Where did you grow up and when did you say to yourself: ‘’I want to be an Artist’’?
I grew up in a small town in Italy. Honestly i think i have never decided to be an artist, i just have been doing it since i have memory. I have no idea if it's an unconscious way to express myself or, more concretely, something i like to do because it helps me relaxing.. maybe both, but i think it's the 2nd mostly.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
Well, as every parent would do with their children. My mom just said "be careful" when my chance to work as an illustrator came. My studies were on a totally different path, so she was worried about it, but she never discouraged me, just kept saying to be careful about it.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
i have always been fond of cartoon and comics. I kept watching Disney movies over and over again and in my university years i started reading X-men comics. I also love reading adventure books and thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy books so i always found myself trying to imagine the scenes written in books as if they were cartoons. I still like watching cartoons and comics today, but also documentaries (mostly naturalistic ones)... they help me a lot when i'm drawing.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? What helped you prepare to become the artist we know today?
i'm self taught. This is mostly the reason why it makes me feel a little strange to talk about myself as an "artist". Drawing has been part of my life since i was 2 years old, so i never considered myself an artist. I think that good old "do it again, and again, and again" helped me to find my way.
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 changed favourite subjects many times during my life. When i was a child i drew dinosaurs, then "graffiti" and deformed characters during middle school, fantasy based characters and beasts as a teenager, and then comic-based characters during the university. I often change my mind and try different subjects and topics. Right now there's no specific one, i drew gods, comics fan-arts, medieval knights, fairy tales characters. The CDChalllenge helps me a lot finding more interesting topics to try!
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?
I always try to understand as clear as possible what is exactly the client idea. I try to imagine it and suggest some options to develop the initial concept, alternative ideas and then i make sketches and rough drawings to show the client what my idea is. If they approve, we go on. When I study something new i try to figure out what the client concept is and then try to brainstorm to find some interesting things to make the thing work.
What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
Since i started as a hobbyist, i feel more comfortable with freehand drawing and colouring. Lately i found out that my favourite tool is copic markers. I also like watercolours, but i'm still not very good with them, so copics are a good way to have a similar effect. My colouring process usually consists in putting shades at first, and then overlaying colours. This works quite well both in hand colouring and digital. considering i started as self taught illustrator, i still have doubts whether this is the best choice or not... but it usually works :)
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
The hardest part is definitely brainstorming and gathering hints and things that could represent the concept. For example, for the "greek gods" challenge, i submitted a version of Kronos, the god of time, I had to make my mind up to find some nice ideas to represent a character who is the embodiment of time itself, so i searched for clocks, hourglasses, but also common says and reference to the time in art, cinema (at the beginning i thought to make my Kronos look like Doc Brown from 'Back to the Future' but then i chose for something different, since he was an ancient being representing an abstract idea). The most fun part of the job is.. drawing! Find out how to match the hints i found, and mix them into something which is good to see and shows my idea.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
I have no idea of how to describe a "typical day", mostly because i don't think i have a typical routine...except starting to sketch something on the metro while heading to work. Regarding the people i work with, I can say that I've been lucky enough to work with many talented artist, and I still am. Sara and Giulia are two really talented illustrators i work with, and i could learn a lot from them since we started working together.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
I learned a lot, but i still need to learn much more: use of perspective, use of colour, i feel like i'm still a newbie in this world and the more i see, the more i feel like that. I just hope i'll be learning enough to stand up one day.
Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
Some of my characters for the CDC made me pretty satisfied. Also some fanarts i made recently left me happy...but generically specking, the more i draw, the more i try to improve myself :)
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
I wish to become a full time professional artist. Character designing is what i feel more close to myself in this moment, but i have been also practicing with storyboards and animated info graphics. My dream project, well.. i guess working in animation would be the greatest dream for me, even if i still lack many skills for that.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
Working for a company or a studio is the best for me. I think freelancing is good as well, but probably I'm not suited for that.
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?
Since i often face off with art block or "less creative" periods I would suggest to keep up at drawing... even when nothing you draw seems to be satisfying. Try to look for new subjects and new ways to draw them, but most of all DON'T GIVE UP.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs?
Without any doubt at the top of the list there's SKOTTIE YOUNG. i love his unique style, and i read his Oz books a lot of times. Jake Parker is also one of the artists who's inspiring me the most lately...his designs are really nice...and his INKTOBER gave me lots of inputs to work hard to become better and refine my skills. Also, i love Eric Canete, Humberto Ramos, Filipe Andrade, Chris Bachalo, i like artists who have a cartoony style.
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
Since i grew up watching Walt disney's FANTASIA, i guess hand drawn animation has still lots to say. i simply would love to work in traditional animation. i know that digital techniques can give more speed, which suits better with timings and deadlines... but my heart is totally with hand drawn.
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?
In my opinion anything that can make an artist keep in touch with his fans is good. The internet can help to bring some projects to life, while maybe publishers could not dare to risk.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
I have a Facebook page ( facebook.com/Marcof-illustration ) and also a Behance page ( www.behance.net/marc0f ) Feel free to leave comments, requests and tips on my works.. they will help me getting better more quickly!
Thank you Marco :)