Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I was born in Colombia, my parents emigrated to Miami, Florida when I was a year and a half. I've always been surrounded by art growing up--my father is a self-taught painter and my uncle is a commercial artist in Colombia. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I've been drawing on anything and everything that I could get my hands on. When I would go out with my parents, my Mom would always carry around some paper and pencil in her purse just in case I got bored… drawing always entertained me. As i got older I realized I could make a living with my drawing skills, and I felt I really had something to say through my art. I went to Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH). I then attended and graduated from the Ringling School of Art and Design with a degree in Illustration. The thing that has helped me become the artist I am today has been the consistent encouragement I've received from my parents, and being persistent in reaching my goals.
How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
I start by trying to understand the character, his/her background, history as well at his/her place in the story. Research helps at this stage, since it's so important to understand the world you’re creating before jumping into it. Next I'll do a series of drawings where I figure out the characters shapes and attitude, I try to just draw the first thing that comes to mind, knowing that I'll be changing it later. All the while I'm searching for a new or interesting take on the character. After I've done a few rough thumbnails, I decide on the one that has the most appealing silhouette, shape proportions and that best describes the character. I then start to flesh out the character and begin to add detail, keeping in mind any specific traits described in the script or story. The character design process is very similar to casting an actor in a film, it's important to have the right fit for the right role.
What do you think really helps you out in designing a character?
Drawing fast and being spontaneous. Some of my favorite poses and designs come out of the quickest roughest sketches. I think it's a constant battle between impulse, instinct and control. At times something might not make logical sense but it FEELS right.
From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should we put in our portfolio and what should we not?
I would say that your 10 best pieces should be the core of your portfolio as well as a section with sketches, showing your design process, I've heard that art directors would also like to see a progression from reference to finished design to get a sense of your process.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
I've been working on various television shows that are making their way onto CBS on Saturday mornings. I designed the new villain Grizzle for the Car Bears TV series, I’ve also worked on a group of shorts based on the vinyl toys Tinpo, and several hush hush project in development. I've also done some random but fun projects—designed an ice cream container for Publix Supermarkets as well as several Sesame Street Graffiti inspired cards.
Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?
Nope, I'm still learning and feel that the moment I rest on my laurels I'll be done for...
What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)
Well plenty... but I'm not at liberty to tell :)
Where is the place you would like to work if you had a choice?
Tough question, ideally I'd love to have my own studio and work for myself, but I'd love to work at a fresh and exciting place with other creative, talented people working towards a common, awesome goal.
Who do you think are the top character designers out there?
So many! Just check out the archives of this fine blog! I'd say that for me, besides the awesome designers working today, some of the most inspiring art comes from outside the animation/comic/entertainment world. I've been looking at older fine artists for inspiration. A few off the top of my head: Mattise, Gustav Klimt , John Singer Seargent, Giacometti and Koloman Moser all of these artists were designing characters and telling stories from a different point of view. Also I just recently got turned on to the work of Alice and Martin Provensen, and Charles Harper.
How do you go about coloring the character, what type of tools or media do you use?
I almost always use digital coloring techniques, I do incorporate traditional media through scanned painted textures I try to avoid an overly polished 'digital' feel.
What part of designing a character is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
Most fun: having that eureka moment where everything clicks and that character comes alive, if you do it right it flows and is easy. Most Hard: NOT reaching that moment and struggling with a design that isn't working.
What are some of your favorite character designs and least favorite, which you have seen?
Recently, I love the design work done on The Incredibles, Samurai Jack, the Animated Clone Wars series, Character design work of Katsuhiro Otomo, ...going back I'd say anything by Tom Oreb, Ed Benedict, Ward Kimball, John Hubley. I tend to not like things that seem photo real in 3d animation.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
I like drawing just about anything, but I tend to gravitate towards robots and girls-- go figure :)
What inspired you to become an Artist?
Realizing that I could visualize what's in my head on paper and in a way make it real, that has to be the most inspiring thing in the world.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
So much! I work with a group of OUTSTANDING guys and gals. I've learned some neat computer tricks and some life lessons as well. The biggest thing I've learned is to be persistent and consistent.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
To live life, and then bring that into your work, choosing to become a designer/artist is daunting and can be overwhelming at times, but if you can bring some aspect of that into your work it becomes stronger and unique. The biggest tip is to draw...a lot. But more important than that is to find your own internal voice and express it in your design. Be true to yourself.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
My Blog: Random Bits at www.lacera.blogspot.com
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
I have some t-shirts available on Bountee.com. Most of the work on my blog can be sold as prints and I'm always up for good freelance work so feel free to email me anytime.