Friday, April 9, 2010
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I was born in Italy - probably the biggest art exhibition in the world! So much of Italy—and especially in cities like Rome, where my family lives—reminds us that art is and has been one of the most powerful driving forces behind humanity. Wherever you walk in Italian cities there’s a Michelangelo or a Bernini. There’s art on every corner. The Italian lifestyle also has a kind of philosophy that invites you every day to see all things in an artistic way.
But probably one of the most important things that determined my passion for drawing and art is that I’m an only child. So many hours alone in my bedroom with only books, pencils as friends. When I needed to talk with somebody, my drawings were the words and my colors were the phrases. This did not just ‘help me to become an artist’, this saved me.
How do you go about drawing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
The creation process is very mysterious. I know that a lot of people would like to know about the formula but even artists are not able to explain it! Sometimes it is very obvious and immediate. No questions, you just do it and it is easy. Other times it is more painful and it can be a very long process. I think you just gain confidence in yourself with time and with experience. Working hard is the key to overcome any difficulty.
Concretely, I always start any painting, drawing or illustration with a bundle of quick and small drawings. Sometimes I even start writing keywords in a corner of the page in order to remind myself what I am focusing on. Some of my drawings get thrown in the trash or become coloring-in templates for my children; others come to life.
I always begin my work on the paper trying to let my pencil as free as possible and trying to give a general composition, focusing on balancing the entire mass of the page. After all this begins the long process of cleaning-up and perfecting, inking the drawing if necessary or directly going through with color. I use any type of tool for that. Traditional or digital, it doesn’t matter, I can even mix it all. I concentrate on what the project or my feelings impose and follow the flow.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
As a freelance artist, I have been working alone, from home, for the last 10 years. Of course I work with clients on certain projects, but still most of my actual work is alone. I use phone, email, skype, ichat to stay in contact with my colleagues, clients and friends depending on the project and all feedback helps me move forward with my creative processes.
I wake up really early in the morning because of my two children and often don’t see anybody till the end of the day when they come back. Most of the time I spend the evening with my daughter and my son and sometimes go back to work if I have serious deadlines when they are sleeping.
For a comic book project for example when I work with my scenario creator/writer , the work always begins with a general discussion about the story and the background we want to work on. After that I wait for my colleague’s first synopsis. At this point we go on working with a detailed canvas (I try to draw all the story boards before beginning any page). And even though we do follow strictly what we wanted to do at the very beginning we are always open to re-arranging and/or re-writing part of the story. I think that comic book artist is like a film director. He is the one who see if things visually work or not from the different scenarios presented. He is the one who can give more or less time to what he considers important. The final cut is in his hands.
Managing your time when you are a freelancer is sometimes difficult because when your office is also your home your domestic life takes up a lot of space. Also, vice-versa, it’s sometimes hard to stop working when you really need to give time and presence to your children and your partner.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
Over the last 10 years I have tried to work in as many fields as possible. Comic books, illustrations, story boards, web design, advertising, etc…
My very latest work is the Alika trilogy published by Le Lombard – a 3-volume comic book adventure. The final tome will be published in May 2010. You can find all the details about Alika and the upcoming release on this site: http://www.alika-bd.com.
A few years ago I worked on another comic book trilogy called ‘Robin Hood’. These volumes, published by Soleil, focused on an alternative way to tell the story of this famous hero.
And after 10 years, I also am starting to have a pretty long list of books or magazines in which my drawings appear.
But I also work in between my book projects within the cinematographic industry or on TV productions, advertising, web designing, etc… (clients include Big World, Big Productions, Uzik, Studio Tanuki, Canal+, Pink TV, Hugo & Cie, among others).
It would take up too much space to write out the full list of past work here – and anyway, the most important is the next one, isn’t it?!
What are you working on now? (if you can tell us)
I’m working on a new comic book which is moving closer to the graphic novel genre. The story is set in the United States, New Mexico, in the late 50’s. I’m also working as lead storyboarder and Art Director for a movie, a French production. Increasingly I feel at this point in my career the urge to work in a team. After 10 years of freelance work, which can be extremely solitary, I’d like to feel the energy of a group around me.
Who are some of your favorite artists out there?
I really love the works of Florian Satzinger, Bobby Chiu, Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin just because they are doing a lot of drawings and illustrations I would have loved to have done myself and because of their mastering of color harmony. Outside the artists represented on your blog I would mention Massimiliano Frezzato, Alessandro Barbucci, Mike Mignola, Ashley Wood in the comic book world but I am also very inspired by Paul Lasaine, Jason Seiler, Goro Fujita, Nicolas Marlet, Ted Mathot, etc… Damn, nowadays there are so many talented artists I can’t give you an exhaustive list of what knocks me out every day!
Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?
I use as many media as possible. I love all the techniques. Traditional or digital. Oil painting, watercolors, Pantones, pencils, pens, Photoshop, Painter, Artrage, Sketchbook pro, etc… It doesn’t matter. I can even mix all this if necessary. I often need to change my techniques because it stimulates me a lot. I need to feel like a student, like a beginner, I need to be excited by the discovering or re-discovering of a way to do something.
Of course a lot of my work, particularly the comic book work, means I am often using the same techniques and tools for at least 50 pages per book, but I experiment as often as possible.
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
The very beginning of any work process is very exciting. Everything is possible. It is just pure creation with no limits, no borders, no rules, no constraints. The more you go on in your illustration or painting the more you have to follow a primary idea. And then it becomes harder. It is usually very difficult for me to finish any artwork, sometimes because I am impatient to begin another one and sometimes because I’m feeling so satisfied with current illustration and the process that I don’t want to finish it.
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
Reading, travel, friends, people, happiness, sadness… all the things that make up life are a source of creative inspiration.
What are some of your favorite pieces of art work that you have seen?
I really love all the paintings of James Whistler. This American painter inspired me a lot when I was a student. I am also totally fascinated by William Turner and his mastering of lights and colors.
Obviously as an illustrator I was really inspired by painters like Norman Rockwell. He is, I think, the father of modern illustration.
Finally, animation movies, cartoons were an integral part of my childhood experiences and dreams.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
Women. All women. Just because of their beauty and their mystery. Obviously the hardest subject to draw. They inspire me a lot.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
I never intended to become an artist. It is just a way of self-expression and I have been lucky enough to take advantage of this and work professionally using my art. I’m still «becoming» and hope life will always continue to inspire this desire.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
I am always fascinated by the process methods of other artists. I am much more curious to see someone working or at least seeing the first steps of an artwork than the final result.
What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?
So many! Nowadays the internet allows us to see so many talented artists even if they are not famous or published in books and you can spend all your days surfing the billions of blogs and sites out there. Sometimes I get into that mood where I want to watch everything and collect the best, adding it to my favorites on my web site and blog but there is never enough time. The world is so full of skill and energy, it’s not possible to embrace it all. But if you want to have a look at the kinds of things I usually check out, visit my ‘links’ page on my website. :)
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
Be consistent. Art it is not only feelings and inspiration. You have to work hard every day to reach what is in your mind and express it correctly. Intention is a good thing but it’s not enough. You have to build a house by his base, not by his roof.
Be open minded. Everything is good for inspiration. Not only other drawings. Books, music, friends, travels, etc… can also feed you.
Be strong. Often an artist considers his or her own artwork with a very critical eye. You have to overcome this feeling and listen to others’ opinions of your work.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
Of course, I always make it part of my workday task to answer any mail or comment on my website.
My websites are http://www.simonloche.com , http://www.alika-bd.com/ and please feel free to write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbooks, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
I usually give a lot of my drawings and paintings to my friends and family. But some of my originals can be bought. You can find some of these originals for sale on my site: http://www.simonloche.com/blog/ on sale
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