Freelance illustrator, Felipe Escobar, talks to us about creating fantasy art, writing ghost stories and the importance of loving what you do, even when it frustrates you...
3dtotal: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
I'm a twenty-nine year old illustrator born in Chile. I currently freelance for independent clients here and there, but at the moment my main focus is my personal work; writing ghost stories and fantasy. I'm located in Cambridge, New York, a very cute and quiet village.
An image I did more than two years ago. I feel this is the first image that made me want to get into ghost stories
3dt: Which artists inspired you to get into creating art? Which artists inspire you today?
At the time I was around seventeen, I was inspired by Todd Lockwood. I would get lost in Dungeons & Dragons
books and I would follow Todd's work on his webpage directly. Lately, I feel very attracted to Justin Sweet's work, along with Brom and Alan Lee.
Remake of an old illustration I did back in 2012 when I first started seriously dedicating my time to art. It was meant for a TCG company that dissolved afterwards
3dt: Apart from art, where to you draw inspiration from?
Music, that's my main source of inspiration. Art generally does not inspire me as much as music because I would rather regard art as entertainment or study material, rather than inspiration. Reading also inspires me quite a lot. I find day dreaming the best exercise for my brain.
Personal image I did about the famous mythical creature. Thought it would be cool to portrait it as a TCG image
3dt: What tools and software do you use in your usual workflow?
I use mainly digital media, Photoshop
and a Wacom Cintiq 22 HD. I've learned how to use MODO
, but I don't really use it often. Only if a piece requires some accurate perspective ground work, in which case I'll do a quick shape mock up but that's an exception.
I'm a huge fan of "Icewind Dale II" so I created a set of Drows to make a party with my own images. This was the first one
3dt: Do you like to experiment when making art, or do you keep to a rigorous procedure?
I try to keep it fun. I don't know if that counts as experimenting, but I do whatever makes me feel happy and comfortable so I can leave space for creativity. Some client work can be very strict, because they have a specific visual they want to convey, but I guess I have a procedure overall.
Commission for Rhino Games for their game "Mythgard" I had lots of fun making this
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio updated?
I upload an image every now and then when I feel I created something that's interesting, and that might attract the type of clients I look for. I used to put all sort of images in my portfolio, such as Mechs and environments. I've learned with time that you shouldn't pressure yourself into having everything in your portfolio, it's better to be being good at something and be happy with it.
A study work I did for the online class with Donato Giancola at SmartSchool a couple years ago. My favorite image so far
3dt: What do you think you would be doing if you weren't an artist?
I would most definitely be a writer. Actually, I wanted to be a writer when I started "creating” as a teenager, but I was demotivated by the people around me and somehow painting was the closest choice. I didn't suck at it, so I eventually gravitated towards it.
Cover commission for Dungeons & Hangovers, for their D&D campaign, "The Unquiet." Best job I've ever had
3dt: What has been the most exciting project you've worked on?
The current one I'm working on. I'm working with some guys from Portland that have an RPG themed bar called Dungeons & Hangovers
. They're also in the process of releasing their own set of custom campaigns for D&D parties and I'm the illustrator for both of them. They've already published "The Unquiet
” so you can go and check it out if you want to see the cool stuff they are doing.
Inspired in the music of "Cannibal Corpse,” I wanted to make something related to their song Disposal of the Body. Merry tunes
3dt: Is there any advice you could give to someone who wants to make a living from art?
You need to love it at its worst; like you love your spouse or family. You know how they say "in sickness and in health?” The same goes for your career. You're going to have some bad times, but the next day you need to still love it or you're going to have a miserable life.
Angels and demons are definitely in my top three topics to paint. This was inspired by the music of "Temple of Baal,” I wanted to paint a fallen angel in Hell.
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next? Any cool projects we should look out for?
I'm currently writing a series of short ghost stories that are going to go together as a book with corresponding illustrations. I will try to finish the book completely, edit it, and then put it up on Kickstarter to make copies and distribute it. If everything goes well, I might do another one and see where it takes me.
Check out more of Felipe Escobar's art at his portfolio
Have a look at Dungeons and Hangovers, which Felipe contributed to
Follow Felipe on Instagram
Keep up to date on Felipe and get more great advice on his blog