Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I was born in Brazil, São Paulo, and I grew up enjoying my childhood playing with my cousins (on the few days that they used to visiting me) watching TV cartoon shows and drawing, most of the time. And when I say most of the time, I mean It! Haha I’m talking about 4~5 hours/day. And when drawing was not enough to entertaining me I used to make paper puppets from my drawings and play with it. Thinking about how it looks now seems boring, but at the time it was pretty funny :)
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I grew up learning by myself, but when I was 18 I decided to get into a college of animation, here in Brazil, ‘couse I always liked watching and drawing cartoons and then I realized that working with animation I would be happy, that I would feel completely realized. Until I get into the college I knew how to draw, but just it – I didn`t knew how to put my own style on it, how to stylize it. The challenging works that the teachers asked us make me look for different types of styles in the blogs and applying them on my way to draw.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
Yes. Actually, that was a risk that I took on. The animation market here in Brazil is really different from the countries that we use to hear about (like the U.S. for example). Here we hear more often that you cannot survive of your own art, and that makes us artists really scary (A huge amount of artists are working now with other things not related with art for being afraid to not be properly paid). But even with this scenery my parents have supported me with this choice. Without their support, it would be definitely harder.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
When I was a child I was really addicted to Disney movies like Lion King, Pinocchio, Tarzan and Little Mermaid. I used to draw their characters several times! Years after that I figure out the Disney’s nine old man and other artists as good as the nine old were. (Like Glen Keane and Hayao Miyazaki)
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
When I was a child I use to draw unrealistic characters, like elven, mermaids and trolls. I think that what makes it so special is that they seems to be taken from a dream.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you are designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
First of all I think about my client, what work they use to produce, how these works look like, and based on that thoughts I start doing the job, properly. On the beginning (talking about character design, for example) I must search for the style and most appropriate designs on my short hand sketches. Usually I use to do several sketches to find a direction to develop (Rarely happens that only with one or two sketches find out a design and keep developing it - it is necessary to consider all the possibilities before heading to a better definition of design). Ok, Done, so the next step is the coloring of your design - to me, the hardest part. The colors - as the design - tells a story about the character you're developing, so as all the creation of a design, it should brings you thoughts about the character personality and other things that define him, and apply on your creation, combining design and color. After that, I use to do some reference poses of how that character should express itself/ how it’s face look like smashing and stretching/ how it should move and etc. So, that’s basically what I use to do :)
What is your process in colouring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I use photoshop for colouring, and I do it with masks. First of all I apply the base colors and with the masks I start to put more shades on the layers above. Only at the end I put the lights.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
Sketching is the most fun, definitely. Colouring is always the hardest part for me.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
Well, I wake up at 7am and prepare myself to work (breakfast, and stuffs like that), after that I pick up a train to head to my work – An animation producer called Oca Animation. I work on an upcoming TV serie called Time to Rock with a really good crew (Welton Santos, Lívia Constante, Christopher Silveira, Isla Garcia, Pedro Jones, Rafaella Bueno, Vencyslao and Alex Ferreira – and a lot more talented people). Every day – At this part of the project – I start doing storyboards, but I also do sometimes character designs and layouts. I use to left the studio at 7pm and get back home.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
All the artists that I’ve working on told me to NEVER stop studying. I think that that is the most important thing to do – No matter the area you are working on. If you want to be better you should never stop studying.
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
I want to work in a big movie producer and do my own stuffs at home (comics, animation shorts – just for fun). And when I get old I want to teach, maybe in a college or school of arts.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I do not have a favorite one, both have really good points to considerate. Working for a company is good because you’re always in contact with other artist, learning and sharing knowledges. You have more financial security too. Working as a freelancer you have more time to administrate and do your own stuffs. Sometimes is hard to lean by yourself – even with the internet art tips that a lot of good artists use to share – but you have your own space and can be more comfortable with your schedule.
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
Deal with an art-block is never easy. For me what works for unblocking my mind is taking a walk into de city or the woods, alone, listening some music and just observing the people/ nature that passes in front of me. Trying to draw on that days is very difficult, and when I try doing that I always get myself frustrated or upset for not being capable to produce anything. So I use to not force it, except on the times I’m dealing with deadlines – In that case, I just loose myself and try to focus my mind on what I have to do.
Many art teachers and schools suggest to their students that a commercial artist should always work in one consistent style if they wish to have a healthy career. In your own experience, do you believe this to be true?
I think that you must be original and have your own style but you have also to be able to do whatever you need to – You must know how to adapt your style to what is asked for you to do. If you are working on a project doing model sheets, for example, you must adapt your lines to the visual established by the director of the project. Your style need to be consistent, but flexible as well.
If you had to recommend only one art book (a comic book, graphic novel, children book, ''how to'' book) to a fellow artist, what would it be and why?
I love a few graphic novels and “how to” books such as ''Three Shadows'' by Cyril Pedrosa, ''Blankets'' by Craig Thompson, ''Coco be Good'' by Jen Wang and ''Drawing to Life'' (I and II) by Walt Stanchfield. If I have to choose one I would go for ''The Animator’s Survival Kit'' by Richard Williams.
What’s your point of view about the industry today: what are the expectation for someone who wants to make a living with an artistic career?
If you’re thinking to star working with art, the time is now. The art industry all over the world are getting bigger and they need good artist to work with.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
I really like Glen Keane, James Woods and Nadya Mira. I keep myself in touch with French and Japanese animation art, they always get me inspired.
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I think that hand drawn animation will not disappear as we heard. I think that this technique are just passing for a moment of transformation. With the technology we have today the artists can produce hand drawn animations digitally that are as good as they were (made on paper) in the past.
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online service, you name it. New media on the internet are connecting the artists directly with their fans like never before. In your opinion, how is this affecting the industry and what are the pros and cons?
The social networks can bring us closer to everyone, and that is awesome! You can learn and share knowledge, you can make artists more popular (as your art as well) but is good to know your boundaries – When is good to have millions of followers (knowing that are tricks to attract them and use it banally) and when is good to improve your art despite the preferences of your fans.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can follow me on Tumblr ( caiorfmartins.tumblr.com ) and Facebook ( facebook.com/caiorfmartins ). You can also see my work on Instagram ( @caiorfmartins ) and Twitter ( @caiorfmartins ).
Thank you Caio :)