the apocalypse highway

Peter Bergting. 

New artwork for The Dark North by Peter Bergting.

New artwork for The Dark North by Peter Bergting.

Previous work by Peter Bergting.

Previous work by Peter Bergting.

Internationally acclaimed artist, illustrator and writer Peter Bergting is the fifth and final artist joining The Dark North - Volume 1. Here, Peter brings you perhaps his most personal work yet, a haunting journey through the mist covered mountains of a post apocalyptic Sweden, truly giving meaning to the words Dark North. So those familiar with Peter's previous work, be prepared for something different. And those of you not - prepare to be amazed.

What is The Dark North to you?
–The forest, first, last and always. Deep, impenetrable and filled with horror and magic.

What was your initial interpretation of the concept for The Dark North?
– Pretty much what I ended up doing. I’ve always been drawn to post-apocalyptical scenarios and to have that in a dreamscape set in the middle of a dark Swedish forest just conjured up a thousand images.

How has that interpretation changed through your creative process?
– I decided to steer it closer to my own mythology that I’m creating for my own book series and hopefully TV show based on my book Domovoi. They have very little in common right now, but there is stuff that overlaps.

Where did you find the first inspiration for your vision of The Dark North?
– The long and winding E18 that snakes its way through Sweden. I’ve traveled that road so many times, especially at night and when you hit the plains between Karlstad and Karlskoga and the mist rises and just engulfs the road …

How has the extremes of light and dark in the North affected your art, over the years?
– Not at all obviously. Oh wait …

What can we expect from your artwork in the book?
– Moody and haunting. I like to find images and scenarios that lend themselves to telling a story and I have this thread where my interpretation veers off into more of a road movie.

Describe your art in the book in one sentence.
– Evocative (in one word even).

Which media do you work in with The Dark North art and why?
– I’d say mixed media but probably just digital for practical reasons.

Which media do you work in usually and why?
– Photoshop mainly but if I have time, IF I have time I like to bring out the acrylics.

How have you developed creatively over the last ten years?
– I’m getting slower and slower, not for lack of energy or anything. I’m just more meticulous. Especially working with Dark Horse on one of their tentpole titles with Mignola and Golden I’ve become so ridiculously focused on not fucking up that I take forever to just finish one panel. I can knock out a graphic novel in a month (two this summer actually) but give me juicy description for Baltimore and I can spend days on a single page.

How has working in the Swedish gaming industry changed over the last ten years?
– Last ten years, I don’t know, I more or less quit the business after working on Just Cause. I just wasn’t interested any more. I’d rather make up my own stories and just develop that. Also I hate people breathing down my neck telling me what to do.

How has the creative atmosphere in Sweden changed over the last ten years?
– I think we see a lot of young kids being sucked into the industry. It’s great because they get to work A LOT and that means improving and honing your skills. 25 years ago, when I started out doing pen and paper games, I worked around the clock, seven days a week producing art (still do). The games have changed but you still need that motivation to prosper. But the arrival of cheaper tech, especially Cintiq’s and being able to work for anyone wherever you are has really changed things up.

What is your opinion about the state of the Swedish gaming industry?
– I think it’s great but I’d hate for it to become cyclical where a lot of people burn out only to be spit out when the game is launched, waiting around for the next big franchise or title to come around. It’s not healthy and we’ve seen a lot of that.

What is the most interesting thing going on in the creative landscape of Sweden today?
– Comics. So many young women who are just beginning their careers and really rocking!

What is the most frustrating aspect of being an artist today?
– Same as always, being taken seriously and getting paid for what you do.