Ivan Freire

Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in São Paulo, Brasil.  Since I was kid I had a bunch of creative input and incentive because I have an ‘’artist family’’. My dad works as a theater director and he is also street artist, my brother is a musician who plays trumpet in a Ska Orchestra (OBMJ) and my mother is a librarian and she gave me a lot of children’s book and kid’s comics to read.  It was really cool because whenever I saw them working, people around them were happy, maybe some exceptions in the library. I wanted to make people happy too, but I still didn’t know very well how.

Because of their work, my parents were quite busy so when I was alone I used to spend most of my time watching cartoons, reading comics or mangas or playing videogames with my friends and I started doodling my favorites characters on paper. Then, when I was 14 years old, one of my best friends taught me how to use Photoshop and after school I started practicing and watching Internet tutorials everyday. A teacher of mine knew about this passion because I used to draw around my notes all the time, so she told me about a Game Design graduation, whose her son did, and I decided to become a Game Artist myself. After all, games make people quite happy ^^

Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
Game Design was a good graduation course but I didn’t drew that much and this was really frustrating to me. So when I finally graduated I decided to study drawing and 2d animation. I won a scholarship in two traditional animation schools here, Art Academia (Douglas Ferreira) and Melies (Carlos Avelino), after that I study Life Drawing (Carlos Luzzi) and Character Design (Paulo Ignez), and I had luck one more time and I won a Drawing Fundamentals scholarship in Quanta Academy of Arts (Pietro Antognioni and Octavio Cariello). All of my teachers  and friends helped me a lot to improve my skills and made me more confident with my work. During these courses I had the opportunity to work with animation, another passion of mine, and I’ve been working since them.

What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
When I was child I loved to watch anime, shows on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, play videogames and RPG and read manga and comics. I think my strongest influences are Dragon Ball, Shin Chan, Saint Seiya, One Piece, Tonari no Totoro, Dexter’s Lab, PPG, Rocko’s Modern Life, Zelda, Megaman, Harvest Moon, Peanuts and Mafalda.
 I also love to watch theater, especially my father’s theater group (Fraternal Cia de Arte e Malas-Artes). I love see him and his friends playing.

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?
Is not really a rule but normally I work in six steps. The first thing I do is try to understand the project and what the client wants, a sort of brainstorming  and study his references. The second step, is research, my focus is always to work and play with shapes to give appeal to the character, so I made some simple doodles and once I satisfied with that I choose my favorite one and I develop the doodle, which is the third step. The fourth step is the clean up, personally I think the idea of the character is more important than a really clean lineart, so if the client agrees with this idea I made a ‘’dirty’’ cleanup and move to the fifth step, the colors. Colors are one of my favorites steps, because they can give even more personality to the character. I try to focus in the part that I think it better communicate the intention of the character, sometimes is the skin, sometimes the armor, and I put some ‘’strong’’ color in this part and I try to compose the remaining parts balancing before warm and cold colors, or/and saturated and neutral to give more contrast.  After all, the final sixth step, in which I just play and make different poses or expressions to be a guide of how the character should express itself.

What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
I think the most hard and annoying part is the cleanup and the most fun are the research and the coloring steps.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
Well, actually I work as freelancer in home office. I can make my own work schedule so I don’t have a fixed routine. I identify and ‘’accept’’ I’m more productive in the morning and in the night so everyday I  try to wake up around  9AM/ 10AM, I eat something, and start to work until 1PM / 2PM ,  I make a lunch break and in the afternoon I use to make different things like walking with my dog, meeting friends,  go to market and the gym, reading,  taking a nap, play videogame, etc. And ‘’when the night has come’’ (haha ^^) I go back to work until 1AM. But as I said is not a routine, sometimes I play football (soccer) and I like to watch my team Palmeiras, or watch Masterchef.  When this happens, I just work a little bit more on the next day. Because I work from home, I talk with my clients, and I spend quality time with my family and my beloved dog Otto.  I also enjoy to talk with my friends Victor Sampaio,  Diego Coutinho, Fernando Finamore, Timothé Dessallien, Bruno Bigode,  Caio Martins, Rafa Ribs (and others) to have some feedback about my work, and they show me their work too. This habit help me to improve my skills and keep me motivated.

What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
Always be humble, whatever is our skill level we need respect other people and their opinion. It's really good hear criticism about our job, this will make us a better artist and a better person as well,  we must keep studying and never give up. Everyone has your own story and we need to respect it, and respect their dreams to, with dedication everyone can be successful.

Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
Yes I’m creating a project with my friend Fernando Finamore and I’m really happy with the designs. The projects name is ‘’Curossovah’’ and is like a road movie for kids based in Brazilian Culture, Anime and Tarot. Another one is a redesign I did with Carolina Carrilo for a Pitch of a new TV Show named ‘’Hadouken Namaste’’.

What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
Well, I worked as 2D Animator Intern in Sun Creature Studio’s ‘’Reward Tales of Alethrion’’ and it was an incredible professional experience. I learn a lot with them I love the project and the guys.  I also worked in different shows for Cartoon Network Brasil  as Storyboard Artist : Irmão do Jorel, Historietas Assombradas, Oswaldo. I made a bunch of Illustrations for a Card Game from Cool Mini or Not named ‘’Looterz’’. Now I’m working as Visual Development for a new Pre-School TV Show named ‘’Mini Mini’’, inspired in Pikmin and  Animal Crossing, making Visual Dev for a feature film by Gabriel Nobrega, based in a japanese story and my own stuff.

What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
I’m very happy working in animation with Cartoon Network Brasil, but my dream is to create my own project, something that people would really like, something that would make people happy and kids jump excited in front of a TV, as I did when I was child myself with animes or cartoons. I also would enjoy to go back to SunCreature Studios in Denmark, and work for in the US industry and Japanese industry is something that I really would like to do someday too. It will be super cool to learn and made cool projects in these countries. 

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?
I think this has no answer, but an advice I could give is to respect yourself and your limits. Just take a bit of time for yourself, you can understand this as an opportunity to make different activities When I got an art-block I play with my dog, cook something, walk into the city or parks, play videogames, etc.  I try to not force it, except if I have a crappy deadline, in this case I close the door, put some motivational songs and I work hard (but is really unhealthy!).

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?
Can it be three? Haha. I really like the book from Joe Murray, creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Lazlo Camp, named ‘’Creating Animated Cartoons with Character’’, an Argentine comic named Mafalda by Quino and a Brazilian Comic named ‘’La Dansarina’’ by Jefferson Costa and Lilo Parra.

Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
I have much respect and love for the work of Eichiro Oda, Akira Toriyama, Masaaki Yuasa, Osamu Tezuka, Kenneth Ladekjaer  Joe Moshier ,  Genndy Tartakovsky,  John Kricfalusi, Chris Battle, Nadya Mira, Jeferson Costa, Alexandre Augusto Ferreira, Bernardo França,  Paulo Muppet, Pietro Antognioni and many others.

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?
Social networks and online services are incredible. We can share information, knowledge, make friends. Because of that I can access the news about de International Schools and Industry and improve my work to be able to work around the word. I just got my intern at Denmark because of my activities on social media. I made a lot of friends in France and Europe because of the Internet. I miss you Emilie, Ryne,  Eve, Laurent, Vivi, Fanou, Eva, Diane, Maxime… 

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 ( freireivan.tumblr.com ), Facebook ( facebook.com/freireivanart ) ,  Instagram: ( @freireivan ), Twitter ( @ivanfreire ) I will be very happy and pleased to see you there. Oh and this is my mail if you have any doubts, critics,  job offers or if you just want to talk hi@ivanfreire.tv. 

Thank you Ivan :)