Freelance concept artist and illustrator Bruno Biazotto talks about his dark fantasy inspirations, "mind-body synergy” in drawing and how working for CD Projekt Red changed his life…
3dtotal: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
My name is Bruno Biazotto, I'm from Brazil and I live in Campinas, São Paulo. I graduated in Design from UNESP of Bauru in 2014 and at the moment I'm working as freelance illustrator and concept artist for the games and board game industry. Just recently I've also been working on novels too, which is pretty exciting!
3dt: What inspired you to get into art? Who are your favorite artists?
These are tough questions! Looking back, comic books were a big deal in my life. Frazetta's Conan
covers made me start to play with pencils and paper, so he is special to me. To this day I still study his art to develop my skills. The Lord of the Rings
brought to me John Howe and Alan Lee and later the internet introduced me to tons of young and great artists that inspire me every day. The list never ends, every day I discover a new artist that makes me think "I am just starting in this business.”
3dt: What tools, software or techniques do you use to create your art?
White paper, a 2B pencil, Photoshop
and recently ZBrush
. I love to play around with hatches to find volumes and shapes for new ideas and there's nothing better than a pencil for that. Photoshop is the primary piece of software I use for work at the moment, but I have been practicing ZBrush too recently. Sculpting is becoming a bigger deal for me and in the near future I'll have some models in my portfolio. But the tools are almost irrelevant, I use the same process when I work with pencil and paper - Those guys are my biggest friends for sure.
3dt: A lot of your work focuses on dark, epic fantasy; what is it that draws you to that genre?
I already said that Conan
and Frazetta were huge inspirations on me since I was a kid. In my earlier years my dream was to be able to produce a masterpiece like that by myself one day. But if I introspect a little, I think that this is simply the way that I see world around us: beautiful, fascinating, but mystical and scary at the same time… just like nature.
3dt: Tell us about your work on Gwent. What has that experience been like?
This was definitely the best experience that I ever had in my life! I met people there that will be my family forever. Everybody in that place was nothing but heart to me. They not only helped me grow as an artist but as a person too. Today I know more about myself and how to face my fears in real life. From all the feedback sessions in every piece of work done, working with top artists from all around the globe, teaching me to develop my own creative process, how to read and write better with images and find my own way to finish a painting - I could talk forever about them! CD Projekt Red
is an awesome studio. For family reasons I had to come back to Brazil, but I will never forget about those guys!
I worked as illustrator on Gwent
, developing images that tell you a story; something that will influence my work forever. And of course, Gwent has a dark fantasy background, so you can imagine how much I loved to work in that project!
3dt: What would you say is the single most important aspect when creating concept or character art?
In my opinion, the concept or the character created needs to communicate with the viewer, so the story is the most important part. However, that story can't just be in the character or the concept, it must be in the line work of the artist, in the brushstrokes, in the colors, in the design, in everything. If the concept or the character sends a clear message we feel life coming from it and that connection makes all difference in any art genre. It's a very hard skill to develop (I'm just scratching the surface myself,) but to me this is the most important thing to have in our work.
3dt: Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
I think, for now, the card "Hailstorm” that I made for Gwent
. At the time I was doing it I started to recognize meaning in every brushstroke that I made during the process.
In his books, Andrew Loomis speaks about "rhythm,” describing it as freedom in drawing, the feeling of your hand working with the brain, more than with the eye - the feel of the thing rather than the look of it. Doing that card I could feel it! It's a state of mind that I try to get into every time I work since then, but it's still hard to achieve in a conscious way.
I distinctly remember the synergy between my brain and hand, just feeling the shapes rather than try to find the right one. It was as though I was no longer looking at the screen, but looking inside my mind. It made me start to think much more about my process and about how I live my life.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
Tim Burton said "Anybody with artistic ambitions is always trying to reconnect with the way they saw things as a child," and it applies in my case. That sense of power and freedom is an amazing thing to have in our work and I'm practicing my sketches with that in my mind. I want to have fun and let it flow. I think that can help to improve my skills and put me in a position to contribute with any team in any project that appears in the future.
3dt: How do you occupy yourself when you need some down time from art?
I love jogging. It refreshes my mind and gives me energy for the rest of the day. But recently I'm trying Brazilian jiu-jitsu which is awesome! I'm absorbing tons of concepts from this amazing martial art and putting it in my work process. It's great for the body and for self confidence; I would recommend it for everyone! I love to read too. Mythology is a great subject and I am diving deep into it lately.
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next? Any cool projects we should look out for?
I wrote a book six years ago and now that I have a better understanding of art I'm rewriting it in my free time again. I'm also writing another one and developing some concepts for both of them. The first one is sci-fi and the other, of course, a dark fantasy background. I'd really like to publish them and make them my main portfolio pieces. Next year I'll release some pieces from them. Beside that I've been working for some publishers at the moment, but unfortunately I can't talk much about it. You'll just have to wait and see!
Take a look at Bruno Biazotto's portfolio
Brush up on your digital painting skills with Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Sci-fi and Fantasy
See Bruno's tumblr for more of his art and his exploration and explanations
Learn how to become a concept artist just like Bruno with The Ultimate Concept Art Career Guide