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Interview

Artist Mattias Adolfsson recommends some books

Readersvoice.com aims to give people a few good reading tips. Check out the article list for even more suggestions.Mattias Adolfsson works as a senior artist for a computer games studio, Simbin, which employs 30 people in Goteborg (or Gothenburg), Sweden. In his spare time he creates ink drawings of houses and other scenery in picturesque Swedish towns.I asked him about his life, work, and techniques - and for some reading suggestions.

READERSVOICE.COM: What’s your daily routine in Gothenburg?

MATTIAS ADOLFSSON: If it’s a work day I get up at about 6am, and my wife and I eat breakfast before waking the kids and getting them ready for school; then I go by bike to work.

I work for a small game studio in Gothenburg as an senior artist.

At 5 pm I bike home; if the weather is fine we eat dinner on the porch, then spend time with the kids before reading for them and putting them to sleep.

After that I like to get in a couple of hours drawing, then some reading and sleep.

RV: What games are you working on?

MA: I’m working on a game called GTR 360, and that’s the first game I’m doing for this studio.

I used to work for Digital Illusion in Stockholm.

On the GTR game I work as a track modeler; I model race circuits, and scenery objects for the games.

RV: Did you grow up in Gothenburg? What was it like where you grew up?

MA: No, I grew up just outside of Stockholm; it was a great time, with a lot of friends my age.

Every summer we used to spend 10 weeks on Stora Kornö, my father’s birthplace.

There’s no cars on the island, just under 50 houses.

The summers were just full of playing soccer, fishing, bathing and playing; it was like paradise.

RV: Can you recommend four or five books you really enjoyed (fiction, non-fiction, biographies, art, anything), and say what you liked about them?

MA: I read a lot, and as I listen to audiobooks I can maximise my reading time; when I do the daily chores, or am out running I’m always listening.

I like to alternate between fiction and non fiction.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, is a book I highly enjoyed; it was a whole new way of looking at the history of the world.

Simon Singh writes about science in a way that makes it feel like a thriller.

I read most of his books, but if I had to choose one it has to be the The Code Book about cryptography.

On the fiction side, I’d like to mention Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry, a moving story about a parser family living in Bombay (Mumbai); Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (he was a skilled Illustrator as well) – a bizarre fantasy tale; and Aksel Sandemose – A Refugee Crosses His Tracks – that book was very important to me growing up.

RV: When and where did you study architecture? What did you like about it, and what made you decide to stop after two years?

MA: I studied Architecture at Chalmers technical college. I have always loved houses and to draw them, but not to construct them.

RV: When and where did you study fine art and did you specialise in drawing?

MA: I took my Masters of Fine Arts in graphic Design at HDK (School of arts and craft at Gothenburg University ).

I did not specialise in drawing, but I draw in my spare time.

RV: What advice would you give for people seeking a mastery of line drawing and cross-hatching?
MA: The traditional mantra is “not a day without a sketch”, but for me I have to enjoy it as well.

Otherwise it’s good to study the old masters, to read some art history.

RV: What are the main things you consider when drawing a picture?

MA: If it’s from life, be sure to choose a place that is comfortable enough.

If it’s from imagination anything goes.

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