Local artist wins illustrator award that comes with a trip to Hollywood | Entertainment
Kloee Sander Omaha Editor of the World-Herald
Growing up, Nick Jizba doodled Dungeons & Dragons characters and watched Bob Ross videos in his spare time. He never imagined that art would become his career.
Today, he’s a freelance graphic designer and artist whose work has been judged by the very artists who created the D&D characters he once doodled, and they gave him an international title.
Jizba’s three-part submission won the Illustrators of the Future Award. The award, established in 1983 by L. Ron Hubbard, is a way for science fiction and fantasy artists to receive professional feedback. Jizba is one of three illustrators recognized this quarter. Artists were invited to a week-long workshop led by some of the industry’s top illustrators as well as an awards ceremony on April 8 in Hollywood. Jizba and the other artists will receive a $500 prize and have their work featured in the prize anthology, “L. Ron Hubbard Introduces the Writers of Future Volume 38.”
Jizba, 37, is a graphic designer in Omaha from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an artist every other hour. However, this was not always the case. Jizba worked in construction until 2008. It was supposed to be the “safe option”. At 28, he lost his job during the recession. He worked odds and ends before deciding to go back to school and pursue a riskier career – art. He signed up with ITT Tech for game design. The program was canceled shortly after it started, and its focus shifted.
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“By the time I graduated, I had done all the concept art for most of the things I was doing,” Jizba said. “So, I ended up falling in love with illustration and decided to pursue that more.”
Concept art is very similar to illustration. Jizba said he would draw the overall project image on which the final design would be based. It is not polished or comprehensive but gives a general concept to follow. Jizba’s talent and love for these “quick sketches” opened up a new world of creation for her. He started using digital paint to draw, which uses traditional brushstrokes and tools in Photoshop. To improve his skills, he took webinars with Disney illustrator Chris Oatley and artist Noah Bradley.
He combined his interests and love for digital painting to create his art style: imaginative realism, a modern take on fantasy illustrations from the 70s and 80s.
“It’s just what I like to paint. I like trying to do things that are pretty realistic and I like putting monsters and spaceships and stuff in there,” Jizba said. “So he (his art) kind of fell into that category of ‘inventing stuff and making it look real. “”
Jizba likes to use the landscapes of Nebraska as inspiration for her pieces. Last year, he took a photo of the Platte River and used it as inspiration for Sowing the Seeds of Chaos, which turned it into a book.
Now Jizba is working on her own art book titled “The Sower”. It is about a monster that comes to earth, explores and realizes that the planet is inhabited. In making this book, Jizba is doing the opposite of what most writers do. First, he it’s creating the art, then writing the story. He creates about one illustration per month for the book and aims to create 50 images and sell 1,000 copies.
Jizba plans to go to art conventions this year to sell her work. His art can also be found and purchased on his website www.nickjizba.com.
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