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Interview with Mike 'Daarken' Lim


By Emma Handley

Web: http://daarken.com (will open in new window)
Email: moc.nekraad@tranekraad

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Date Added: 3rd July 2013
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Mike 'Daarken' Lim already had a large and dedicated fan base when he started work on his book Elysium - The Art of Daarken with us here at 3DTotal. Since, its release in October 2012 the book has been a huge success and received nothing but praise and 5* reviews, increasing his fan base even further. We're catching up with Daarken to see what he has been up to since the release of the book and, of course, to find out what exciting projects he has coming up!


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Hi Daarken! It's so good to catch up with you, especially since Elysium - The Art of Daarken has done so well across the globe. You must be pleased; did you expect to receive such a great response to your work?


Hi! Thanks for having me on here, I really appreciate it.

I am very pleased, and very surprised. I actually never anticipated the ratings to be so high. There were many times during the production of my book when I actually stopped and wondered if I should just cancel the project. I'm usually never happy with my work and I wasn't allowed to publish a huge part of my career either due to contractual agreements or some other legal issues. Those two things planted a seed of doubt in my mind as to whether or not the book would be a success.

I think the worst part was actually releasing the book and waiting for those first reviews to appear. It's actually just like turning in a sketch to a client and waiting for their feedback; you just hope they don't completely hate it.

I ended up sitting on Amazon hitting refresh every few minutes. If my book had bombed, I would probably be hiding in the corner of the room right now.

Art books can be notoriously hard to sell as they focus on an individual or group's work as opposed to various styles that may appeal to a reader. Have you been surprised by the number of new fans that you've now acquired?

Hah, well I don't know how many new fans I've acquired from my book. I would think new fans would account for only a small portion of the sales. I have received a few comments or messages from people who didn't know my art before, but I don't think I've seen a huge increase in the number of fans.

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I think my book is also harder to sell, not just because it focuses on a single artist, but because my art isn't your typical art that sells well to the mass market. I don't really create art that you would hang on your wall, unless you like looking at evil creatures all day long.

It reminds me of my friend's mom who keeps telling me to let her know if I ever paint something "nice" so she can hang it on her wall (Laughs).

If people are reading this that haven't got your book and are maybe new to your work, how would you describe your style to them?

I've never considered myself to have a recognizable style, even though others say they can easily identify my work. I guess if I had to describe it I would tell them my art is dark and gritty fantasy with a twist of realism. I always try to inject some realism into my paintings, even if I am depicting something fantastical.

With many accomplished artists, it becomes quite easy to pick their work out once they have mastered their style. Do you think this limits the creativity of an artist in the future, when they maybe want to explore other styles of art?

I guess sometimes it can become a detriment. I have seen some artists who have such a unique and specific style that their work ends up looking the same. I've heard stories about some artists who got in trouble with clients because their work looked too similar to work they produced for other clients.

Some artists will find a style or subject matter that is very marketable, so they end up doing that over and over because it sells. Getting stuck in that rut can definitely stifle a person's creativity.

As for an artist trying to change their style, it can be hard. Usually artists are hired because of their style, so if a client hires you and you give them something that is totally out of left field, they probably won't be very happy. I think if you want to change your style, you have to do it with personal work and then try to reinvent your portfolio to reflect your new style.
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