Last week I had the pleasure to interview Hugo Richard, a concept artist and illustrator from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Being a friendly and easy going guy, he was kind enough to share some insights into his life and journey as a digital artist. His character designs are ridiculously awesome and dynamic, they’ve turned me into a raging fan at first glance. I’ve been studying his work relentlessly the past couple days. I hope you’ll like his stuff as much as I do — you can read the interview below. Enjoy!
When did you start your journey as an artist, and what led you on this path?
Back in 2008 I saw my first anime series ( Naruto) and then I started to think about do a manga or something like that, so I started to search more about everything related to that. 4 years ago I quit my “mangaka life”, cause I realized that here in Brazil I wouldn’t get any money for it. So I was depressed at the time cause the only thing I could do was art and I never thought about anything else to do. After 2 weeks of pain and bad moments a friend of mine showed me a making of from an advertisement studio here in Brazil (they were doing some promotional stuff for Diablo).
After I watched that video I was sooo happy with everything that I saw, because I had a chance to figure out a new way to work with drawings and stuff, and during my researches I stumbled upon Wesley Burt and Jason Chan’s work, so from that moment I decided to start my life as a Concept artist/Illustrator.
Could you share your story on how you ended up working professionally as a digital artist?
Oh okay, after 1 year and a half of study and everything, I did my first freelance here in brazil as a concept artists for a game here (really cool experience by the way), and then 8 months later I started to work for an animation studio here in Brazil doing environments for an animation movie. I learned tons from that experience, but I realized that I wanted to learn more so after I finished that project I would just study for an year or so. At the end of 2014 I had my first chance to work on something cool and that was for Hex (trading card game), and I learned a lot!! So in 2015 I started to work in an animation studio here in brazil again doing environments for a cartoon network animated serie called Trunk train and that was one of the best things ever cause I learned a lot about colors and composition too. During the whole year I was working full time on that studio and doing freelance work for other studios like Volta, Gameloft and CD Projekt (was totally insane and awesome). And that was how I started to work professionally as a digital artist.
Do you use any traditional mediums? If so, which are your favorites?
Yeah! I think traditional drawing is really important because if one day you don’t have internet at least you have a paper and a pencil next to you!
I really wanna do traditional painting too, I gotta find a time to do that!
Your characters look exceptionally alive and dynamic. Do you think about the pose simultaneously while designing your character, or you break down the design process in separate steps?
Oh thank you so much. So when I’m designing my characters most of the time I have something in mind to do, so I already know which kind of clothes he/she will be wearing or something like that, and I’m just caring about a good pose to represent the character. But there are moments that I have no idea what to do or how to do it, so I usually start with a basic research to see If I can find something that inspires me to create a character.
What are the resources that played the most important role in your development as an artist? Also, what resources would you recommend to artists trying to break in the industry?
Traditionally speaking as I mentioned before I really like to do traditional drawings and studies in my skechbook. But for my drawings I’ve been studying anatomy and things that can improve my line since I started and I always recommend 3 books that must be read. Those are Design and invention (Michael Hampton), Head and hands( Andrew Loomis) and Drawing course (Charles Bargue), but there’re a lot of books that will help you to improve your lines. It’s just about the amount of hours that you’re putting in!
Now, digitally speaking I think if you have a really strong traditional skill you don’t will have too much problem migrating to digital. But I’ve been doing a lot of color studies, master studies, and design studies(for design basically I try to understand other designs and the the functionality of it, but you can also do studies from real life like vehicles and other stuffs) I didn’t try 3D yet but I think it will help me to increase my process too.
What do you think is the most challenging part about being a digital artist?
During those 3 years that I’ve been working in the industry I think the most challenging part for me is to be motivated all day to create awesomes stuff, and another thing is without any doubts the transition of painterly style to photobashing style. I still think it’s the most hardest thing for now! But it’s just a techniqe that needs to be mastered so I can do it! haahaha
What do you think is the most rewarding part?
See the final project and how people liked that! I always got messages from people saying really good things about my work or the project that I worked for.
What is an average Tuesday like in the life of Hugo Richard?
hahhaha I usually wake up at 8:00 am, take my breakfast, play with my dogs and my parrot a bit and then I start to warm up with gesture drawings or doing a quick painting study! after that I start to work. after 8H of work I allow myself to play something or go out to hangout with friends. but if the deadline is tight I need to work so it’s just work the whole day hahah
You must be really excited preparing to leave across borders for the first time! Without going into specifics, could you describe how this opportunity presented itself and what is your experience with the preparation process?
omg yeah! it has been really insane, I never realized how hard it is to get a work permit and prepare yourself to leave your family and your life here. But otherwise it’s an awesome feeling cause you’ve been looking for that for a while and now it’s real… it’s really hard to explain how I feel now. I can just say thank you for my parents for always supporting me and my friends too. I know a lot of people in canada so it’ll be a really awesome experience for sure!
Who are your role models? Could you name three persons — dead or alive — who inspire you, or significantly influenced your life?
So as I mentioned in the first question got really inspired by Wesley Burt and Jason Chan’s work. But I would like to have Brazilian inspirations too and I figured that here in Brazil we have a lot of awesome artists like Mike Azevedo, Victor Quaresma, Lucas Parolin, Rael Lyra, Bruno Biazotto , Cesar Rosalino, Filipe Pagliuso…. it’s a lot and I’m really proud to see all of those badass artists here.
But as a really big inspiration I think it’s Sargent, Wesley Burt and …. it’s hard to say cause I have a lot of artists that I really like! I’m sorry I don’t have just 3 of them in my mind! Hahhah
And finally “What brush do u use?” would you be kind to share your brush set with us?
Most of my brushes are from other artists, but in this pack you’ll find some really useful brushes that I usually use for my line drawings and paintings
That’s all folks!
I would like to thank Hugo for taking the time to do this, I know he has a busy schedule, especially now that he’s preparing to move. I really appreciate the effort and wish you a safe trip and best of luck on the new job dude.