it’s probably the best way for me to at least communicate because it’s obviously visually driven. And it’s basically like Facebook’s image. Platform, and then they just made that one thing. So I think it’s really cool. I usually just use Instagram.

Iva Mikles  

Or you can sell the courses, you know, like, you can do like some picky dudes for watercolor or oil paints or something like that. And then, you know, that can be like, partly on YouTube, and then the rest with more details you can sell. So that can be like part of the income as well.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, definitely. Again, I’m, I’m so terrible at getting income streams going. I just need to say it’s cuz I give advice, like just honing the craft, but at the same time bills keep coming in and all that. So obviously, yeah, exactly.

Iva Mikles  

Is there something you wish you knew before you’re starting before you started the whole, you know, artistic career, like, advice to young self.

Nick Runge  

I have so many things to tell my young self. I probably say not to worry so much what other people thought about a certain style or trying to look at someone successful and do that. Because I think that’s a good way to learn techniques here and there. But I had a problem with just taking input from someone and completely letting it change how I approached a painting or drawing and it’s kind of it can be good, but it can send you in tangents that you spend years on. So I think I would tell myself just you have a good foundation, having my dad and my brother and my mom always artists, there’s definitely a lot of knowledge to pull from that I kind of regret not asking them more questions where it was kind of all the illustration thing. So I was in that world of comics and how those artists think, which is really amazing, you know, all those different talents. But I think just listening to myself more would probably be even further down the road at this point. Now, as far as finding your own voice and your own style. So it’s, it can be really easy to copy someone who is successful, maybe you’ll get a look that looks pretty close to that even you can people surprise themselves. And that can get jobs, which is good, but I think that it starts to make the artist or makes you feel like people only want that. So I think my advice would just be more independent. Definitely. Yeah, just

Iva Mikles  

do what you’re passionate about, like to follow your goals.

Nick Runge  

And yeah, just that gut feeling. So

Iva Mikles  

do maybe remember, like best advice you ever received from your family or like also maybe like the worst advice which young artists that are like getting now around you that you know, these bad advice is flying around.

Nick Runge  

Probably follow your dreams or something like that. Because of course, that’s of course everyone wants to follow their dreams. But that’s such a vague statement. It’s like alright, well, how do I do that? You know, how do you start today to follow your dream? Yeah, so that’s probably the worst advice. So there’s just general statements of just work hard and the money will come and it does. But it’s like when you I think it’s a kind of a bad thing to get sometimes to get big opportunities when you are too inexperienced, because then you can kind of you can blow it and then those chances are gone for the future. So yeah, it’s hard, because it you know, when I first started, you think you’re so great. And I’m thinking that, Oh, I just know everything. And then it was almost like every day being reminded of how much you have to learn. So it’s happens all the time still happening. I’m sure it will happen for the next forever. So how did

Iva Mikles  

you approach your learning? You know, like, how did you set goals, you know, like, Okay, I want to like learn maybe about lighting color this year? Or did you work differently about your career goals?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, at first it was basically just drawing and trying to learn just in just black and white very much again in that comic book world. So that’s a huge crash course in itself because you have to draw every single thing to tell a story. So there’s not only the story aspect of which I you know, never got great at But there’s a, then there’s the technical aspect of anatomy and perspective and all that kind of stuff. So at first, it was basically just pencil and ink. And it’s very line oriented. And so it was always just line work. But I always was looking at painters too. So I think naturally, I tend to want to be more of a painter and not worry so much about the little details. But when I was first learning art, it mean, it’s just so much fun to get the perfect line and have this kind of, it’s a major challenge to be that detail. But it’s also like a comfort zone because you’re building up. It’s not so much of a puzzle nowadays, I think it’s more of a act of development, where I’ll start something and not really know where it’s gonna go. And using more. Using brushes and paint, it’s a lot easier to kind of, for me to be looser than when I first started, it was mostly just drawing based. Yeah, definitely not much of an answer. But

Iva Mikles  

it’s good to talk about how to, you know, approach learning, because it can be overwhelming when you are starting out and you’re like, okay, but I need to learn everything. So how do I start? Or? Yeah, I

Nick Runge  

definitely think it’s good to keep basic, like pencils, and ink and monochromatic and kind of, I think the biggest thing for drawing or painting is just learning value, because that is the key to everything. It’s just values.

Iva Mikles  

So how do you approach maybe observing value? You know, like, Is there something you know, like, when you look at the object, then you’re like, okay, just have closing your eyes just to see the darkest parts and the light over?

Nick Runge  

It? Yeah, like even it’s because color can be so overwhelming that it’s, it’s nice sometimes to just like, if you have if you are looking at a photograph, maybe put it into Photoshop and just turn it black and white, and kind of just, yeah, I think it’s better to focus on the light at first and not really think too much about the color because colors can be really different and contrasting, but it can be the same exact value if you turn it black and white, so that can you know be super distracting at first. So I think yeah, definitely approaching anything. No matter how monochromatic or colorful it is just focus on the light and not really worry about color vibrance or saturation or any.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. Maybe some also like references like books or like go to materials to learn from something your favorite.

Nick Runge  

You when I was doing the illustration stuff I did wasn’t in print for a long time. But then I finally got a print version of the drawing for all it’s worth by Andrew Loomis. So it’s very old advice, but it’s just perfect the way he breaks down shapes and planes and all that kind of stuff. So I think for drawing, that was a book I looked at a lot. As far as painting, I haven’t looked at a lot of instructional books, maybe I should in a while. But mainly just looking at other artists and a lot of stuff online. Like I’ll find an artist I think, wow, dammit, why does it take so long to discover this person? You know? So inspiring every day?

Iva Mikles  

And do you have maybe some favorite blogs or magazines or something? I was like looking for some new, you know, resources recently, and I just couldn’t find any, like new blogs or blogs. And so maybe they’re really available. If you know, something I would like to know.

Nick Runge  

Oh, for sure. I so out of touch with a lot of that stuff. Like savvy Painter is a good podcast. And then like Juxtapoz magazine. That’s the those are basically the ones I look at if it’s going to be an actual magazine. But mainly just online with social media, I’ll just kind of come across, or it’s a lot of the times it’s artists that I follow will share someone else’s work. And then that’s kind of the like, oh my god, well, if they vouch for them, and the clearly the art is amazing. And that’s kind of how I build just a network of kind of ideas that are going through my head. Trying to paint

Iva Mikles  

some like reference library.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, exactly. It’s fun. It’s really exciting to buy art books. That’s like the easiest part of being an artist is buying the art books. For my work. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s research and you can write it off at the end of the year for taxes and all that.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, definitely. Yeah. And what about your normal day? How do you design your day? You know, like, how many hours maybe you paint or how do you do the planning for a week or month?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, it used to be luckily like being in a steady relationship and everything is kind of helped me be more of like a normal day person. Wake up at you know, 830 or nine and go I rent a studio that’s pretty close. And it’s like a kind of just a collective of other artists. So I try to get in there by like 10 And I always start the day usually with with lately it’s been oil painting for the show, but it’s usually watercolor and I try to do that For, like two to four hours, and that’s kind of, I try to do that every day not only to practice, but it also gives me ideas for oil painting, and then someone might buy one of them. So it’s kind of sometimes feel kind of like a hack being like, it’s for sale for sale for sale, but kind of quietly while I’m working, maybe someone will be asking about that. And then that pays a bill here and pays a bill there. So it’s usually most of the day is oil painting, but it’s two to four hours of watercolor. And then I try to work till about seven, then go home and have dinner. And lately I’ve been having to go back, which really sucks when I used to work all night. And it was like, the crazy vampire hours of wake up at three in the afternoon or something terrible and just work all night. And I got a lot of work done. And it it was interesting, but it’s definitely not healthy. So I think it’s better to it doesn’t matter whether someone works at night or during the day, that’s kind of up to them. But I think, for me, I need kind of a structure and kind of repetition. So that’s I think that’s helped a lot.

Iva Mikles  

And do you do something daily, which kind of contributes to your success, you know, like meditation or walks in the nature or a nap or something?

Nick Runge  

Lately, it’s been thinking about exercising, which sounds ridiculous. Yeah, no, it’s that sounds so stupid. But I think like running or things that are that I absolutely hate the times in my life. And I had been doing those regularly, that has definitely kind of gotten a lot of frustration out. So I think that would be a better plan is maybe run in the morning, and then just kind of the watercolor allows me to kind of just start something without having any kind of consequences in that way. I don’t really have to think about that. So I think having this structure of wake up and take the dog out and have breakfast and just kind of these normal things. gives me time to think about the painting and stuff. Now I’m working when I’m working on it, it’s kind of more muscle memory as far as putting the paint down that way you can, can be thinking about other things, instead of just mixing the colors or anything like that. I try to just get that out of the way.

Iva Mikles  

Do you put like your color palette, like on the side? You know, I want to use these colors before you start painting. So you try it out right before?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, if I know that the painting is gonna have more count. See, I’m still learning a ton about that, too. Just had an oil specifically like how to mix. If I know it’s gonna have a ton of colors, I’ll kind of put colors out that I’m not sure if I’ll use them just to have them there. And then other times, I think it’s better to have just maybe like two colors or three colors and focus more on just the, like the depth of the painting or the value and things and then I think if it gets to like a certain point, I might think okay, now I can plan out these other colors that I think will work well with the ones that are already there.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And then also your dog maybe help you you know, inspiration or just like being a companion.

Nick Runge  

Oh, yeah, no, she’s great. So what do you have a dog? She’s a pitbull lab mix.

Iva Mikles  

Oh my god, it sounds great.

Nick Runge  

She’s the best. So we love her. Yeah, at the apartment. Now she I can see her in the other room.

Iva Mikles  

They’re always so cute. And is there something which also kind of like, simplifies your life you cannot live without, you know, like, favorite brush or you know, like something else?

Nick Runge  

Oh, yeah. That’s, I wish something would simplify. I think I mean, I think just setting a goal of right now just focusing on the art. Because I think that when I did so much illustration, I would try to have a balance of work on this job, and then have time for yourself. And it was always chaos, because as soon as that job would get done, there are the natural, the process changes and all that stuff. And so that just bleeds into the personal time. And that kind of takes over. So I think now even though financially, it’s tougher, I think that having just a simplified goal kind of simplifies my life otherwise, because it was really tough for me to say no, just being poor and making money off art. If someone offers something, I would just it’s like how do they overbooked the flights which is so terrible, like when you’re flying? This plane absolutely has to be full, which for them is just greed and profit. But that’s our thing is I have to absolutely have every single day, kind of scheduled for bills and all that. And I just made everything super complicated. So I like just focus on just the painting and that has enough challenges on songs?

Iva Mikles  

And what about the future? That would be like, some of my last questions, you know, if you imagine, like your maybe future project, or how would you, you know, three mowdy, or scenario in like five to 10 years, you know, like, either like financially stable, or what are the projects you know, you want to do, or?

Nick Runge  

Yeah, um, I think, technically speaking, I just want to, I want to start painting bigger and having like a bigger space, just to be able to do that. But as far as goals, I think it’s kind of just the same thing I’m doing now I just want to continue to be able to paint and not have maybe a part time job or something, that’s fine, but not get pulled away from it too much. So it’s basically just keep surviving and hanging out long enough to maybe get noticed by someone, I think that’s what we all try to do. And then if they’re like, if money was taken out of the equation, I think it would still be the same thing or just trying to improve the art. And just be happy with that every day. Because it’s such a DJ acting, terrible feeling to go home, when you know, the paintings kind of in chaos. And it’s like, if I’m going to be able to rescue it or whatever. So, yeah, my goal is just to continue and continue to paint and not have to stop it for anything.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. That sounds really good. And maybe you can do more art books in the future or something, you know, so

Nick Runge  

yeah, those those are definitely, I definitely do want to have some kind of booked and then some kind of maybe a workshop or something. Because I get like, I get nervous about being any kind of teacher because I’m still learning so much that a lot of people that come to the workshops have a lot of like a lot of knowledge that I kind of feel embarrassed, sometimes, I don’t know, certain technical answers to things, but at the same time, they’re kind of like when I go to workshops, just looking for inspiration that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the technical stuff. So I would like to have some kind of like Digital Workshop or something that someone buy that. It’s just a point of getting to where I can record something and think, Oh, I’m not just gonna learn a bunch of stuff that contradicts that and being comfortable something that somebody can keep, and it can still kind of hold its own for a few years. Oh, yeah,

Iva Mikles  

definitely. Yeah. Because we never stop learning anyway. So you know. Yeah, exactly. That’s I always just the process forever. And so what about like, far, far future? And like, what would you like to be remembered for in like, 110 or more years?

Nick Runge  

Maybe just one painting, if I can just do one painting. That’s, I think of it like kind of how, with acting, if you can just be remembered for one movie or something, because so many people, it sounds so narcissistic, to be like, I want to be remembered. But I think so many people just want to do something that becomes a classic or whatever. So I think maybe if just one painting gets to that point, I have no idea like what style it would be or I tend to look back on old work and just hate it and not want to see it. So I’m always scared that like, Oh, I’m in love with this painting now. But how long will it be until I hate this one? You know? So hopefully, I’ll have just one image that kind of holds up. But to think of what the world will be like in 100 years, scary right now.

Iva Mikles  

It’s true. We never know. And maybe before we say goodbye, you can share it last piece of advice or a you know, key takeaway, and then we will slowly finish.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, it’s like I was trying to make notes within I was like, Oh, what did I have missing here? Da da, da. And then I didn’t fill it in? Because I’m like, What the hell is my mission? Yeah, I think it’s kind of sound. So repetitious, but just, I think if someone is thinking about approaching art, because there’s so many different levels, there’s people who are super serious about it already. And they already know, and maybe they’re looking for advice that I don’t really have. But I think if someone’s on the fence about should I keep painting? Or should I quit and do something else, I think like always just keep keep doing it. And it’s kind of like exercise, it’s really going to suck some days, and it’s really not going to be fun. So those are the most important days to just do something, draw anything or paint anything. And I think if somebody’s thinking about that, then they should just stop thinking about it and just go forward and do that. And eventually, those questions will get answered, I think just in the natural progression of time.

Iva Mikles  

Definitely. I totally agree. And yeah, so we just need to practice and it will get easier.

Nick Runge  

Yeah, definitely.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. And, thank you so much for being here.

Nick Runge  

Thank you. Really appreciate it.

Iva Mikles  

And Thanks, everyone for joining and see you in the next episode. Thank you hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you so go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our site of life bobcat, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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