Gabriel Perez is a senior member of Shadowness who both inspires and amazes the crowd. We are thrilled to share this interview with you guys and be sure to check out his complete gallery at /Gabriel
What was it that triggered your interest for art?
Batman and Ninja Turtles! I use to draw them so much that I’d get in trouble in school. I then moved on to drawing Spider-man, wolverine, aliens and sharks! I was so fascinated by comic books that I soon got addicted to them to the point where I wanted to make my own comic book. Ever since, I’ve been drawing throughout my life and it has been an awesome skill to improve.
How long have you been a Shadowness member and how did you first hear about the community?
I’ve been a Shadowness member since the good old days of Eevo V3! My talent back then needed a great deal of serious work but I remember how inspirational Shadowness was to me. I can’t recall as to how I stumbled upon Shadowness but I am thankful I did. It changed the artist in me in a variety of ways.
Are you completely self taught or have you taken upon formal art education?
I am completely self-taught. I always had a passion for art and it all came to me digitally when I found out about Craig Mullin’s work. This was back in 2005 when I came across artworks for Halo 2 that just blew my mind! Right then and there, I wanted to know the artist and how he created such beautiful artworks. From there on, I’ve been painting from time to time, and brushing up my skills to where I am now.
I have been considering attending an art college for Entertainment Design to prolong my studies and to build a better portfolio. However, I feel that the studies I’ve been doing on my own for the past few months have tremendously impacted my knowledge to create art in a professional way. I am confident that this year will be my year to build my portfolio into something amazing.
While your drawings/paintings contain different types of concepts, the majority seems to be influenced by military/combat, is there a specific reason for this choice of art?
Yes! I have been in the U.S Army for almost 6 years. I lead, supervised and served as a member of an infantry unit, employing individual weapons, machine guns, and anti-armor weapons in offensive and defensive ground combat.
What I have learned and experienced in the Army, I apply to the majority of my artworks.
Which of your creations are you most pleased with and why?
The piece named ‘Elite Soldier’. It’s my first “finished-quality” work I put time into back in 2008. It’s based off of experience. It wasn’t speedy like I normally paint. This was the first piece I literally put hours into. I was stoked by the fact that I was able to render a piece and make it look real. Which is why I am still pleased with it because of how excited and confident I was when I finished it. Runners up, I’d go with the ODST fan art I did for Bungie’s Halo 3: ODST videogame. The rest of my works are pretty much speed paints that don’t have the same quality of work compared to “Elite Soldier” and “ODST”.
What mistakes have taught you the most when it comes to developing your knowledge within drawings/paintings area?
Always be positive and confident! Learn and know what you want to do and execute it. One of my biggest mistakes was not being positive and confident because I didn’t know how to execute what I had in mind. It took me a while to finally realize that studying and practicing my weaknesses made me a much more positive and confident artist. Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice! I can’t emphasize that enough.
I was so ignorant to even think that I didn’t need to study and practice; that it would all just come to me and click together. That is not the case. I started studying last year in September and I have seen an increasing amount of improvement over my work. I am still studying and practicing, so hop on the journey with me and tag along! Kind of corny, I know, but if you want to become a better artist, tackle your weakness and overcome it. It’s as simple as that.
Do you currently work in the field of art or do you aspire to in the near future?
I am currently working as a freelance illustrator/concept artist. After being released from the army late last year, I decided to take my art seriously and hopefully work as a concept artist/illustrator full-time in the near future.
What do you love most about it?
I love the diversity for each project because I am more accustomed creating sci-fi and military concepts than I am used to creating children’s illustration. Each and every client I have worked for have been different and it has helped me delve into other areas of imagination.
Creating art can mean a variety of things for artists, it can be a place of serenity, a way to simply express your thoughts and imagination etc, what does it mean to you?
It’s amazing how different artists perceive art the way they do. I personally see art as a way of expressing one’s imaginative world. I create art in the intent to bring the viewers into my world and see what I’m trying to convey. I try to tell the story of my experiences, love and hate, greed or how I’m feeling in the moment. Sometimes, I create random artworks as a fun way of being productive. Art can be really mysterious.
Learning to create digital paintings/drawings can be a challenge for most and certainly not something you can learn in a short time period. Do you have any tips for people who are or wishes to improve their creations with a similarity to your style? Being inspirational, practical or technical, anything that may aid a fellow artist?
Study and practice your weaknesses in the field, as I mentioned in question 6. If you’re lacking in composition… study composition. If you’re lacking in anatomy… practice figure drawing!
If you are planning to paint an environment with mountains, rivers, trees, foliage; before hand, always search for photo references. This will help you not only make your paintings more believable, but also teach you to the point you won’t need a reference at all.
Also, using photo stills in the form of movies, landscapes, or personal photos can help your brush work and sense of lighting. I have been studying and practicing movie stills to find new ways to use my brush and also gain more knowledge of lighting and color. The goal is to paint the image you are looking at as fast as you can. Give yourself a time. 30-60 minutes recommended. The painting doesn’t have to be perfect; these are just merely studies and practices. Its fun when you’re bored and it applies to the concepts of “study” and “practice”.
Oh, and invest in a proper drawing tablet! It is a crucial step to becoming better.
Do you have anything you wish to say to visitors & members of Shadowness?
Have fun and happy painting! ^__^
On behalf of the team of Shadowness i'd like to thank you for participating in this interview!