Hello folks. I "met" Carlos Villas while searching for potential illustrators to do some artwork for my self-pubbed Fantasy line of publications/books. I reached out to him, and he graciously responded quickly and the rest is history. I commissioned him to do a rendering of my Braccus Straun character, and also another upcoming Fantasy yarn featuring a badass Bull-man (the results you can view further down the page...the one with the "Minotaur" dude holding the severed head of, well, another fellow beast gentleman.)
CREATIVES HELP BOARD: When did you first realize you wanted to be an illustrator?
CARLOS VILLAS: I`ve been painting since I was a little kid, so I actually never had a doubt I`d pursue art as a career. I worked a couple of years as a freelance artist in Mèxico City, and then tried the fine art road. I did get a couple of prizes and shows, but nothing that really filled my expectations because I love to do creatures and monsters, and you can imagine not a lot of people would hang one of those bad boys in his or her house. I abandoned art for many years (professional art) and focused on my business. Around 4 years ago I saw what people were doing with digital art so I bought a tablet, and Photoshop and started teaching myself.... and haven`t looked back. I have no doubt I want to create in this digital format, not exactly illustration, but illustration, concept and creature/character design, that`s the goal.
CHB: Have you ever had times feeling like "why in the hell am I doing this? What am I even doing this for?" And what do you do to pull yourself away from that negative path and way of thinking?
CV: I`m pretty sure I must have had those times, but usually I`ve always been pretty straight forward on staying on this road, specially the last year, I decided to go for it. Just outwork them (negative thinking or attitude) and keep going for it and trying to get better every single day.
CHB: What do you draw your inspiration and ideas from? Books you've read? Other artists you've seen? Besides the act of creating, do you think it is important to study and/or read what others are doing or have done?
CV: I think ideas and inspiration have always been there. I just love to take a blank canvas and start working on it without knowing exactly where am I going with it (personal projects). Usually when I do commissions, as soon as the client tells me what they need, I get a pretty good picture of it in my head and then it`s just a matter of playing with that idea on the canvas. Books and movies are amazing inspiration resources as well as looking at other artist`s work online. I do think it`s really important to see what other`s are doing, not to copy it, but to incorporate what might work into your art/workflow. I keep watching tutorials almost everyday, and enjoy them as much as if I was watching a cool horror movie.
CHB: What are some other Creatives...writers and/or illustrators...that have inspired you and you think would be good inspiration for others?
CV: There are so many amazing artists! The one that truly amazed me was Frazzetta, then Vallejo... while I started working as a freelance artist I loved Mark Fredrickson (amazing airbrush illustrator), and then I got more into Fantasy and concept art, 2 and 3 D, following artists like Berni Wrightson, Bisley, Maciej Kuciara, Ben Mauro, Maxim Verehin, Caleb Nefzen, Piotr Jablonski, Ken Barthelmey.... man, I could keep going...
CHB: Besides plugging into some heavy metal rock-n-roll goodness, what does the Carlos Villas Cave of Creativity start with each time you visit it to create your magic? Favorite hours to create? Other "rituals?" What disciplines do you provide yourself when starting or continuing to work on a project to make sure you complete it?
CV: I always start working at 9 or 10am, just after I take my son to school, have breakfast. I start working until they tell me it`s time to eat LOL, then I keep working until 6pm. I spend some time with the family and, as soon as my wife falls asleep (around 10-11), I go back to work until 2 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes I do take a couple of hours off for family reasons, pick up my kid, take him to his swimming or painting classes, or going to the movies, but I try to always hit it again late at night. Night seems always the best time. Less distractions. As for the mood....always music, all kinds of music, and my Coca-Cola with a lot of ice.... THAT does the trick.
CHB: Why do you enjoy rendering/illustrating/creating creatures and monsters versus sweeping mountain vistas and dazzling orange sunsets?
CV: I have no idea! LOL I have always enjoyed rendering/creating organic things. I find the variations on them (skin, colors, texture) just amazing. Lately, I have found joy in rendering/painting backgrounds, but my first love will always be the creature itself.
CHB: What's your favorite type of creature to render? Something known, like a Frankenstein monster, or unknown and original?
CV: I would always prefer to create my own creature/characters, but I also love the challenge to give an existing character my own twist.
CHB: And do you lean more towards Fantasy or SciFi...or enjoy them both equally?
CV: I lean more towards Fantasy, specially Horror. SciFi has some pretty amazing opportunities, and it usually includes hard surfaces (which I`m trying to learn and become better at), but Horror and Fantasy bring the best out of me.
CHB: What kind of advice would you give beginner imaginators/creatives?
CV: I would advise them to just keep painting, there`s no substitute to practice, just keep painting and painting, learn new programs and ways to do your work better and faster. There`s no magic formula, but this one will eventually get you there. Become so good that they (art appreciators) will have to notice you.
CARLOS VILLAS is a freelance illustrator currently working almost exclusively in digital art utilizing Photoshop. However, he has also worked in all traditional media and mediums.
For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org