Ep.68: Stefan Hansson on how to be a successful artist in gaming industry

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Dec 07, 2017 •  Interviews

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Stefan is working as a Freelance Concept Artist, Illustrator, and Art Director within the creative industries. Stefan also worked on Angry Birds 2 by Rovio where he created concept art and game art assets for the mobile game.

Get in touch with Stefan

Key Takeaways

“Just keep learning! ”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

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

All artworks by Stefan Hansson, 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 to the next episode of Art Side of Life where it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva, and my guest today is a full time concept artist, Illustrator and art director from Stockholm, Sweden. He studied 3d art, but his work involves almost everything from concepts of caricatures the 3d and oil. He has worked mostly in the video games industry recently for resolution games on the title wonder glade. He has also worked on Angry Birds, two by Rovio, where he created concept art and game assets for the mobile game. He always keeps learning new things in the art lately to the animation. And he dreams of having his own studio one day. So please welcome Stefan Hansson. And let’s get to the interview. I happy to have you here.

Stefan Hansson  

Hi. Nice. Nice to be here.

Iva Mikles  

I would like to start with a question about your past or how you get to design Did you always knew that you wanted to be an artist.

Stefan Hansson  

Kind of I suppose I did, like most most artists do when they were doing just started drawing and like drawing in general. But I didn’t have that much of an imagination. I just, I just like drawing stuff. So it just put something in front of me and I drew it and just just zoned out for a few hours doing it. So I kind of knew back then that I wanted to do something with art but so hard to say exactly what you want to do with art when you’re so young.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, So how old were you when he kind of started to do these creative things?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, maybe like 1213 1415 Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And which were kind of like a biggest decisions or turning points which kind of get you where you are now.

Stefan Hansson  

I think it wasn’t high school. I think I went to like a technical high school with a lot of math and those sorts of things, which is I’m kind of good at it, but it’s quite boring. But then last year, I had an art class with a with an art teacher was really good and really inspiring. And he just pushed me and gave me a lot of great feedback and pushed me towards just said that art is something you can actually do. So I think it was from that point on that I thought that you can actually do something with art. So yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, exactly. In what it was like the best and the worst advice you can have received on this journey.

Stefan Hansson  

I think the worst advice I got when I was I was actually studying 3d to for video games. So we have like an artist I think he was from DICE who had like a lecture of what you need to know what you don’t need to know to get into the industry. And one of his advice was not become a concept artist. He just said it was too tough. People are too good. You can’t do it. So yeah, really, really inspiring. No, but I think that’s the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. Good enough. Good. I didn’t listen to it.

Iva Mikles  

Definitely good because your stuff is amazing. I really like it so it’s yeah, that would be a shame if people wouldn’t see

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, Frank

Iva Mikles  

it may be the best advice

Stefan Hansson  

I think I don’t know where I got it from but somewhere just read just keep learning I think that’s one of the models I’ve had just keep keep learning no matter what you do you need to keep learning this I’ve found that if you keep learning keep doing new stuff and keep experimenting you just never get bored and so far I’ve never gotten got stuck anywhere just keep keep doing stuff because doing new things you just you get things buy or buy new things every day. So because you

Iva Mikles  

create the different kinds of areas of rd do the concept art do caricatures, 3d and probes for video games?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, exactly. I just do just about everything. I’ve worked with really cartoony games I work with really realistic games and I work with oil and more traditional stuff. I work with computers so I do just about everything you have a favorite one. Painting with oil is probably the most fun because when you’re on the computer, you’re always have all of those distractions, you know, Facebook and messaging, sort of things. And if you’re if you have your oil paint, you just can’t put it down because it’s so sticky and you just have to have paint all over the place. You’re just forced to just stand there for a couple hours. That It’s really nice and calming.

Iva Mikles  

Do you paint in the studio? Or do you go out somewhere?

Stefan Hansson  

I actually do a bit of everything. I take, like part time classes with us art studio or Atelier nearby. So I go there like once a month or two times a month and do oil paintings. And now this summer, I’ve done a lot of landscape painting. So then I go out and paint with oils. And but I also have a little little setup in my home so I can paint from home as

Iva Mikles  

well. Cool. Cool. Yeah. Because it’s total area is super beautiful. I still haven’t been there. But yeah,

Stefan Hansson  

yeah, it’s really nice. But it’s quite cold in the winter. So you have like your summer, summer season. After that. You have to do studies from inside

Iva Mikles  

your limited for summer season, like for two

Stefan Hansson  

weeks? Yes, exactly. It’s not longer than that. Unfortunately.

Iva Mikles  

No, because I was living in Scandinavia for seven years. I think it’s beautiful in the summer, but they wish the winters are shorter.

Stefan Hansson  

Yes. And they always do summers were longer, hopefully with the climate change. Go for a better.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And how did you find the studio? Where do you paint?

Stefan Hansson  

I can’t remember. I think I actually think I saw some sort of post on art store here nearby. And then I just contacted him and, and he said that he had spots in his studio. So Oh, that’s cool.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Because some of the young artists, you know, they are like, Oh, but how do I find my studio? Or do I work from home? Or, you know?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, yeah, I think. I mean, it depends. If I do stuff for like, for clients and other things, they usually want me at their, at their place, because communication is a lot better. But when it comes to my own stuff, I just, just, I mean, I always have something here at home. So you can always work from home, because that’s always nice. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just about finding, finding people that you want to work with, that can inspire you.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And going back to when you were developing your career. Was there some mentor or someone who inspired you to go through this path?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I, I mean, I’ve talked earlier, a little bit about the one in high school. But then, when I started out working with, like, my first job as a concept artist, I started at a studio in the UK. And the my boss, there was, he was like, from he came from a lot of big movie studios had worked for as a concept art for like, 15 years. So he showed me a lot what you need to do to like, make a living as a concept artist.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And how did you find them the first job because some people are also wondering when you finish the school? And so how do you start?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I went to like a school to do 3d. So I started out as an intern, doing 3d art for a company here in Stockholm. And I was there for like, a year. And I started doing some concept art and illustration after a while, but then they didn’t have more jobs. So I was just thrown out on the streets to try to look for jobs. But basically, I just tried to contact everybody, just email, just make sure the emails that you send to companies are like, properly worked out and you write to each company individually and try to read up on them and then just send out the email send CVS to just about everybody. And yeah, I was lucky to get get a job.

Iva Mikles  

And how did you get yourself motivated or to keep motivation going when you are like, okay, maybe this is rejected, or this is accepted, you know, kind of,

Stefan Hansson  

yeah, I got, I can’t remember, I just, I just kept doing it, I knew that I was what I had to do. I mean, you have to pay the bills somehow. So I kind of knew that if I don’t, then the only other option is to start doubting me and finding another job with something that you don’t want to do. So I just kept at it, trying to focus harder, go in

Iva Mikles  

and it was about the motivation and inspiration for creating art. Where do you get the inspiration from?

Stefan Hansson  

I just find it just everywhere. Just everything can be really inspiring. I think just just talking to people finding like interesting niches or just being inspired by everything you see, everything can be turned into some fun creative project.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Because you know what kind of inspired you to create the dogs, the caricature of the dogs. I just love them. I don’t know.

Stefan Hansson  

Well, it’s my own two dogs. I suppose. I have. Yeah, I can’t see. Anything. So I have two dogs on my own day that’s keeping inspire me because they have so they have so strong personalities. We have one little it’s a mix of a pug and the poodle. And it’s just so so grumpy. He has just a really grumpy face and he just thinks everything so he doesn’t he probably doesn’t think that just looks like that just keeps inspiring me to see that dogs have passion. Nowadays as well,

Iva Mikles  

maybe you can create a page like, you know, Grumpy Cat.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah. Yeah, actually, I talked to my girlfriend about that over the weekend that we should create like a grumpy dog page. And you can do like reviews of, of dog food. Everything His house is like from minus two to plus three stars. He doesn’t go up to four or five. He doesn’t does the low valued Yeah, exactly. He’s just grumpy about everything. That would be amazing. But fortunately, I don’t have the time. That would be great.

Iva Mikles  

So maybe a future idea for a book as well. Yes. Exactly. Like art book or something. Yeah, super. Yeah. And talking about like, the brand and art pieces, what do you create? What is the mission and vision which goes maybe through all your art? Or do you separate it for the personal project and work project?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I, I know that you. I mean, I know logically that I need to be like, build my own brand. But I’m really bad at it. Because I do just about anything. And I know, if you just post anything, it just looks incoherent. So I tried to keep things separate as it is right now. But yeah, it’s a struggle, because everything I do is so different

Iva Mikles  

than the personal projects. You also do caricatures of humans. So yeah, like fun approach maybe.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, exactly. I think that’s the thing that kind of tried to define me most by what I do personally. But at the same time, I just removed all the companies that because earlier, I posted a picture from the work I did as a professional like for clients and stuff. But just that just didn’t look like it fit in the same world as the personal stuff I did. So I removed it after a while because it just looks cluttered. And it’s like that today. I mean, I pulled some pictures of like oil paintings and more realistic oil paintings. And those Don’t look anywhere near the same universe as my dog caricatures. So I’m wondering if I should remove those as well. But yeah, I thought about creating another Instagram account for just fine art stuff. But then it you have to do double the amount of work. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

that’s true. Yeah. Because I have the similar issue as well, because I’m creating different types. I like to draw like characters then, like more realistic things than I do sketches. And then it also doesn’t feed really in the Instagram feed. Yeah, exactly. So it’s tricky to figure. Yeah.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah. I don’t have an answer to it. Just trying to manage.

Iva Mikles  

I also have like Nordic design styling, I really like the interior design that I have also travel posts. So more Instagram.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I suppose it would be would be suppose a good niche if you want us to sort of like some sort of be hands type of service where you could actually make your service tailored towards those who have different interests? Yeah, it would be good. Do you do also

Iva Mikles  

commissions of the like other people’s pets?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I would, but I haven’t got any so far. It definitely

Iva Mikles  

will. I think really good. Nice. Because you’re so good at it. And I think people would love it.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I think so too. But it’s just a matter of like getting out there and talking to people and getting my, my name out there. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah. So when this interview will be out, we will put the link in the notes. To check it out. For sure. Oh, thank you. So how do you find paid projects now? Is it social networks or networking in local area?

Stefan Hansson  

I’ve been quite lucky. So far, most of the jobs have kind of found me rather than me finding them. So it’s usually someone that knows someone that knows me. And they just recommend me somehow. And then they email me.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Okay. So do you go for events in Instagram, or it’s just friends of friends.

Stefan Hansson  

It’s mostly like friends of friends. Mostly. I’ve worked with games. And it’s like a fairly small scene here in Stockholm. Just a few 1000 people. So usually, and I’ve worked at a few companies. So I know a lot of people and I suppose a lot of people know me as well. So

Iva Mikles  

yeah, and can you kind of compare it? Or maybe you can describe for people in us, how is it different maybe from LA, or where you have so many studios? And how is it in Sweden, where the the art scene is bit smaller?

Stefan Hansson  

How does Yeah, it’s hard to describe because I haven’t been in LA. So I don’t know that. But I suppose in Stockholm, they have like, a bunch of like game developer pubs and those sorts of things. So there’s just a limited amount of people and usually all people go there. And you know, all the companies that exist and if you know someone that works at a specific company, if you worked for a while, he always knows someone at all the companies so if you talk to someone new, you know that they’re probably working with one of your former colleagues or something like that. So it’s like it’s all Connect them, they usually know someone that knows them. So,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, I think it’s similar here also in Switzerland, because it’s so small the market is so everyone knows everyone. So yeah, so it’s quite different. But so what is your main income source? Now? Is it the full time job? Or do you have a multiple income sources from I don’t know, selling the art or teaching campaign.

Stefan Hansson  

Right now I have like the main main client, which is resolution, which I work for now. And I usually like to keep like one main client that pays most of my bills, because it’s, it’s so hard to focus on different projects, and just found that if you work for someone, you have to work with them for at least, at least, like 50 or 60% of the time, because if you go lower than that you really are disconnected from the project. So I usually like to keep one project and one main projects that have worked for so I don’t scatter my brain too much. And then for the rest of my time, I usually work on my own projects or taking smaller projects.

Iva Mikles  

And you said during the time you work for them, you go to the studio to work with them. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Okay. And then the rest of the week, how do you plan or kind of how your day looks like? Well, how would you design your life?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah. Usually when I wake up, I just make one big cup of coffee. And then I just sit down in the sofa and do some warm up sketches. I think that’s one of the things that just doing warm up sketches just gives you you just like feel that you’re in, in shape to do some drawing, I found that if I don’t do morning, like drawing, I just tend to procrastinate all day long. So that’s what I do first thing in the morning and drink coffee and cuddle with my dogs and girlfriend.

Iva Mikles  

The draw every day, then in the morning?

Stefan Hansson  

Yes, yes, yes, yes. And then yeah. And then when my girlfriend takes the dog out for the first walk, I sit by the computer and do my like morning studies. That’s where I usually do the dogs and those sort of things. So I do that probably one and a half hour and then I go off to work or work on personal projects or something like that. So I always have like that two hours in the morning where I do do stuff that’s not project related or income related.

Iva Mikles  

And then when you schedule your week, do you use like traditional tools like calendar or some digital apps, which you can recommend?

Stefan Hansson  

Right now and just using like a notepad and writing down stuff, keeping it quite simple. I just, I just tried a bunch of those planning programs. But it just for me tends to create so much of a hassle getting to know the program, knowing how to use it. So I just, I just use the simplest thing possible.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. When you have more projects, or when you’re deciding to take a new project, how do you decide what to say yes and no to

Stefan Hansson  

I usually go for the projects that are most fun. And that’s the shows most most promise. Like, if you have a client potential client that’s really shares the same values as you do. And that’s someone that you would like to work with in the future, then you can of course, sacrifice a bunch of time to make it work. But in general, is just about finding projects that are fun and inspiring. Yeah, for sure. Since since I have the main the main kind of job that pays my bills, I don’t have to take projects, which is a lot of fun. And I actually really like working on my own projects. So I kind of if I’m taking new clients, they have to compete with my own project, which is usually a lot of fun. Since they’re my own. So yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So what are the most exciting projects you’re working on now? Or something upcoming you want to share?

Stefan Hansson  

I mean, the project I’m working with at resolution right now, it’s really been a lot of fun. So that’s probably the main, the main project I’m working on. For my own projects. Right now. I’m just learning learning stuff. I’m learning how to do traditional 2d animation, because that’s something I want, always wanted to do.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how do you learn? Is it something online? Do you take online courses or practice outside or

Stefan Hansson  

I’ve tried to find some online courses but couldn’t just couldn’t find any good ones on like, traditional 2d animation. So I just bought a bunch of books and talk to people that I know and try to look at, like the course schedules for those sorts of education if there are any, and just trying to set my set up my own schedule for doing it on my own. But yeah, I suppose I need to find someone who can help me out a bit as well and critique my stuff.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So can you recommend some of the books you just started to read and learn from

Stefan Hansson  

when it comes to animation? I suppose the animators survival kit, I suppose is the traditional one all the animated they say that you should do have that one. And I think that’s the one that I follow. Just read it over and over again. Yeah, and

Iva Mikles  

maybe also some other books you will Give us a gift or recommend people to.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah. Have you learned the hero’s journey? Oh, no, no, no, that one is really, really good. I really liked that one, it just opens your mind quite a bit. Although you don’t really know if it’s like two or I mean, it’s true, but if it’s factually correct or not, but it’s still interesting point of view.

Iva Mikles  

So what is it about why, why do you like it? Or if you can, like, describe it with more?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, to make it kind of short, it’s about them. The author is like a professor of comparative mythology. And it’s like comparing a bunch of different mythologies and religions from all out the ages. And he kind of links or like, describes how they all share, like the same ideas and same, same sort of, like storyline in there in the all different religions. So it just basically comes and says that they are all well, he doesn’t say they’re all the same. But he says that, like, there’s a common thread through all of them, which is like, really nice. And a lot of people have used that sort of book as an inspiration or like a guide to how to create stories for movies and all sorts of things.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, yeah. Because you can play a lot of it to your life as well. And you can always find something which is like, good.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. And that’s where you got that hero’s journey from where you’re like, well, it’s like the typical Hollywood movies, sort of, sort of like, ups and downs of the of the actual storyline. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah. And when you’re creating your own projects, do you also write stories about it? Or you have some stories in mind?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I usually, I mean, I think all good games, or books or movies have great stories. And all great stories have some sort of meaningfulness to them. So I always try to get that into my, into my projects as well. But it’s kind of tricky. Because I, I primarily want to paint and draw and doing if you draw, or kind of take the paintings too much towards what you’re writing it for me, it just tends to bog down and I just don’t get forward. So I do it, but I am not very good at it. But I always keep it in the back of my head when I’m when I paint.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you want to also create a game maybe in the future? Because you’ve worked on a lot of games? They want to do something on your own as well.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, that would be a lot of fun. Yeah. Right now I’d prefer to like, try other things. Because games, I’ve tended games become a little bit. I mean, the, after a while, they’re just the same, basically, the same sort of things, the same sort of planning the same sort of project structure and those sort of things. And I want to try something new after a while, but probably come back to games after a while and do some do some fun games.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, for sure. Was there like what they would like to know as well? If Did you buy some product or service, which kind of simplifies your life which you can recommend to people?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, finding finding someone to do your bookkeeping. That’s essential. You don’t have to sit there and do your numbers on your own and send them to the tax authorities. That just takes a bunch of time. I really have been at a file. I have a friend who does that. So he does that for me. So that’s good.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, so you have a person, I thought, you have an app or some?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, actually, yeah, I actually have a software as well, but it’s actually free. So it doesn’t cost anything. And it’s super good. It’s super fast. But you still have the only note a bunch of times, I would like I’ve done it properly. And I set everything up, I work done when I double check the the like the numbers on my on my program. And once I have in my bank account, they just don’t add up. And then they have to sit there for a couple of hours trying to find what I’ve done wrong. And usually what happens is that I, I put something into the system twice, because I’ve received an invoice by mail two times or something like that. And I accidentally put it in twice. And it’s just those sorts of things. I don’t want to spend my time doing

Iva Mikles  

that. What is the system? You’re using the software?

Stefan Hansson  

Right? I think it’s called Buceo. I don’t know if it’s just yeah, I don’t know if it’s just in Sweden or not. But it’s just everything goes super, super quick.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And just for people to check it out. If they have the similar problem, you know, just to see what they can use. So yeah,

Stefan Hansson  

exactly. If they’re in Sweden, they should definitely check it out. I’ve tried a lot of different stuff. And that’s the one that’s it’s free, basically. And it’s super quick. Everything goes super quick and super smooth.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And what is the thing you wish you knew before you start your carrier? Something you would advise the younger self?

Stefan Hansson  

I wish I knew a lot more about like traditional art and painting and the fundamentals of art. Because if I knew that before I started I I wouldn’t know what I needed to know, when I started working. Because when I started working, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So basically, you just get off running in all different direction not knowing exactly what you’re supposed to do. And so just knowing a bit more about the fundamentals of art, because that then you can handle most situations with clients and work.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you have a favorite quote? Maybe something related to that? Or I like love quotes?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, keep learning, I suppose is the one I would Yeah, yes. Yeah. Like

Iva Mikles  

to put them on Sketchbook or? Yeah. It’s really cool that you draw every day, because sometimes I don’t have time as well. And I’m like, Okay, I should do it every day.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I know. And the funny thing is that if you draw the I just, I don’t know who someone who started, just draw the first thing in the morning. I know that when I do that, it’s just easy to get going with the drawing. If I don’t draw in the morning, it’s just I procrastinated all day long. And I just don’t feel like in the mood for drawing. So if I just draw something, the first thing I do, then I usually do it every day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I think that that’s really good. Because people can learn from me then. Yeah, and some other thing, would you we can always take some key takeaways. It’s like a worst career moment. Did you have like that for now? Can you share experience?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I think it was when I, when I started out as a concept artist, my first job. As I said, I didn’t know what I needed to know, to work in the industry. And it was like, it was my first job. And up until that point, I’d just been like drawing and enjoying drawing, doing some 3d and just basically not having a very professional look at things. But then the boss I had come came from there, like the movie industry had a lot of experience. And there was like a quick learning experience. Basically, I was told that I had to get better or my job was, I was fired. So I just had to that was not very nice. And I mean, it was good, because it had to be done. Because you can’t really just keep doing what you’re doing if you’re not doing very well. But when you get that sort of stress, and as well, like, you know, when you’re stressed, and in a stressful situation, you will probably perform a lot worse. And when you’re doing worse, you’re getting more, you’re losing more confidence. And then when the confidence goes down, you’re doing a lot worse. And it’s like a downward spiral. So yeah, that was a not a very good situation. So

Iva Mikles  

how did you overcome this?

Stefan Hansson  

I just worked harder. Focus harder, working harder. And yeah, at the end, I managed to pull through so yeah, but I think I think now when I think back at it, it’s really good situation. Because you it was a good learning experience, because then you had to kind of know that you had to take this seriously, you can’t just go about doing this with like, taking it too lightly, you have to actually focus on work hard and getting better. Because there’s a lot of people are really good. And you need to focus and be as good as them to have a job. So for me, it was a really good learning experience, even though it was not very pleasant at the time.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And you were also working full time before right? And then now you’re a freelancer. Yeah, exactly. Can you compare that a bit? Like, what are the biggest challenges in maybe both? And what is the best on each?

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, I, for me, I prefer freelance. I don’t know why I think if to me being employed is a bit like a prison, just stuck there. And you’re being forced to do whatever project that you really can’t have a say in what kind of project and you really have not very much to say about your title or what you’re supposed to focus on or just about how much time you want to spend on it. You’re basically like a prisoner and they say what you do. And I find that if you’re a freelance, you can set your own schedule. And you’re, I mean, you usually have to do to a certain extent what they say, but you can always discuss everything and argue why you think you shouldn’t or you can always you have to, like collaborate with them, rather, if you’re an employee feels like they’re saying to what you need to do. Yeah, so that’s, that’s the main thing. And I think that for me, personally, it just fits being freelance.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Because sometimes I think people need to decide if that’s the best for them. Because some people like the security of just the same paycheck every month, and they don’t promote themselves or something like that.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s the that’s the upside of being an employee. You don’t have to promote yourself that much. But on the other hand, I think it’s something you should learn how to do well, because I just think I mean, you you tend to get lazy if you’re employed. Just don’t focus on doing those sorts of things. I think it’s good Doing that, even though you don’t want to, I just hate doing marketing. But I know I have to do it. I just want to sit and draw.

Iva Mikles  

Exactly. Because a lot of people maybe don’t realize, but when you start working on your own, then you have to do like marketing. And you have to be like a business person because you are creating business around you.

Stefan Hansson  

Yes, exactly. You have to spend a lot of time like getting in new jobs and like promoting your business, telling people who you are and getting your name out there. There’s a lot of time you have to do it. And then you have to do like bookkeeping and those sorts of things, getting your numbers, numbers straight, and those sorts of things. But I suppose what I mean, you can work from home, and you can do all of those sorts of things as well. So it’s, there’s a lot of positives and negatives with both, but I prefer being freelance.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And you’re both freelance, also, you and your girlfriend or she’s working full time. No,

Stefan Hansson  

she’s working full time.

Iva Mikles  

So so you can kind of balance it out as well. And exactly easier. Yeah, I think that’s nice. Yeah. Because also like my boyfriend, he’s working as well. So it’s nice to balance it out.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, exactly. And now I work. I mean, I work freelance, I usually work like four days per week. And I work like seven hour days, because I know personally, I can’t work any longer than that. If I work eight hour days, that last hour is just plain nonsense. I don’t do anything constructive. And working five days a week, I just my mind burns out so I can control my own time and work at a pace that I need to work on to do good stuff, I think

Iva Mikles  

work over the weekend.

Stefan Hansson  

No, yeah. Because some people, you know, work

Iva Mikles  

like all the times and can be like scary like, Oh, what if I go freelance, then I have to work all the time.

Stefan Hansson  

But no, I, I mean, like I said, sometimes I have to do something over the weekend. But that rarely happens. I usually just if I if you plan your schedule, right? You should that shouldn’t happen. Yeah, if it happens, then you’re taking on too much stuff, or you’re over scoping the things you’re taking

Iva Mikles  

off. Yeah, that’s true. But then also what they heard like in Sweden now it’s quite tempting to be employed because you have six hour work days, right?

Stefan Hansson  

Is that some companies? But most you don’t? Okay. They’re just trying it out that a few places, but not not as a general thing? I think they should. It would be great.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Because you’re more effective when you have like focus then. Yeah, exactly.

Stefan Hansson  

And I used to I was fine that I haven’t I haven’t spoken to anyone who says that they can keep their focus for eight hours straight. Most people I know they can keep their focus for about six hours. After that. You just tend to like procrastinate, sit in meetings, even though meetings are good. You just you don’t do productive stuff. You don’t work particularly hard.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. A lot of meetings?

Stefan Hansson  

Yes.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, it feels like people fill up the time with new things because they don’t have the energy to work hard for eight hours.

Iva Mikles  

And then you don’t have time to do anything, because you’re in a meeting all the time.

Stefan Hansson  

Exactly. And it’s like, you sit in a meeting, usually during like pre noon, and you just destroyed the best hours of your day sitting in meetings. And then you said the other half of the day when your brain is freezed from all the meetings do sit there and do not.

Iva Mikles  

It’s true. That’s true. But yeah, so I don’t want to hold you too long. So I would like to end the interview with 10 questions about the future. And if you imagine yourself in five to 10 years, and you are not afraid to fail, or anything bad happened, where would you be?

Stefan Hansson  

I will probably be doing somehow what I’m doing today, just keep learning and keep doing new things. But it will be amazing to have my own company, where do either animation or video games or something. So just I can set the rules, that will be a lot of fun, because I’ve seen so many things. I mean, companies are the way they are and they need to be organized the way they are. But I just think there are a lot of things that are not, that could be done a lot better. And if I have my own company, I can try to make that happen.

Iva Mikles  

And would you work with people in your area? Or do you think you can find people around the world to kind of work remotely with you?

Stefan Hansson  

I think it would be nice to work remotely because I dream of working from home. That will be I mean, I just I’m more comfortable at home, I do better stuff at home. And I think most people will do that. So and I think the structure is there to make to work work like work remotely for everyone. So

Iva Mikles  

I’m looking forward to see that I’m sure they will like happen in few years. So I’m really Yeah,

Stefan Hansson  

exactly. Yeah, the only problem I see with that is just sometimes it’s just better to have meetings in person. Yeah, but I mean over Skype, it’s good, but it’s always better to have those meetings in person and always being able to turn around and talk to the other person. Like if you are seconds and ask questions. But I think you can overcome those difficulties.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Because then you can find the different people around the world. So maybe you’re limited with the people just in the same town

Stefan Hansson  

or Yeah, exactly. And what I found that the companies where most of the work, they usually have like an open office space. And there’s just a bunch of noise and people talking all the time, and you can just never focus. And I think that’s, I think that’s super inefficient. Or it just people can’t be focused in that sort of environment. And people just tend to walk around talk all the time. It’s better if you’re like, Shut them into like a small room and you can focus

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because I actually, like heard this at night and other podcasts, it was about the product productivity. And they were talking about this kind of two opinions, which are really like contradicting because most of the companies are having now open up a office space. Yeah. But then it’s not really according to the productivity rules, because that’s your most productive when you’re on your own. So it’s kind of contradicting now like, what is happening or what is actually true.

Stefan Hansson  

Yeah, exactly. And I think would be worth going away. That’s one sort of thing that I just think is like, not sound work in practice that most companies just have an open office space. I don’t know why they have that. But I just think it’s, it like limits the productivity. I think the productivity would go up if people were more focused on the more stuff on their own. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Maybe combination of it somehow. Yeah,

Stefan Hansson  

yeah. Yeah, exactly. Maybe you have like a bunch of rooms and then have like an open office space. And then you have tables with wheels on them. And people can just sit wherever they want. Yeah. Yeah, they can just steal a room if they want to work focus for a while.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And last question, that would be like, what would you want to be remembered for in 100? years?

Stefan Hansson  

That’s a tricky question. Yeah, but I think I would be, I would prefer it to be remembered by something by being a good person and contributing with something to humanity, rather than an add on. I would hope that that would be something art related. But I prefer to be like, not not really remembered in the art scene, because I think it’s, I’d rather be remembered as being a good person than, than a good artist, as opposed. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

I think that’s great. So guys, don’t forget to inspire each other and help each other to succeed. So thank you for joining me and for everyone listening as well. And thank you, and hope to see you like Where would you like to go and creating company and games and other arts in the future. Thank you. Thank you so much. 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 enjoy 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 Art Side of Life podcast, 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.

Recommended: