Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Artist Spotlight on Hardbodies

French artist Stef also goes by the name Hardbodies, and for good reason. His comic illustrations of muscle women for sites like Amy's Conquest have a detailed style, focusing on the bodybuilders as women first. A multi-talented artist, his gallery showcases work in various mediums and a wide variety of interests and inspirations.

I wanted to get to know Stef a little better and sat down with him to ask a few questions.

• What do preferred to be called?
Well, St├ęphane is my real name, you can call me Stef.

• When and where were you born?
I’m born in Salon-de-Provence in the South of France in 1972

• Where do you currently live?
In a small village few kilometres from the city where I was born.

• What are your interests, hobbies or passions?
I always been interested by drawings and comics, of course not the comics you think about but “French comics”, even if I have read some American comics when I was young, in the late 70s. My other hobby is modeller. My apartment is full of military and sci-fi miniatures! And I play history miniatures wargames too… I’m really crazy about miniatures!

I’m interested also in history, architecture, American cars, sci-fi… I have so many things to do, 24 hours days are not enough to do all!

• Do you have a job other than producing your artwork?
I only make artworks in my spare time, it’s not my job even if some years ago I have done comics professionally. I had problems with my editor and I chose to stop and change job.

Now I’m a magazine graphic designer and also journalist in military history. I’m “specialized” in American Civil War and Russo-Japanese War.


• How long have you been an artist?
Well, I began to drawn some pro stuff in the late 90 but if you ask when I’ve started to draw, I can say that was at 4 or 5, and I didn’t stop since this time.

• What inspired you to become an artist?
I don’t really know. My dad was a bit an artist too, maybe I’ve seen him drawing. And perhaps Japanese cartoons inspired me a lot in this way. I loved TV Japanese anime like Great Mazinger, Captain Harlock or Captain Future… Muscular women came a long time after. At this time, I didn’t even know a woman can have big muscles! Even if I was greatly impressed when I read the first issue of She Hulk!

• Do you have formal art training or education? Where?
No, I’ve learnt by myself. My parents didn’t want me to do a school art lol!

• What artists have influenced you?
At first, Zebodoi, in the 90s, before web. I’ve bought some of his artwork at Athena2, a French shop in Paris. There was another guy in the late 90s, early 2000, on the web…I can’t remember his name but he was famous at this time. Oh yes! Scoundrel! He was everywhere and now totally disappeared… Technically speaking, my influences come from classic comics, mainly French, Italian and Belgium artists. I grown up with Japanese Anime but those didn’t influence me much I think.

• What type of artwork do you create?
Most of time my artworks are very comics style. I like to do all sort of things, mostly Sci-fi or fantasy things. When I do “Muscle Art”, I like to do funny, glamorous or erotic stuff, with often a fantasy touch. My characters are often sci-fi or fantasy characters, I liked the idea of hijacked Panthers such as described in John Norman’s "Gor" and to turn them into wild and very muscular jungle warriors.

I like to do “porn” things sometime, it’s quite rare but it’s funny. I prefer my women being quite realistic, I don’t like much “oversized” muscular women and I don’t draw very well this sort of thing.

• What is your preferred medium?
Pencils, markers and paper! I do colors on computers because it’s the easy way but I don’t really enjoy that. I prefer classic methods!

• Do you have a favorite subject matter?
Woman! It’s the most beautiful subject in the universe! :D  I love classic pin-up girls, and I like to draw muscular girls in the same way. It’s how I like really drawing bodybuilders: showing they are women first.

• Describe your artistic style:
Detailed, too much detailed sometime. Even if I have done more than one hundred pages of comics in my life, I’m still not really satisfied with my work.


• Is there something that makes your artwork special?
Hmmm, no, technically there is nothing special. The only special thing is perhaps the way I show female bodybuilders. Most of the time, I want to show them like women, simple women but with a little particularity. Yes, of course, I do fantasy stuff, but then, the characters are not bodybuilders, they are warriors, wild Panthers or Sci-fi soldiers… It’s a bit different.

Perhaps it would be interesting to ask to people who like what I do, they would give you the right answer! :)

• Who or what are your inspirations?
My inspirations often come from my Women Physique World and Muscle Elegance magazines, my main models are Denise Masino, Lindsay Mulinazzi or Annie Rivieccio. Of course there are others but I often use pictures from these women. To be honest, my very first model was Annie, she always looked awesome.

• Can you describe your creation process and technique:
I imagine a scene and when I can really “see” it, I start to do sketches. I use a light box and I can make many sketches before I can find the right drawing. Then I do a more detailed drawing, always with a pencil and my light box. Then, I can ink the final work from this detailed drawing.

• Was there one artwork or event that was a turning point in your career? Why?
Not really an artwork, but an event, or two. When I discovered female bodybuilding in the late 80s, first, I was amazed! The second time was when I bought a Bill Dobbins book. That was in 1997 I think and I started then to draw muscular women.

• Have you received any awards, prizes or other fame for your work?
Ahaha! No! Of course not! I’m just an amateur. I receive congratulations and encouragements from people who like my art, it’s enough for me.


• Is there one of your own works that's a personal favorite? Why?
Hmm, maybe the drawing I have done for the Freya website. It combines beauty, femininity and strength. And I like the “Mucha” style.

• Do you have any future plans or ideas you can tell us about?
About “female muscle”, I will go on working with “Amy’s Conquest”. I can’t do more. My days are not long enough to do more! :D

I’m working on a comic, something I do for my own pleasure (and maybe self published later). I want to mix my love of the 70s era and old American cars.

The story will be a sort of “Starsky and Hutch” stuff, about two cops, a man and a woman, in the Los Angeles of the 70s. it's an hard work, especially to make the atmosphere and appearance of the streets of Los Angeles at that time. And the fashion too!

• Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, thanks to all people who support me :)

See more of Stef's work at his Harbodies DeviantArt page.

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