Where did you grow up? At what age did you start thinking about pursuing an artistic career?
I was born in Bogota, Colombia. I remember I always loved watching cartoons and animated films, but I never had the thought of pursuing animation as a career. It wasn’t until I started an Engineering degree when my drive and interest for art started growing. I went to conferences and conventions like SIGGRAPH. It was there when I instantly knew I wanted to pursue art. Seeing so many inspiring artists and their work helped me to understand I wanted to dedicate my life to animation.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I was pursuing an Engineering degree while taking CG classes here and there. I took one drawing class; drawing for engineering. I learned a lot about technical drawing. Initially, I wanted to develop my CG skills. I remember wanting to be a CG animator or lighter. After getting my degree in Engineering, I decided to go to Ringling College of Art + Design. I started drawing from life and did many observational sketches. I learned the basics and met really talented people who pushed my drive. I wanted to learn from everybody and every thing.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
Luckily, my family and friends have been very understanding of my artistic path. Their support has been invaluable throughout everything.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
Probably most Disney films, the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons, and Looney Tunes. I remember being obsessed watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.
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?
My story is a bit different than many other artists in the industry. My passion for drawing grew during my college years. I didn’t draw much as a kid. Instead, I used to play around a lot with clay and legos. I used to love sculpting animals, worlds, and nature elements.
What is your process in creating your art and what are your favourite tools?
Nowadays I don’t use traditional tools as much. I do carry a sketchbook and a pencil, though. I use Photoshop and Procreate for my digital work. I think the hardest part is the starting stage. Sometime I struggle to find an idea. It is tough to make a decision while having multiple possibilities.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
How to balance out my life. I love what I do and my job, however, I struggle a lot with stress and over focusing. Experiencing new things allow me to keep myself positive and sane. Life beyond art does not only give me new places to find happiness but it also gives me reasons to feel inspired to draw again.
What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I’ve been a student up until a few months ago. I worked for Toy Story 4 and an unannounced feature at Pixar Animation. I also was part of a short-film at Disney called Ventana. I have worked for Disney Jr show, Puppy Dog Pals. I am currently working on another Disney Jr show, The Rocketeer.
Do you have a longterm career goal? What would your dream project be?
To keep doing what I do. That’s always the goal. Possibly in the future, I would love to have my own studio and work with the people who inspire me.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I like both. I have enjoyed the freedom of being a freelancer. It gives me the flexibility of working on my own terms. However, working for a company gives stability and allows me to immerse myself in a creative environment. I also enjoy social interaction in my daily life. I need to be around people. It gives me motivation and also allows me to learn so much more.
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an artist's block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
It’s tough. I go through it a lot! I usually try to separate myself entirely from art and wait for it to come back to me. I often feel pushing the art block can only make it worse.
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, you name it. There are so many careers and when you are very young, sometimes you know only one thing: you simply love to draw. In your opinion, what should a young person take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
Try everything and see what you like. I didn’t specifically know what I wanted to do straight out of high school. It took me a while to understand what works for me. I went from engineering to being obsessed with CG to drawing for animation. I gave myself the chance to try new things and figure out if I liked it or not. Also, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! There is no option but having to work hard in this industry. The competition is going to be very high and rejection will always be present. It is a difficult path but a fun one. Surround yourself with people who keep you motivated.
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online services and so on. 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?
I think social media allows artists to build up audiences for their work. It is a great platform to put your name out there. It is also a great tool to communicate with artists you admire as it can bring people together. In my opinion, nowadays, it is necessary as an artist to build a presence online. If used correctly and successfully, it can help you find new jobs and sell your work.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
My inspirations always change throughout time. Though, some are always in my mind like Rene Gruau, Egon Schiele, Carlos Felipe León, Daniel Lopez Muñoz, Cory Loftis, Fernando Peque, Tadahiro Uesugi, Chris Sasaki, and Ami Thompson.
Finally, where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
My website is ( camilo-castro.com ), but I also post on Tumblr ( camilocastroart.tumblr.com ) and Instagram ( @camilocastro.art ). I have a Twitter too ( @camilocastroart ).
Thank you Camilo :)