[ We decided to start putting some older gfx related articles from various old but now dead diskmags(if possible, with their authors permission of course). The main reason for this, is that it's a great pity that so many good and interesting articles end up forgotten forever.Older articles show a bit of a scene history.They can show us how graphicians were doing back then, describe old trends, happenings and even drawing techniques as well as the usual scenish gossip from the old days.Furthermore, many topics of old articles are just as actual today as they were back then.I'm sure that many of you will find these articles interesting, entertaining and even nostalgic.If you have some older gfx releated articles please feel free to mail them to us ]

The following article was originally written for NO SENSE 1(February 1996), now dead Amiga mag.

[ please note that all reprints are always framed like below ]

"Beautiful turf"
- Much turf and many thoughts not comparable...

"95% of all released pictures are copied crap", are words that easily could be said by someone else than this "pretty curious fellow", Tobias Jansson. But it's most probable that this wouldn't be the case!

By Joakim Bengtsson (Frame / C-Lous)

Introduce yourself shortly to the readers.

"I am a 20-year old, pretty curious fellow, born and bred in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. I'm christened Tobias Jansson and my so called "handle" used to be something like "Electron".
I graduated from the science course ("naturvetenskaplig linje", that is) at the senior high school last spring and I'm now supposed to study Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.
In my spare time, when not situated in front of the computer I e.g. devote my time to playing some floorball and some table-tennis and doing some long distance running; I use to head for "G÷teborgs varvet" each May. In the summertime I go sailing once in a while. It should also be said that I do some drawing and painting on paper when I get some time over and feel inspired."

Tell us how you began your scene career and describe generally how you continue it.

"The first Amiga came into my house way back in August 1989. I suppose I was 13 years old by then. It's a bit tricky to tell exactly when one started to get interested in The Scene and scene matters as it's much a question of definition; yes, I watched some demos in early 1990 but had I become a scener because of that? Anyway, when I'd left the worst phase of "gaming" I joined a so called "user-group" called TFOAU (The Federation Of Amiga Users), which distributed Public Domain programs and one or two demos on "member disks" that were sent out to the members. I got to know the person behind TFOAU pretty well (Hi, Henrik!), and I got "permission" to start a "demo section", the main purpose of which was to set up a demo library. However, TFOAU was discontinued due to lack of members, and I and the "leader" decided to form a "real" demo group instead, called Softrev.
We released one small intro, which featured my first released piece of graphics, a blue, extremely simple Softrev logo, but was in mid 1991, if I remember right, asked to join Fantasy, a promising group with a handful of very talented members. Though, most productions looked to come to nothing in the end, and the group was dispersed in mid 1992 after only one intro, Fanta.
In the beginning of the autumn the same year I got a call from Incido/Reflex (also known as Reflexpeter, the man who shines in the dark...) who I'd met at the Easter party held by Phenomena the same spring. He asked if I would like to join Reflex. So I did and everything seemed just fine in the group: nice atmosphere, rather talented and productive members who'd been in The Scene for quite some time. I hung around in this group for over a year. We released the "legendary" XS (Excess) demo in the summer of 1993 - but unfortunately something went wrong. The fact that a lot of traders, of whom a handful appeared to be more or less neo-Nazis, was let into the group in addition to my having a personal quarrel with a certain member, made me and the other serious members consider starting a new group.
Pointless was formed, as an "independent" subgroup of Reflex. Though, the Oepir Risti project had, simultaneously, started to take shape and I and S.Duvan, who was not in Reflex, felt that it would be good to be in the same group when we released Oepir Risti. We thus formed Citron. shortly before The Party III (in 1993, that is). Though, Pointless appeared to be wanting me as member and Citron. was thus persuaded to join Pointless as a subgroup; I was then a member of Citron. / Pointless / Reflex! Unfortunately, Pontless' connection to Reflex proved too strong at The Party and Citron. left to become independent - quickly!
My stay in Citron. is my longest stay in a group this far, going on two years and six months. However, I joined the merry and friendly but still deeply serious Sardonyx as a "double-member" a couple of weeks ago at the Hype Micro Party '95 in ═lnlycke, Sweden..."
Phew, that was a rather long story, I guess, although I haven't been in that many groups - comparatively. "Scene stories" as well as "life stories" are always interesting, aren't they?"

Why did you guys name the group Citron.? (For all those who don't know, Citron. means, exactly, Lemon. in Swedish.)

"We named our group Citron. as a kind of protest against all fruit groups. Not that we had anything against Melon Dezign or Lemon. or other clones, but it appeared that people couldn't come up with anything original when one saw, time and time again, group names constructed of the M, E, L, O, N - letters (Nemol, Nolem...), logos drawn using the same principle as the classic black and white Melon logo, etc, etc. We thought that Citron. - at least in Sweden - sounded ridiculous enough to make people understand that we wanted them to react and wake up. Maybe we succeeded, maybe we only managed to throw ourselves onto the pile of other fruits. Anyway, the whole fruit-phenomenon seems to have had it's time, and, honestly, I've actually grown a bit weary about the name; the risk of getting connected to Absolute Vodka Citron is obvious - and no good - when the fruit trend is long ago forgotten. But, on the other hand, Lemon. seems to be back..."

Why doesn't Citron. release more intros, demos etc.? Citron. has actually one of the most talented coders in Sweden, namely S.Duvan. And you are one of the best designers / graphicians in Sweden.

"The fact that we only have released Oepir Risti this far is mainly due to our having very few members and these members' being no full-time sceners. In short words, time's the only enemy. Though, perhaps with the true meaning of the word - there will be an intro for Icing '96. Thus, I wouldn't mind if we had time to release other things once in a while - as long as they would keep a decent degree of quality."

Please, tell us why Citron. only consists of 3 persons. (S.Duvan, Tobias Jansson and Slash.)

"We believe that if one wants to keep a group together for a long period of time and manage to keep up a good atmosphere it's far easier to have three members instead of 20 or 30. However, one or two more members would do no harm as things tend to go faster and sometimes also end up better when more people cooperate."

How come that your diskmagazine are that non-scene related compared to other diskmagazines? And why do you think your mag get that small support?. According to the Oepir Risti Staff, the mag gets to little support. Tell us what you think about that."

"Oepir Risti was initially meant as a small mag-like production in which Puh/Agony would publish his short stories and poems. When we decided to make a full-size magnetic publication, a disk magazine, it was natural to make it kind of alternative with Puh's literature column as one of the main sections. Thus, we've never aimed to release an ordinary scene publication; we see the disk magazine as one medium among others in which topics of just any kind can be dealt with. From the start we've had a notion not to publish much news and plain "reports" from scene events and doings as there are some - nowadays rather professional - magazines that take care of that part. If we are to publish scene articles they should preferably be articles of debate that can create opinion and cause discussion; The Scene also needs magazines that watch and criticize rather than objectively and plainly report. These kind of articles are naturally more difficult to write as they demand interesting subjects and thought trough ideas. A "scene report" or news column doesn't really need that much thought from the writer.
The problem with little "support" was chiefly urgent in our first issues and this is, I suppose, but natural; we actually received quite a lot of material for the sixth issue. Personally I think that a magazine should not be dependent on external writers. If you have a look at an ordinary paper magazine, you'll find that the better part of the articles are written by the same persons, steady editors, issue after issue. Thus, I guess our problem is that our steady editors are too few - merely the Oepir Risti Staff, which consists of not more than three persons."

And finally, my last question about the Oepir Risti project, who is Alvar Andersson? The man who receives the support of Oepir Risti.

"Alvar Andersson is, belive it or not, Puh's grandfather. Alvar and his wife Svea are official letter receivers of Oepir Risti. This was organized because of two reasons. Firstly, we didn't want letters from humble supporters and benevolent subscribers to lie unguarded in one of our postboxes during the time between the postman and our coming home. Secondly, it's a matter of fact that old folk easily get a bit "rusty" if they don't have much to do or look forward to. As Alvar and Svea live next to door to Puh we thought that we'd make people send their Oepir Risti letters to their address and cheer them up a bit. And so we did. Though, Alvar does not open the envelopes so you need not start your letters with "Hi, Alvar!", if you do not extremely much want to. Anyhow, Alvar thanks all polite letter writers."

Many words and much turf about art...
Let's take a step over to the world of art and ask you when you first began to take your mind in act and use your computer to express yourself artistically.

"I got Deluxe Paint II as a birthday present for my 14th birthday in January 1990 and then took my first stumbling paces that very spring. It was, however, not until the beginning of 1991 I started to try more serious graphics - simultaneously with my joining the scene movement."

Tell us a bit about your favourite Amiga artists.

"Considering the high number of graphicians one might think that there should be many worth admiring, but so is not the case - at least not with me. The better part of the so called Amiga "artists" doesn't reach beyond kindergarten in choosing motives and being proud of works initially drawn by someone else. Though, there's a handful of graphicians that I deeply respect and admire - but there are actually few real artists in The Scene.
My absolute favourite is, of course, Ra, the best computer artist ever. His original motives drawn with feeling in a very personal, kind of abstract, way, combined with his wonderful colours and curious technique, make his works true pieces of art that differ from those of all other computer graphicians.
There is a wide gap between Ra and other graphicians I respect. Facet may seem merely one in the row of copiers, and, yes, he has copied the bulk of his pictures but there's always been something magnificent about this fellow. He's always been able to draw good-looking logos and design his pictures in a personal way. Lately he has released some really awesome things like the stunning logo in the RAW 8 intro and the weird tree in his graphics column in the same magazine. These works of art have proved him a very interesting graphician with original ideas and technique.
I once disliked most of the work by Fade One; one has to search long to find more boring motives than those featured in Never Liked Uno! Though, this guy's got something special, an original technique, and has, e.g. with his vivid graphics in ROM and the great fish in Never Liked Uno showed that he can draw with feeling.
Fairfax and Lazur are masters of realistic pictures but seem to be more or less stuck to redrawing. Devilstar has created one or two masterpieces; bright colours and funny ideas make his pictures something special.
Mack, Hof and Joachim have splendid techniques and sometimes interesting motives and ideas. Alex and the outside Sweden rather unknown Duffe/Sardonyx boast weird, cartoon-like pictures, have crazy ideas and different techniques. Uno, the old master, is respectable for being the first to draw with a decent technique. Finally is the works of another more or less unknown Swedish artist, Prowler/Passion, worth having a look at; always self drawn motives, often with a magnificent depth."

What about logos? Who are your favourite when it comes to logotypes? And which logos do you find most attractive?

"It's remarkable how few good logo drawers there are; but what can one expect when the better part of our great "artists" use grids to make the proportions in their copied pictures look at least relatively OK; have you ever seen a good-looking logo from Fairfax, Cougar, Devilstar, Peachy, Lazur, Slaine or Fiver?
However, there are quite a few stunning logos around after all, among which the best, naturally, are drawn by Ra. His white Sanity logo in Arte is a wondrous creation, the beauty of which cannot be expressed. The green Sanity logo in Arte, the Interpol logo, the Virtual Dreams logo in Psychedelic and the NoooN logo in No are also miles ahead most other logos.
Hof has made a handful of brilliant pieces, e.g. the woody Silents logo, the Silents logo with butterflies, the Bomb logo and the red plastic man with a Melon sign in its stomach. Angeldawn's orange-white Hoodlum logo has extremely well-formed letters and a special light "from within".
Facet's RAW 8 intro logo is a work of art; good, atmospheric colours and an awesome and well carried through idea. Facet has drawn many other great logos through the years, of which the Lemon.-logo in Announce where a hand holds a strange looking face, is one of the most fascinating.
Good old Uno has drawn many rather plain but still very effective logos. His blue Phenomena logo that appears over the "raytraced fractal" in Enigma is just perfect in it's simplicity. Finally the logos by Titan are worth commenting. Most of his logos seem to be based upon the same idea, but especially the ones in Real are very effective and well drawn, using good colours and a smooth technique."

And as a naturally following question, what pictures do you like most?

"As with logos, there are few really good pictures as 95% of all released pictures are copied crap. Again many of the images worth mentioning is drawn by Ra. I cannot pick out one or two of his pictures as his best; Ah, the madman in Arte, Arte herself, the small figures in Arte, the buffalo, Sa and the football player in No are all genuine pieces of art; true feeling behind the motives - behind every pixel and every colour.
Danny's in Bloom is worth looking at. I have a notion that this is his own work and as such it is brilliant; this is a highly harmonic picture that has a lot of qualities. Fade One's small pictures in ROM and his fish in Never Liked Uno are all based upon nice ideas and painted using his very own technique. Devilstar's Weed is one of the best surrealistic pictures.
There is, of course, many other pictures worth watching, but, as said before, most are plain copies and thus extremely uninteresting."

How much time do you spend on a picture or a logo?

"Unfortunately, I work very, very slowly. this is chiefly due to two reasons. Firstly, I'm extremely - and probably too - careful and accurate with every pixel. Secondly, I draw very few images - because of lack of time - and have thus never gathered any great routine.
I seldom count how much time I put into my pictures or logos. Though, a fair estimation of the time it took to draw e.g. the title picture for this very No Sense issue would be 25-30 hours. Logos are mostly finished in two, three or four evenings, which would make about 8-15 hours. These estimations are, however, not very trustworthy."

Were do you get your inspiration? As I know your opinion about people who redraw, do you redraw any of your pictures or motives?

"Redraw my pictures? Hell no! Only those who are in an imminent lack of visual intelligence copy their pictures. I would never, ever be proud of a picture copied from another artist. Of course I get INSPIRED when I see different works of art but I'm never tempted to copy them. Sometimes I feel that I want to try to paint something similar or use a similar technique - but never copy straight off!
I like to draw motives from nature and I actually get most of my ideas from nature itself. If I see something beautiful, a tree or a butterfly, a pretty girl or some turf, I often start to think how it would be to draw something like that and a "vision" of a picture forms in my mind. There are so many beauteous things in the world, so many places to collect inspiration; it's really a pity it takes so much time to draw pictures on the computer."

You use scanners some time when you create pictures and logos. Don't you think that's a bit shameful as it makes the work with the mouse much easier?

"The computer is one artistic medium among many others, the scanner is one artistic tool among many others such as the pencil, the airbrush, the antialias tool in Deluxe Paint - and the mouse. Make one's work with the mouse easier? Who said everything has to be mouse drawn? What matters is that your work is original and not made by someone else. What I've scanned is some of my OWN black and white pencil sketches and then developed them further on the computer. I like drawing on paper and I am actually able to draw on paper - apart from many other graphicians - so why shouldn't I use my paperwork on the computer when I have the possibility. There's nothing shameful with this as it's merely one way of creating pictures.
What may be shameful in it is that all graphicians haven't got a scanner at hand, but I guess most people who really want a scanner can find a scanner these days. I, for instance, have used equipment at school. As a parallel one can say that the last pictures by Peachy supposedly haven't exactly been drawn using a standard A1200! These pictures demand a more sophisticated equipment, no doubt."

What do you think of cooperation projects, like drawing a picture together with another graphician? Who would you like to cooperate with? (Do you speak French?)

"To cooperate as graphicians is a good idea as it would decrease the time one person has to put down into each picture. However, there are many degrees of cooperation, of course. I've only cooperated seriously on pictures two times, I think: The Flyggalning published in the editorial of Oepir Risti 2 (I believe) which was drawn together with my brother Henrik, and an unreleased picture that depicts a horse (or something) together with Duffe/Sardonyx. Both times I finished or "worked up" sketches by the said persons. Thus, I was more or less free to do what I wanted with the pictures. I suppose it's much more difficult to create a decent picture if two graphicians paint different parts of an image as that requires somewhat similar techniques - otherwise the picture would give a shattered impression.
It would be interesting to make a cooperation picture with Ra, of course, as he paints - at least technically seen - in a way I dream of being able to paint. However, I'm afraid I would feel just too inferior, and, besides, my French is not very good..."

What kind of pictures do you prefer or like most to draw?

"I like motives from nature; charming animals, trees and turf are funny to paint. I'm fascinated of playing around with letters of different forms and shapes and thus form harmonic logos of various kinds. I do not like straight lines very much or motives that demand mathematical calculations in any way. (However, I do like mathematics...)"

Do you admire any not scene related artists? If yes, name some of them. It would also be very interesting with an explanation why you like each artist.

"There are hundreds of supremely gifted artists that I admire and respect for various qualities. The following is a very incomplete list over some of my favourites - in no special order: Salvador Dali, MC Escher, Juan Miro, Rene Magritte, Carl Barks, Don Rosa, Rune Andreasson, Joakim Pirinen, Ilon Wikland, John Bauer, Elisabeth Ryhre, Lasse Aberg, Claude Monet, John Mac Whirter, Bruno Liljefors, Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Marcus Larsson, Boris Vallejo, Tim White, Rodney Mathews and John Howe. I guess this list is pretty uninteresting without comments, but it would take just to long to write something on each and every one..."

OK, let's end this interview with your own words, like greetings, messages etc, etc...

"I guess I'm not in the mood for throwing away any great deal of greetings and messages; I'm after all answering this interview on a sail yacht way out in the archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden; the sun is shining, the sea is glittering and the gentle wind is filling our sails. Though, to everybody stuck to redrawing I just have to say that what you're doing is incredibly boring! Read Oepir Risti, and remember that the fellow you possibly knew as "Electron" is called Tobias Jansson. All wonderful beings in this odd world can feel themselves swiftly greeted!"

Thank you very much for letting me interview and disturb you a warm summerday like this.

Please note that this interview was carried out in the summer of 1995 but that it, because of its being rather out of date, was slightly updated in January 1996 just before the release of No Sense. Thus, there might be some ambiguos statements that lingers on.

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