Carlos Dattoli is a professional illustrator who started painting since he was very little. His passion and determination helped him prepare in his life in art. Let us get to know him more in this interview and witness how incredible his artworks are. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself such as what you do, where did you go to school and what classes did you study? Also, what helped you prepare to becoming the artist that you are today?
Yes of course! well, i’m a professional Illustrator, I have been painting since very little, unaware that someday I would do it for a living, I did a career in graphic design here in México in a college named, Universidad Internacional, UNINTER, and after I graduated, I studied one year animation and post production, when finished, I went to Spain to do a master in Illustrator on “Coco School”, (Escuela Europea para la Comunicación y las Artes Visuales), it was there when I discovered that I could work as an illustrator, so I left the idea of becoming a graphic designer behind, I finished my Master, returned to México, and immediately I started working on a portfolio of illustration.
I think what helped me prepare, was my passion and determination for it, and the most important thing, the practice, everything else is just a combination of life experiences, a lot of fails, frustrations, and learning process.
How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
If it is character that I will design from scratch, I usually start imagining his personality, so in that way is easier for me to imagine what he will look like, his face and his clothes, if it is a human character, I always look for references of different people or I take photos of myself doing the expression that I need, so I can get a more accurate painting, but if it is a cartoon character, I just play with it till I get what I want , because usually cartoon characters are easier to paint than realistic ones, but if the character already exists and I’m doing a interpretation of it in my own style, what I do is, I search for a lot of poses of the character and angles, to understand his uniqueness, so I don’t lose his personality when I paint him.
Now, for the technical aspect, I always do the sketch first, then I clean the line and then I paint the character, that is basically what I do when it comes to paint and design a characters.
Where is the place you would like to work if you had a choice? Why?
I don’t know if i have a place exactly, but I will love to work in a studio doing illustration and concept design for AAA games and movies, around incredible artists.
That would be my dream job, for many reason, one, is that I love movies and video games, other thing is that it would be an honor for me, working along with amazing artists doing big projects like those!
How do you go about coloring the character, what type of tools or media do you use?
Sometimes I start the painting with black and white color first, especially when is just a concept, or a simple illustration, then I place the color, but this makes the process a little bit longer, but sometimes you get better light values, but most of the time I start with the colors I want, and if for some reason I don’t like the result, I can always use color layers on top, and play with the color, till I get what i want.
I only use photoshop, I love that program since I was a graphic designer, and year after year they have been improving its characteristics toward the painting approach, which is great for me!
Do you have any specific artwork you have done that you are most happy with? If so, can you share it to us and can you tell us why you are most happy with it?
I did one illustration like 3 months ago named, “Capitan Jacques And His Dragon Machine”, for a “Blizzard” “Goblins and Gnomes” contest, I didn’t win but I had so much fun with it!
I’m very detail on my work, but in that one, I went far beyond, and I love it! because I discovered what I’m able to do if I’m more patient with my paintings and I get out of my comfort zone, of course, so if you look very closely to that illustration you will find a lot of amusing details.
But that was technically speaking, the illustration that change it all for me, was (FAT HEROES, DC), and it is funny because I never thought that so many people would like that one, I just painted it for fun, to do something different, and to rest from making my portfolio, but I never imagine the power of that illustration, I’m very thankful with those guys, they gave me a name in the illustration field, so, that one is the most important for me, no questions ask.
What type of things do you love to draw, and why?
Ooh boy! that is a tough question, because I love to paint almost everything! haha I really do! I think that is one of the things that can describe me as an illustrator, I enjoy painting things for kids as much as painting serious stuff, literally I’m always thinking on new different subjects to paint, if you follow my work closely you will be amazed of how drastically I can change my subject matters, for season to season, sometimes you wouldn’t believe that I’m the artist behind two different pieces, but I like that about me, it gives me variety, and also the advantage that I can work with very different clients with no problem.
What part of designing a character is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
Definitely the easy part is the beginning, when I do the sketch, is the part where I can play the most, and I’m more relaxed, but when it comes the painting part, is where I suffer! haha no, I just kidding, but that part is way harder, and much much longer, because of the detail I put in every single part of the illustrations, sometimes when I finish, I just can’t do anything else but rest.
Can you share some wisdom about being a character designer? Do you have any tips you could give?
Of course! I don’t have many years of experiences but I know a thing or two I can share, for sample when it comes to create a character is always important to give him as much personality as you can, that will make your character appealing to the public, also you need to practice a lot of anatomy, I don’t think I’m very good at it, but is definitely one of the most important things you need to learn, so you can give your characters more dynamic features and movements, some times you can have an amazing idea for a character but if you don’t know how to paint it well, it might look flat or lose his charm, so both of those things are equally important, and of course! you need to practice, practice, practice!
Also invent as much characters as you can, and if you love fan art, like I do, try to put your own style into the piece, bring something new to the character, so it wont be just a copy, but a interpretation, because at the end that is what you probably will be doing in a concept art job, interpreting the ideas of the art director, sometimes with characters that already exist, so is always a good way of practicing.
More about Carlos Dattoli
You can find more of his artworks on his Behance profile.