Professional artist Uwe Jarling used to think of himself as a superhero of art, living a dual life.
By day, he was a mild-mannered art director for an advertising agency in Germany. By night, he created dark fantasy worlds of his own devising.
"I turned into this crazy freak doing all this crazy fantasy stuff (not much time for sleep, btw)," said Jarling, who is known as j-art to the Renderosity community.
That was until he gave up his day job to focus fully on his art.
But Jarling's starts before that, back in 1992 after he had graduated from university.
He had just gotten a degree in graphic design and had picked up a couple freelance assignments for VHS, CD, T-shirts and book covers, like for the VHS German releases of Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nightfall starring Michael Douglas, along with a couple Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee videos.
He used traditional art techniques "mainly watercolors, oils, airbrush, all that stuff," he said.
"As the video market slowly died, I had to search for other options. I got a job offer around 2002 from an advertising agency and took the job as graphic designer and worked my ranks up to the art director," he said.
Meanwhile, as he worked as a mild-mannered art director, he launched his nightly "fantasy art career."
From dragons to devils, Jarling drew from his imagination to create a fantasy world. Everything he created was a hit. Name a magazine and he was in it.
He made it to the top of Epilogue and was selected for Masters of Fantasy 2 and 3, Exposé 4 and 6, Exotique 2, Erotic Fantasy Art 2, The art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, The art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, Pocket Fantasy Art, Drakaina Masters, Fantasy Art Now, Imagine FX Magazin, 3d World Magazin, 3D Hobby Magazin, The Fantasy Illustrator’s Technique Book, How to Draw and Paint Science Fiction Art, and Digital Horror Painting Workshop.
"I've been to conventions and meet most of my artist idols personally. It was one hell of a cool time," he reminisced.
During that time, he also found the Renderosity community and was contributing to the gallery as j-art.
"When I put my first works into the gallery, I got all those fantastic comments. I just was not used to something like that," he said, explaining at the ad agency the only comments he got were critical.
"In Renderosity, I had the first reactions from people that are not clients," he said about his first posts in 2003. "And, hell, I got so many nice comments I can't tell you the feeling I had - it was amazing! This pushed me enormously!"
But not everything was looking good for the illustrators
Long before the VCR died, the market for VHS illustrators dried up as illustrators were replaced by Photoshop.
"To make it short, I had to look for other things and I always wanted to do fantasy illustration. I already had a Wacom and Photoshop for my graphic design work, I just never used it for painting," he said.
So he reached out to the Renderosity community.
He found longtime member Andy Simmons who goes by the screenname Hobbit, who introduced Jarling to Byce and a couple other programs.
"I used Vue and tried something like that as well (never got it as good as he did), so I found that painting on a computer is not that much different than 'real painting,'" he said.
Then he found Painter.
"I actually started to paint on the computer same as I did it with traditional media," he said about trading his paint brush for a Wacom pen.
Then the ad agency went belly up in 2012.
He got another ad job, but it wasn't a good fit or "hell on earth" as he called it.
"If there's a hell, just ask me, I know the way," he said jokingly.
The job was so draining, he didn't have the energy to create his fantasy art or anything for the Renderosity galleries.
He lived that hell of almost four years and lost most of his illustration clients along the way.
"That company that made me ill, really ill, robbed all my energy," he said. It got so bad it made him seriously physically ill.
So he quit and went back to freelancing.
Because he had to reboot his career, he reached out to a community member again.
"Now it seems the circle gets round as I'm back on Renderosity and started creating content together with Ilona Vozari," he said.
He and Vozari have digitally known each other for years and when he needed help, she was there.
"She was kind enough to try it with this crazy fantasy guy to make some content together. I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart," he said.
Over the past few months, they have released a series of background and pose packs for DAZ Studio. First, they released 20 Shades of Love and then Country Memories a supplement for RPublishing's Country Fresh character for HiveWire's horse.
They just released a new product for DAZ3D. Called "Four Seasons," it's a background and poses pack for Genesis 3 Female and Genesis 8 Female figures.
Jarling explained the "really beautiful pack" all center around the four seasons, as the name implies.
The pack comes with 15 poses and mirrored poses, eight high-resolution backgrounds, and two simple bonus cloud backgrounds.
He said it was "amazing" to work with his long-time friend.
"We really work our butts off but we have so much fun," he said. "Work has never been more fun! We have so many things in mind that we want to do, stay tuned! And we are highly motivated."
He has been using 3D programs to sketch and layout his 2D creations for years so he has the resources to create things the community would like and use.
"So in future, there will be much 3D content coming from me," he said.
Michelle Willard, Editor of Renderosity Magazine | Former newspaper reporter. Recovering archaeologist. Political nerd. True crime junkie. Read her articles here.