Sci-Fi Art Feature — Tigaer (Christian Hecker)

Next up in our regular SciFi Art showcase, we have some amazing work from Christian Hecker, aka Tigaer. Christian also took the time to answer our whirlwind ‘tell us what makes you tick’ questions.

Thanks for doing an interview! First, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in art and what’s your overall goal? Where do you see yourself going?
From an early age on I had fun drawing things. I never really followed up on it and so my skills in that department stagnated fast. I never really had the drive to become better. Instead I developed an interest in computers. When I got my first PC in the mid 90s I started to check out digital imaging software. Corel Photopaint was part of the software package that came with that PC. I learned some things with it and soon switched over to Photoshop and learned to love it. That was by the end of the 90s and early 2000s. I combined my love for computers with my creativity. At that point I never really thought I would end up doing this stuff professionally at some point. Things fell into place in the following years. I learned basic 3d and how to combine in with my love for Photoshop. I always admire the Matte Painting work in movies and so I naturally loved creating my own landscapes. Over time my scenes became more and more complex. Especially with the futuristic cityscapes I created. Combining rendered material with photos and trying to make it look as seamless as possible. I never had the goal to make my work look photorealistic, which is actually the goal of matte painting, but I certainly used the same techniques that are used for digital matte painting. Finishing up an artwork with the title “Artificial” showed me that I was able to develop the right amount of patience and technical expertise that made me start thinking about doing this stuff professionally. In the following years I tried to become more efficient and tried to streamline my techniques. Pieces like “Elysia”, “Epica”, “Mistral Coast” and “Gates To Elysium” and the feedback they got, convinced me that I’m on the right path. Since then I worked for Authors, Publishers, Games and smaller film productions. My goal would be to work for larger productions at some point.

Mistral Coast

Gates To Elysium

What inspires you to make sci-fi art? TV shows, books, other artists, etc.?
I’d say it’s a mixture of all of that. I recently started rereading Asimov’s “Foundation” series. There I can easily find inspiration. “Hyperion Cantos” by Dan Simmons is another fantastic piece full of descriptions for places that come up in the story, ideal for you to project your own ideas onto. Artists like the sadly just passed away Syd Mead will always blow me away. His body of work is so influential to everyone working in the entertainment industry. So naturally Blade Runner, Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings are prime examples for inspiration when it comes to movies. Of course it’s not wrong to keep your eyes open when you’re outside, observing the world. You can find inspiration the most weird things.

Which of your pieces is your favorite? Why?
Most of the time it’s like the piece you are currently working on, that is usually the one, you’re in love with. It’s hard to pick a specific piece. I like many of my works for different reasons. My piece “Artificial” I love because it’s the one that taught me patience and what I’m able to do with my skills. “Gates To Elysium” I like because it got a lot of attention and once more showed me how far I can go with my skills. “Room With A View” was a scene I had in mind for ages until I sat down tried my best to realize it. I managed to pull it off and again learned a lot with the artwork getting some good attention. “Sanctuary” was a first serious try in creating a scene within a night setup and I got this down pretty nicely too. “Phoenix Rising” and “From Here I Can Almost See The Stars” both are good examples of scifi cityscapes I always wanted to do. All these are older pieces where I would approach certain things differently today but I can still look at them and enjoy them very much. A newer piece, more settled in the fantasy genre is “Journeys Of An Unknown Huntress”. I’ve put insane hours into it and it turned out fantastic. Seeing it on a 150cm X 100cm canvas print is breathtaking.

Journeys Of An Unknown Huntress

What’s your technique like? Do you finish pieces in a single setting or spread them out over multiple days?
Sometimes weeks. I always try to work with dimensions that allow me to print the finished piece as large as possible. That requires me to really dive in and explore the world I’m creating. It naturally requires tons of detail work. Sometimes I even go down to the pixel level. When working on a 8000×4000 pixel large scene… it can become tedious. But it pays off when you see it printed. There’s always new stuff to discover in these scenes. That’s at least when it comes to my personal work.
Now when it comes to commissioned work it’s a little different of course. Depending on the requirements I can work more quick. A client who knows specifically what he wants is quicker to work with than someone who still isn’t sure about things. If it’s the latter then the client and I need to find out what’s right. All the concepts and revisions take their time. If the result works and everyone is happy… it’s ok to take your time and find out what’s best.

From Here I Can Almost See The Stars

Finally, of all the future technology consistently theorized across all forms of media (teleportation, instant communication, genetic editing, spaceflight, cloning, etc.), what would you like to see the most?

Beaming like they do in Star Trek would be cool. But wouldn’t we in consequence end up like the humans in Wall-E? Something I really wish for mankind is an efficient way for space travel. We need to get out there and move on. With all consequences that come with it too. “The Expanse” shows nicely how all that would probably work out. We will not live long enough to see it happen, which makes me a little sad… but it needs to happen for us to survive if you ask me. For now I hope I’ll live long enough to see us landing on Mars (not just with drones and rovers). =)

Great Stuff! Many thanks for sharing your art and for doing this interview!
Find out more about Christian Hecker:

A Drake Equation for Hard Science Fiction

In an effort to estimate just how astonishingly rich and famous I am going to become from my Sci-Fi writing, I decided to calculate the potential readership of my books; a sort of Drake Equation for Hard Sci-Fi.

Let’s look at the terms:

R, Number of technically advanced readers
This is the magic number we are looking for; the higher the better!


p, Rate of people formation on Planet Earth
As I am new to the market, I don’t need to rely on new people being born, let’s just make this easy and go with the current population of the planet. We do need to remove kids,(25%) so I will go with a nice round 6 Billion.


r, Fraction of population who can read
As my books are not translated into other languages, here we need to restrict ourselves to those who can read English. 20% of the world speak English, and of these 75% can read (as with the actual Drake Equation, these figures are estimates). We are down to 900 Million. Looking pretty good! But, just to be on the safe side, I will wait a few more terms before putting in my order for a Lamborghini!


f, Fraction of readers where reading of fiction actually occurs
From studies in this area, averaging between men and women, it looks like approximately 50% read at least one book/year.


B, Number of books read per year by each reading individual
The numbers are getting less precise, but studying a few articles on the topic, it seems the average reader reports that they read about 4 books/year. About half of these are fiction.

Whoa! We are at 2.2Billion books/year. Forget the Lambo, I’m going to talk to Richard Branson about buying an Island!


fs, Fraction of books read that are Science Fiction
Here it gets tricky. We don’t have a very scientific classification system for genres. Some studies claim 25% of people read Sci-Fi, but these often lump in fantasy (which is clearly corrupt!). It seems that out of the ‘Speculative Fiction’ bucket, only 20% is actually science fiction.


fhs, Fraction of Sci-Fi readers who enjoy Hard-Science Fiction
We pair-down our readers again here. Of the remaining science fiction readers, the majority seem to head for Science Fantasy (Star Wars) or military space opera. Actual Hard Sci-Fi seems to be about 5% (based on a back of the envelope calculation comparing the sales rank between Science Fiction and Hard Science Fiction on Amazon)
We are still at 2.2 Million books/year.


ftw, Fraction who have heard of me (…or you if you use your numbers below)
Unfortunately, this is where things get nasty 🙁
My author page has 1000 likes on Facebook and I have 4500 followers on Twitter. So let’s say 5K out of a potential population of 900 Million. (It’s probably not quite as bad as this as many people will see my posts and tweets and not end up following me. There will also be some word of mouth, this probably scales non-linearly at some point.) To keep it simple that’s about 0.00005% of the population who have heard of me.

6000000000 * 0.2 * 0.75 * 0.5 * 2 * 0.25 * 0.2 * 0.05 * 0.0000005

Substituting these estimates and working through the equation, rounding to the nearest integer because I don’t think we can count half a person, we get 1.

One person.


I hope you bought your copy already!    😉



Reddit: ‘Ask Me Anything’

I (/u/2oby) will be doing an ‘Ask Me Anything’ this Friday on Reddit Self Publish. Join me >> here << NOW!

I will be answering questions on writing and Sci-Fi.

“I am Toby Weston, software by day, positive-futurism by night. I’m writing my fourth book: Hard Sci-Fi, with dolphin Eco-terrorists, Sentient AIs, and an Internet of Animals. AMA!”

I will be uploading the transcript here afterwards.