Tiago da Silva, Portuguese Freelance artist, who works mostly in advertisement and editorial talks about the origins of his work, techniques, how he overcame one of his technical limitations and his breakthrough in the industry. Join us in this inspiring session of questions and answers.
1 – Can you tell us more about the beginning? When did you start in drawing and which comic books influenced you most?
Since I remember I used to draw. My first influences came from comic books, game magazine covers and video games, not the games themselves, games graphics sucked back then, but their covers were simply amazing. The comics I read at the time were mostly Marvel, John Byrne, Sal Buscema and Joe Jusko (he did only covers) where my favorite artists at the time.
2 – When did you enter the universe of Digital Painting? How was the process?
I discovered Digital Painting in its early stages. I was studding Graphic Design at the College. Back then there was still very little information on Digital Painting. At the beginning it I had a lot experimentation, but has things developed, art communities grew, with forums, followed by books and magazines. My development grew with those and with lots of practice I’ve got better at digital painting.
3 – Which are your favorite programs and gear today? Is there a gear you are looking forward to have in a near future? Which one?
A good computer, Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos 4 are my main software and gear. Recently I’ve bought the Surface Pro 3, I was looking for a more portable tool, it’s very cool for sketching but it’s a bit small for the all rest. I would like to have a Cintiq Companion with a 20” screen, if they ever make one I will buy it.
4 – How do you choose the color palette for your works? Can you tell us about the process?
I will try to explain this the best I can, but really, color is the most difficult part of my creation process. People perceive color differently, lots of things can influence it, even your humor can influence your color choices.
The idea for an artwork always have colors in my mind, the most difficult part is to transpose them to the computer, sometimes I can visualize it on Photoshop, playing around in the color menu, other times I have to do research, inspiration for the color pallete can came from pictures, artworks, movies anything really.
The color tones I chose are all about the mood I want to convey to the piece, it can be with harmony and balanced colors, complementary colors, dark tones, lighter ones, desaturated, oversaturated, the possibilities are endless.
5 – Another notorious aspect of your work is a great use of perspective. Do you use specific tools to help you in that part? Do you do studies on perspective?
I’ve had geometry classes in School throughout College, besides the drawing classes.
There’s no way to get around this, you need to study and practice, at least the basics, like vanishing points, perspective lines, building grids and such, at least if you want to create complex scenes. Even if you work mostly in a 3d software, you need to know the rules of geometry to create space and depth correctly.
6 – Most of your works feature characters, but you master environments as well. Which part is easiest for you and why?
Characters, definitely. I used to be really bad at environments, environments are much hard and time consuming…It’s so much easy to just do a character with a simple background, but when I was trying to get my first freelance jobs I realized I couldn’t do specific works because of that handicap.
That’s when I’ve decided to get better at environments, bought some books, lots research, other artists works, and for a year I practiced painting mostly environments, at some point I think I got my painting skills even, for both characters and environments.
7 – What was your breakthrough in the industry? Can you share your experience and insights with us?
It’s hard to have any support when you say you want to make a living drawing and painting, against the odds, I decided to quit college on my 3rd year, I was really unhappy with it, I wanted to be an illustrator, not a graphic designer.
I’ve got a job has a technician on a photography laboratory, restoring old photos and negatives, and in my free times, I continued to practice digital painting, slowly I was able to build a portfolio, and I started sending my portfolio to companies I would like to work.
After a year or so I’ve got one of my first freelance works, doing artworks for two Collectible Cards Cames, for AEG, and at the same I started doing colors for comics for an independent publisher, I was doing this freelance works on my free time, I was still working as a photography technician. But this was the turning point, as I got better I began doing book covers, game art and advertisement, and so I decided to work at full time as a freelancer artist.
Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Sorry, can’t choose, I like doing both!
Cold or warm hues? Same here
Girls or dragons? Same here
Book covers or game art? Same here