"Illustrators will never get the professional recognition they deserve"
Interview by Henry Gomez
I (almost) always wear in red and black.
When I’m quiet, I cannot avoid to make noises with my mouth or
percussion with my hands.
I like (fictional) stories with bad or tragic endings.
I look on my pockets for my keys and wallet at least twice
every time I leave home even knowing that I’ve got them.
I’m a hobbyist swimmer.
I’m a freelance illustrator/digital artist and art director. I coordinate Aégis, my artistic studio, which is focused on CD cover artworks / packaging and illustrations for publishing houses (and pretty much everything related to that). But what I really do is to tell something about my everyday life and its relationship with nature on my images.
Q2. Did you feel pressured in school to follow a more traditional career path?
Not really. My teachers and classmates always supported me because I was the drawing guy in the class, and they were always asking me to draw cartoon characters for them and the like. My teachers used to tell me that I’d have future in arts, and perhaps they were right!
Q3. What was your first job as a digital artist?
The full packaging design of “The fine line between escapism and losing yourself” by the north american band The autonomy within.
Q4. Which artists inspire you and why?
Dave Mckean – Because he has my dream style and I admire his versatility.
Travis Smith – Because his work pulled me to create CD covers on my own.
René Magritte – For his poetical conceptualism.
Marcela Bolívar – Because we have a lot of narrative elements in common.
The Gathering & Anathema – These are the music bands that gives me my mojo.
Q5. Do you draw everyday?
I should, but I don’t. I only draw when I need to create sketches for certain commissions or personal artworks. But I doodle a lot when I’m on the phone.
Q6. When generating ideas do you sketch more from life or your imagination?
Always from imagination unless I need pose references, specially from hands. I hate drawing hands.
Q7. What is you favorite medium?
If I have to be honest, I miss the good ol’ days of painting with analogue materials. I used to mix painting with collages of my digital illustrations some years ago. I was feeling very comfy there. But I chose digital media for many reasons (cleaner, more economic, easily reproducible, faster…) and I’m sticking to that. It’s very intuitive and allows me to create things faster.
Q8. Were you self-taught or did you train to use art computer programs?
I’m self-taught in pretty much everything I do.
Q9. What advice would you give to aspiring digital artists?
Practice every single day, no excuses, and experiment with styles and narratives a lot. That way the more you practice the sooner you’ll start recognising your style in what you do. Once you’re there, the door will open for you and if you’re able to exploit that new information, you’re ready to go!
Q10. How do you feel about your industry today?
Illustrators will never get the professional recognition they deserve, but, in major houses, the respect for them is top-notch. Everything is getting over populated, so it’s easier to find cheaper illustrators.
Q12. Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to tell us about?
Apart of commercial artworks I’m developing for some bands now, I am not focused in any special kind of personal artworks or projects at the moment, apart of investigating the morphology of branches. It sounds weird, but I’m really obsessed with them and their relationship with the language of my illustrations.
Q13. Is there anyone you would like to work with? How would you go about accomplishing this?
As I mentioned, Mckean, Travis Smith or Marcela Bolívar. Luckily enough, Marcela and I have been discussing this subject for months and soon we will put our hands into a collaborative project. So eager! Also, for me it would be an honor to illustrate for some of my favourite bands, obviously.
Q14. What is the greatest thing about working in your industry?
In my case, since this is completely vocational, it’s a dream came true. I’m a freelancer, so I don’t really work with the industry, but for the industry. I’m the owner of my time and energy and I spend it the way I consider appropriate. I feel free, and at the same time, I get paid for the thing I love to do the most. What could I say?
Q15. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in a similar field as yours?
Well, I have never taken one, so… the only thing I can say is that if you’ve got the will to be self-taught, apart of your intuition, there’s plenty of materials, resources and tutorials over the net to get your hands into the unknown! More than that… Is in there any kind of courses that teach you how to be a CD cover artist? Really? I’d had killed for getting one of those!
Q16. You mainly work on CD album covers/packaging. With the downloading of music, has the need for this died out, or is it still used regularly?
Well, this is a common issue, and I am usually discussing about it with my art comrades. Artworks for digital use-only are cheaper because most of the time clients pay you in function of the print-run of the product. So, this way, you spend the same amount of hours for less money. But, actually, most bands ask you to design for the physical thing, they still believe in the hard format. I think that most bands see the digital download as an accessory to the original product, which is the CD, so from now we don’t really have to worry.
But maybe in a decade or so we will panic up. But, as with everything, this profession will evolve as the market will develop itself, so new things will appear on the way to deal with the new substantial changes.
Q17. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
The day I realized what I was trying to say with the illustrations. I got to know myself in depth that day.
Marco's website: http://aegis-strife.net