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Jacob Max is a very busy guy. He works all day and paints all night. This man is creating some of the most breathtaking digital art today. And he’s doing it on a $22 tablet! He’s a great example to show people who think they need to spend a lot of money on the highest end technology to be a good artist. Jacob shows that it isn’t the tool that matters, it’s the artist, and their vision. His work is simple yet refined, and is heavily influenced by Hayao Miyazaki. Jacob is still early in his career, but he is one to watch.
We look forward to the day when we can see thousands of his “Polaroid Paintings.” Jacob has a very strong work ethic and is primarily self taught. He talks about how he has gone through much “pain” and turmoil while learning to create these works and when faced with the idea of giving up, he perseveres and continues to get better. Jacob also has a desire to help inspire others to draw and paint as well, and that’s something Urban-Muse believes very deeply in. Jacob Max is one of Urban-Muse’s very favorite artists for sure.
Urban-Muse.com Introductory Statement: Jacob you have been posting art to the Urban-Muse wall for quite some time and I have always found your art to be impressive. You seem to be early in your career so there’s still lots more art to come and you’ll no doubt get better and better. It’s an honor to feature you here.
Urban-Muse.com: Let’s get started! Jacob, according to your Artstation you are located in Shibuya, Japan. (Ed. Note He’s actually in Quezon City, Phillipines) This would make you our second Japanese artist featured, the previous one was wataboku in the last issue. What can you tell us about being an artist in Japan? How has it influenced your work?
Jacob Max: Lol, I am a Filipino, and also I’m not really residing in Japan. Actually, when I first created my Artstation account, I seriously put Japan because that’s my goal to fill it with Hayao Miyazaki’s influence artwork and someday to meet him. I didn’t even know people would believe that I’m residing there. That’s my mistake and I’m sorry for misleading.
Urban-Muse.com: Immediately when looking at your work, it becomes really apparent that you have a thing for Polaroid’s. In fact your Instagram is titled “Polaroid Painting” but ironically it seems that it has sketches whereas your Artstation has your paintings formatted to look like Polaroid’s. Please tell us what this is all about.
Jacob Max: Square format type, there is a beauty of square type photos that the rectangular images lack. From the square ones, it moves your eyes around the image. It focuses only on the specific object that the photographer or painter wanted you to see. That’s what I want to capture. Especially females that I’ve always been painting. Their eyes, lips and the story behind those faces.
Supposedly my Artstation should showcase all of my pieces. My Instagram on the other hand should be posts of my Polaroid paintings, but the thing is I’m not really a techy guy on a smartphone; I don’t have one. I only use this software called Gramblr to upload some of my work at instagram. Maybe some other time I will correct it, hehehehe.
Urban-Muse.com: I want to talk a little bit about “Polaroid 001.” You posted this a few months ago on the Urban-Muse wall, generally I do not like wall posts, but this one was one I really loved, it’s pretty much the best submission to the wall ever. We reposted it and it did very well (2.4k likes). This seems to be the first Polaroid piece? Can we talk a bit about that one? Why was it important to you?
Jacob Max: That was my first time posting my Polaroid painting in public. At first, I was skeptical to promote or share it to others since it will be a series. But later on, I just realized that I’m still practicing and needs critique. I don’t usually draw much, just observing is enough to me, I later apply that into my paintings. Hopefully, I will release those paintings in 2018 as well as the speed paints and the “How to” Videos.
Urban-Muse.com: What has been the most difficult thing about being an artist?
Jacob Max: Let’s say, you want a specific look for your next illustration or concept, for it to be as realistic as possible. But when you’re 75% done with the painting, you realize “this is not what I pictured” or “what this is supposed to be”.
Yes, I’m the guy who cringes about the final look of my paintings. Sometimes, I like the outcome of it. But most of my paintings, if it doesn’t look good, it’ll end up as a pending or a WIP (Work in Progress).
Urban-Muse.com: What has been the most rewarding thing about being an artist?
Jacob Max: For me, the most rewarding thing is especially the social media. To get likes, having good reviews and gaining followers is the biggest thing. It motivates me to do more art and to inspire others as well. Also to my family, friends and colleagues who support me
and believe in me, that’s my biggest reward as well.
Urban-Muse.com: Who are your artistic influences? Past and present.
Jacob Max: Hayao Miyazaki. He inspired me a lot with his beyond wild imagination. Since then, Miyazaki’s works motivates me to do great stuff. When I feel burned out, I’ll just watch some of his masterpiece. Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky or Spirited Away.
Urban-Muse.com: You seem to be primarily digital but also some pencil sketches. What kind of tablet do you use? What size?
Jacob Max: I use the cheaper one since then. 6” Flex Design Tablet that costs for only $21.17 USD. (Ed. Note: WOW! I checked this and it’s true, he does this work on a $20 tablet!)
Urban-Muse.com: Would you recommend any brushes or presets that our readers might enjoy?
Jacob Max: Mostly, 95% of the time I use the default Photoshop Brushes like soft brush, and scattered leaves as textures.
Urban-Muse.com: Which social media / art site has been most influential to you for building your fan base? Artstation?
Jacob Max: Yes, Artstation is the best social media for building portfolio. And as well the Facebook. I haven’t create a page for my artwork, but since I posted some of my piece online, lots of people followed me here. Aside from Facebook and Artstation, I created my YouTube Channel to showcase some of my Illustrations and “How to” Videos.
Urban-Muse.com: How do you find time in your day to draw or paint?
Jacob Max: Early in the morning, I go to work as a Video Editor, Engineer to be precise. After that, that’s the time to paint and draw. Sometimes I end up working until 5AM in the morning.
Urban-Muse.com: If an artist were to walk up to you and ask you how they could get better, improve their art, and maybe paint like you; what would you tell them?
Jacob Max: Don’t stop drawing. Find your motivation and start research on what you inspired on your next piece. Later on, if you compare your previous piece, you will notice the big difference and what you improved.
Also don’t be afraid to ask critique you work. That way, you will know what your mistakes were and how to avoid them in your next piece.
Urban-Muse.com: Sometimes artists feel like they want to give up. Have you ever felt that way? Would you have advice to our readers on how to deal with those feelings?
Jacob Max: When I first started in this field, I was in that situation. Whether it is their hobby to draw or wanted to as a profession. When you have that feeling, the first thing you need to keep in mind is: “Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurting. Get a reward from it.”
Urban-Muse.com: This is a serious question, so I’m sorry in advance. In this issue I am going to tackle a very serious subject that seems to be quite common in the Artist community. Depression. Personally I suffer from it and am trying to work through it, and I’m going to write about it to hopefully help some people out there who might be having a hard time. Have you ever experienced depression? How did it affect your work? Were you able to overcome it? Do you possibly have advice for other artists on how to deal with this?
Jacob Max: We all know someone who has depression. But we might not in the same situation. I myself had a depression cause of my family problems, insecurities and financial issues. That really affects my motivations and causes me sleep deprivation.
For me, I reccomend going to our love ones to talk ‘bout this, because depression is a serious matter. Some may lead to suicide, and we don’t want that. When I get depression, I ended up sketching a lot. In my side, that’s a good thing but on the other hand of course, that’s a bad thing. That’s why I use music to overcome sadness. Walking around the forests for about 30 minutes makes me feel comfortable and relaxed. Find funny videos too, hehehehehe. If you have depression, don’t think too much on the bad side. The first thing you need to do is to have a conversation to other people regarding this matter. That way, you will know the roots of your depression and you will overcome it eventually.
Urban-Muse.com: Where did you learn to draw/paint? Did you go to Art School or are you self-taught?
2013: College days as an IT (Information Technology), Subject: Arts Application. That’s the time when everyone sees my potential as an artist, the amateur one. I don’t really know the basic elements of arts and stuff. It all started when I drew an OC (Original Character) of an Anime Female Archer. One of my classmates from that subject complimented my work. From that moment, I gathered research, the book “how to draw manga”, anime, anatomy and so on. Drawings at night, sleep at day. Daily routine is to have a more than 10 sheets of bond paper sketching. I wasted 2 reams of bond paper just to sketch anime, and it still have it on me. That’s how I learned how to draw.
2014: When I saw videos tons of awesome digital painting. That’s when I realized I badly needed a graphic tablet. I gathered lots of references, researching on how to paint, and so on. That’s how it all started I guess. This is not what I pictured when I entered college but I never regret all of ‘em because this is now my passion.
Urban-Muse.com: The Art world is changing so fast because of new technologies like tablets and VR. What do you see the future look like for art and artists?
Jacob Max: I’m not really techy, so I don’t know, sorry, hehehehe.
Urban-Muse.com: What are your goals and outlook going forward? What can we expect in the future from Jacob Max?
Jacob Max: So far, I am practicing studying various stylesof art from Japanese to Western art. And focusing on growing my YouTube Channel. Making more paintings to keep fellow and young artists to inspired more and to want to elevate their skills.
Urban-Muse.com: If you could talk to a younger version of your self-knowing all that you know now and what you have learned, what would you tell him?
Jacob Max: You will learn more from you’re failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character. Keep focused on what you believe in. Inspire. Motivate. Heads up!! And there are many obstacles that may come. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. Learn from your pain, you’re already hurt. Get a reward from it. So, work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.
And one more thing, Stand Out!! Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
Urban-Muse.com: Thanks so much for being a part of this Jacob!
Jacob Max: It was my honor to have on this awesome interview.
You can follow Jacob Max’s Art here: