I am always amazed at the speed with which you manage to create breathtaking artwork. How long, on average, does a painting take you? And do you find you spend your whole time painting?
It is true that I work at high speed. This is because I know many exercises that help ideas to come quickly. Generally I find backgrounds and scenes fairly easy, and I also like science fiction characters very much. They are solid pictures, which with simple bold volumes and a pair of geometric lines, become modern or technological. The most difficult thing for me is gestures or facial expression and action or battle episodes, where human figures are generally in foreshortening or perspective.
Speed is the output of hard practice. I draw eleven hours a day: in the morning I attend art classes at the university, where I do my best to improve my expressivity. From Mondays to Fridays I dedicate eight hours a day to freelance works. Of course, that work is not the only thing I do! During weekends I take walks with my girlfriend or go to the cinema with her, meet friends or sometimes I travel to nearby places, and so forth.
I notice that you also paint traditionally - how much time do you get to spend on these kind of projects? And a really hard question: which do you prefer, digital or traditional?
I try to make a picture a month, but sometimes it is difficult to find a period of spare time in my daily work to do it. What's good with digital art is that it is fast and cheap. Not long ago time seemed to go more slowly, people were not in a hurry. Artwork was sent by post office in parcels. On the contrary, today, everything has to be done now! Clients want thousands of options, and all of them have to be made in 3D. As I always say, digital art is another means to hasten artistic production. I usually recommend understanding traditional painting first and only then, moving on to digital.
If I could choose, I'd choose traditional painting. The great difference between traditional painting and digital art is that in traditional you can see the artist's brush strokes, textures, volumes and energy, whereas with digital it is similar to printed pictures, with smooth surfaces. Nevertheless, I like digital art because it is speedy and lets you get high quality results.
When I write my tutorials (which I like doing the most) I try to convey to readers the idea that the same picture could be done using a traditional technique. For this reason I usually don't speak much about the program I have used. On the other hand I always try to ensure that everybody realizes how I've created the image. This way people are not tied down to a unique tool, and can learn that things
can be made in more than one way. You may have noticed that I like teaching very much, as well as learning of course, because the learning path never ends. I thank God that I am ignorant about many things, and this gives me a personal goal to keep on enjoying myself in this wonderful world of drawing and painting.
You mention that you are a fan of teaching as well as learning. What do you think are the most important aspects of painting to understand as an artist?
Your question is very difficult for me to answer. I think that to be a good artist you must always look at everything and analyze the colors, shapes, objects, anything that captures your attention, and enjoy yourself a lot while doing it! One cannot go through life as if you were a horse with blinders pulling a cart, always looking to the road and not having any idea about what's happening either side of you. If we are keen observers of everything we'll be able to develop a high level of sensitivity that will make the difference when it's time to draw or paint. Life is not long enough to learn everything you need. I think that the learning process never ends.
How do the subjects of your paintings differ from traditional to digital? Do you ever find that you are painting a traditional subject in Photoshop or a sci-fi battle on a canvas?
It is obvious that what I like most is to paint action scenes that take place with science fiction or medieval characters. When looking at my work, I realize that in nearly all my drawings there are several characters. I've always liked to draw details and stories in the same scene. But when I paint on a canvas, I don't know why but I'd rather paint "quiet" things, such us a landscape or a portrait. Perhaps the answer would be that because I have nearly no time to paint traditionally, whenever I can do it, I need to make something different from my daily work.
If you could work on any kind of project what would it be?
I would really enjoy working on the pre-production of a science fiction or fantasy movie, such as Avatar, Ironman, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc, that would need new worlds and characters to be created. I feel that it must be unbelievable to see the result of one's creations on the wide screen.
I know that I have a long and very difficult road to walk. But I also know that with patience and effort someday I shall be among the greatest artists; I already see myself there.
What's your ultimate ambition for the future?
My ultimate ambition is to work on something great! And to learn from people that have been working in this industry for many years, either on video games or Hollywood movies. Obviously, this is an elusive goal. I have to keep trying again and again until I'll get it. One has to compete against thousands of artists, all over the world, with great skills and that have perhaps got their university degree in places where companies visit universities to invite students to work for them. I know that if I get the opportunity I'll be able to do great things.
Well thanks for letting us interview you. I am sure that a lot of our readers would have liked to learn a bit about the guy that keeps writing those excellent tutorials. When you make it to the top and work on those huge movies don't forget us at 3DTotal!
Thank so much for giving me this opportunity to express and show my art. I know that showing my art in this space will give me the opportunity to work and complete my dreams, and when I take this chance I will remember 3DTotal. It was a great interview. I enjoyed talking with you. I'll see you in my next tutorial!
To see more by Ignacio Bazán Lazcano, check out Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 5
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 6
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 7
Digital Art Masters: Volume 7
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection< previous page