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Category Archives: Inspiration

By Austin Kleon. Click on the image to go to his work.

Happy 2013 everybody. Shame on me, I confess I let the first 10 days of the year pass on purpose, because I wasn’t feeling like doing a “2012 retrospective” (2012 sucked, why remember it?) and my purpose for 2013 is the same as it was three years ago, when this blog started.

By Santiagu’s recommendation, the first book I’ve read this year has been “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon and the image above was in it. I found it really inspiring and I wish I had stumbled upon that altered sign two years ago because back then I gave up all my longings. I thought it would be the fastest way to finish my final project and to graduate from college. I thought that would be the best for my longings in the long run. The result, however, was that two years and a big depression later I’m still trying to graduate. I’ve lived with the feeling that I’ve given up everything for this project and the project wasn’t giving me anything back. My attitude prevented me from moving forward, I only wanted to quit and whenever I would talk to people “How are you?” would turn into “How is your project?”. Besides, everybody pretty much agreed that I should do “Whatever it takes to graduate” meaning “You need to sacrifice everything else”. The social pressure adding to the academic pressure, family pressure and my own pressure. I stopped training, I stopped going down to the gym, I stopped taking my morning walks, I stopped doing laundry. It was getting kind of ridiculous, right?

Two months ago an announcement coming from the school where I attended comic art classes shook my world. They were preparing a kick ass course together with a big Disney comics publisher starting January 2013 and passing a portfolio review was required to get in.

For some reason the news broke hell loose. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want it but I failed. I didn’t have a decent portfolio to show so I’d have to develop one in the next two months at the same time that the deadline for my final project’s presentation was approaching fast. Who would be able to understand such a move as “One month before my project’s final review I’m going to give 50% of my attention to another time-consuming creative project in a tight deadline.”? Nobody, surely. I felt lonely.

And then I called home, tears running copiously down my cheeks. This might sound childish, as I’m well into my 27th year on earth but I felt like a lost five years old. You can imagine that at this point my parents were, after two years of listening me break down through the phone, ready to give me certain dubious degree of support. That was in November.

So I had to be fast. I needed a portfolio and I got to engage a friend who works as an Art Director in an advertising agency to be my second critical pair of eyes. During November and December I alternated long project hours with long portfolio hours, the stress was incredible and at times I was wondering “Why the hell do I put myself through this?” but they say night is the darkest just before dawn. And truth is that suddenly my project’s unofficial status went from “Stuck and terribly boring” to “Ongoing and kind of interesting” and my relationship with my teachers and tutors from “Total disagreement” to “Agreeable consensus” while the portfolio was also “Ongoing” and my mood and attitude were “Improving”.

Now I’ve got my thesis jury’s seal of approval to the design part of the project and I just have to polish it for the final presentation, which will most likely take around one month and a half. On the other hand, next Tuesday I have my portfolio review for the Disney comic course so I’ll let you all know how that goes.

There’s still a lot of people who make remarks such as “But, shouldn’t you prioritise your graduation?”, “Why waste time with a portfolio?” , “You might as well not get in the course” and so on. I just wish I could make them understand. But also my mum told me two weeks ago in the phone “I just wish you would have started that portfolio two years ago”. With the help and support of some friends and my parents I have been brave enough to make this decission and truth is that I feel way better now that I’m not leaving my longings unattended anymore.

There’s a second moral to this story, btw: Fuck people, call mamma.

Thanks for reading.

If you are to push your limits you can’t rely just on your own imaginarium because if you do so you’re setting serious limits to your potential.

You don’t have to figure out on your own how to do absolutely everything. Actually, there’s so much visual material out there that you are not alone, no matter what you are pursuing. Don’t worry, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t try to figure out anything at all on your own or never be free. I’m just saying that if there is something specifical you want to do, or a certain direction in which you want to push your style it is sensible to see what do very good people who pursued that line of work are doing it to be so good. Because we want to be good too.

We have to look images constantly, it’s part of the treat when you want to work on visual professions. Because images are about a common language and it has to be learnt. Browsing images and artists has one use and it is to build a references library. References may vary from one time to another, depending on what we are pursuing at that specific moment. The only condition is that we must save only the outstanding. Never settle for less. Why look first at the second best? First, the best. You should always look exactly in the direction you are headed and as high as you want to get because one thing is sure: whereas nobody can assure that you will reach as high a point as you’re aiming you will never get higher than you’re trying to so why settle for less?

When choosing your references, think of what kind of images you want to produce, what colour range, materials, kind of lines, styles and techniques do they use? How do they express textures, for example? Or how do they represent facial features.

Here are some of the references I’m currently looking the most at and what I’m looking at exactly (hence I want to improve and polish in my own work):

JSA Classified #1

Adam Hughes! Basically I love how versatile his style is. He has several ways to finish his artworks and all of them work wonders with his style. He knows exactly how to apply colour to his illustrations in order to enhance his linearts. On the other side, his linearts wouldn’t need no enhancement. His lines are pure and he has a knack for anatomy, poses and facial expressions. The attitudes of his characters always seem so natural and effortless, even in the most wicked angles. The facial features are always beautifully rendered and extremely expressive, varied and human.

The image belongs to Adam Hughes. Power Girl belongs to DC Comics. No copyright infringement intended.

Frank Frazetta was just perfect. Whatever he tried, he did it great. His compositions are stunning and had a great skill to understand body movement and capture it in his paintings. I want to paint like Frank when I grow up :]

The illustration (c) Frank Frazetta. No copyright infringement intended.

Alessandro Barbucci

I got to Alessandro Barbucci’s art, as many other have, through Sky Doll comic albums, which he does in collaboration with the as well amazing Barbara Canepa. His penciling is so clean and the way his characters move and their facial expressions are incredible. The detail in his work is amazing. All together whatever he draws has a fun, free wheeling feel to it and somewhat glorious. I admire most of all the flow in his work.

The image (c) Alessandro Barbucci. No copyright infringement intended.

Notice: All the images link to their authors site.

I look at many other people on places like, or, in artbooks, comic books and museums, from all centuries. But right now I’m actively looking at these three, I’m looking in order to learn from them because their styles have things that I want my style to have. How to do that is material for a different “Mind the gap” post.

So, we already had 1. Finish what you start. Now, 2. Look! Look, look, look references that you want to learn from.

It is not that this is the week of motivational videos but really, this is just in case you feel it like I do feel, that you’re not quite there, that every piece of work is disappointing… Just work, work, work and fight your way through it.

Someone shared this on facebook and I thought I might just do it as well because I really loved what it says and the way it says it.
Please notice this video is NOT mine, I’m just sharing.

“People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.”

Neil Gaiman

Browsing through the most recent sketchbooks I sense a pattern: Victorian Ladies is my don’t-know-what-to-draw topic.

So, the roll I shot the past week as a quick trial of the new camera I got just came out from the photolab, and here there’s the best of it. I messed up a bit, silly me forgot the ISO of the rolls when choosing where to shoot, so they came out a bit too dark. I’ve also found, already, a studio where I’m never coming back to develop my photos. I’ll have to keep on searching. =)

Special thanks to Marian, Nina, and Assassin’s Creed’s(tm) Ezzio Auditore(tm) for their patience modeling for me.

I think if not enough people are getting to know about this it’s because some people are afraid of you knowing, in case you find some inspirational thoughts in the movement:  The spanish revolution


She is Nina. She is awesome, she lets me and two more live in her apartment.

“I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood.”

The Critic as Artist, 1981

Oscar Wilde

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