Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Fortaleza, a city on the Northeast coast of Brazil. I drew a lot when I was a kid, like many do. Most of the people though stop drawing during their teenage years simply because they find something more interesting to invest their time on. I didn’t. Drawing has always been something extremely interesting to me and I was always involved with art in some way.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? What helped you prepare to become the artist we know today?
I graduated in Visual Arts here in my home town, but the biggest part of everything I learned came from self- taught studies after graduation. There’s such a huge amount of good books out there to learn from and the many resources on the internet also helped me a lot.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
My parents grew up in the countryside and they know very little about the industry I wanted to work for. They really didn't imagine I could have made a living out of this profession and at the beginning they weren't very happy about my choice and it was kind of tough. With the given time though (and after seeing things happening) they definitely change their mind about it and they started to support me, a lot.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
I’ve had a big mix of influences. If I had to point out the biggest one, I would probably go for videogames, which I played a lot. But there were also many comic books, Japanese live actions, anime, toys, TV, movies...
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?
I have always been super character driven. As a teen, my favourite subjects were superheroes. Today I still like to draw imaginary characters, but I also enjoy drawing regular folks. I think it's such an interesting topic. It's cool to observe all the peculiarities, the small details, the way we walk and dress and the body shapes that characterize us. When I'm going to a coffee shop I love to spend my time drawing the people around me (while drinking some good hot coffee, let’s not forget this). This is one of the things I like the most. One of my favourite subject is weird and ugly people, because you have an enormous freedom to stretch concepts on them!
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you're designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
The first thing I do when I'm working on a project is to set a few stretch goals in my mind, in order to find a starting point for my process. I read the brief and I point out what catches my attention. I mentally focus on it and I'm trying to relate it with something or someone that I saw or heard previously, in real life or in some movie, videogame, comic book, a story someone told me, etc. This gives me a direction and helps me to establish the character’s personality a bit more. It’s basically building the character’s spirit in your mind: who he is, what he does, how he does it, what are his motivations, fears, aspirations.. It’s really about thinking about the story itself. I think it’s a mandatory stage of the process. It’s impossible to jump into an idea and expect to do a good job without stretching the concept first. After this, I start looking for a few related images, in order to make a visual mood board that will help me build some more visual memory to strengthen the idea out. Then, I throw the mood board away and I start sketching lots of small thumbnails, looking for shapes, language, visual relations, so I can analyze what works and what not. I ask myself if that idea helps me to tell the story I need to tell, if it’s visually interesting, I check what specific points I like, what can I do to make these even better, etc. I just keep the flow of sketching, but the process of critically analyzing things, while I keep doing them, directs the action to the next level of shaping things up, and on and on, until I have something worth of being refined. After establishing the ideas, all that is left is the actual work of making a final image that looks cool.
What is your process in colouring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I work both traditionally and digitally. If I’m doing the colors on paper I use a mix of colored pencils, markers, watercolors, gouache, ecoline, etc. If I’m doing the colors digitally I use Photoshop.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
For me, Character Design is essentially a problem-solving activity. Finding a solution that is not only effective but also visually attractive it's the biggest brain teaser to me.
That being said, I think there is a moment of the process where you try to explore some visual solutions, and you start to feel uncomfortable with the work that is front of you. This is the hardest part, not because you still didn’t find a good idea, but because feeling uncomfortable is never easy. We NEED to be uncomfortable, so that we can feel the urge to keep searching until we find new and better solutions. I think the actual execution of the work is a bit easier, especially after having the idea previously established in your head. I like to work hard on the visual part too, polish the looks of a concept, etc. But I think that the final stage is more a work of technique.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
I’m a freelancer right now, which can be rewarding since you have more time for yourself and your family, but it can also be awfully lonely sometimes! A perfect day to me is waking up early in the morning and going to the gym to get some blood and ideas running, then warming up on my sketchbook and finally jump into work. Some days, at the end of the afternoon, if I have everything done I have time to run along the seafront or to go to a coffee shop, a bookstore or a square near home to breathe some fresh air and sketch a bit from life. I feel these breaks are very important, since they help me from the bad side of being a freelancer, which is being too much alone.
What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I’m still working on making my way. I’ve done a few Children’s Books, developed characters for small projects, and participated in some collective art books (Geek Art- An Anthology Vol.2, Creepy Romance Vol.2, Udon’s Capcom Fighting Tribute, Masters of Anatomy Book 2). I’m about to start a project that Harper Collins Publishers signed me up for, I’m going to work with them on a series of 3 Children’s Books with dozens of illustrated pages! I can’t tell much about it yet, but I’ll surely make a lot of buzz when the books come out.
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
My longterm career goal is to keep getting better in what I do and establish myself as a well-known visdev/character designer with a good body of work. I want to work for feature animations, but also and keep working on children’s books!
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
Both are great if you know how to take the best from them. Studios are awesome in the sense that you get inspired by everyone around you. Being a freelancer can be the option if you want more freedom for yourself and time to spend your family.
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?
That’s a difficult question. Everybody deals with it in a different way. From my point of view, art-blocks can happen for many reasons. You can be mentally or physically tired, you can have personal issues directly affecting your work or maybe you are not particularly interested in a specific job (just to name a few). Solutions, just like the causes, are many. My advice would be to try to focus and rationally analyze the cause of the problem (deep inside we always know it), so you can find a suitable solution to it. If I need to give one practical and immediate solution, I’d say, stop the work for a day or two, go out and try to live. We tend to become super focused into our own world and work, that we forget about how good and relaxing life can be. Change the surroundings, go to the beach and catch up some sun, have a nice spare time to chat with your Family and friends, do some workout, go to a coffee shop, observe people and sketch from life, read a book, watch a movie... sometimes the best thing is to focus on something out of the work itself.
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there are lots of choices. When you’re young, sometimes you know only one thing: you love to draw. What should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
This is very personal and it's very tough to answer. I would suggest to try to understand what brings you most joy, and go for it. Do what pleases you the most, and practice a lot in order to strengthen your skills and make it in the best possible way.
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?
Having a distinct style is good to highlight yourself among the crowd, which would attract potential clients because of your ability to give a unique voice to a project. But being able to quickly adapt to different styles is also a great quality if you want to be commercially attractive to big studios, since they work on a lot of different projects.
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 would recommend “Drawn to Life”, by Walt Stanchfield.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
Enrique Fernandez, Humberto Ramos, Travis Charest, Jake Parker, Carter Goodrich, Carlos Grangel, Nicolas Marlet, Taylor Krahenbuhl, Peter de Sève, Max Narciso, Anthony Holden, Péah, Chris Sanders, Claire Wendling, Cory Loftis, Ian McQue, ShiYoon Kim... man, the list goes on...
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 find me on Tumblr and Instagram. If you’d like to visit my online store www.eduardovieirart.bigcartel.com is the address to check! And, if you need to get in touch, ask something, or simply say hi, just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org! :)
Thank you Eduardo :)