An Interview with Diego Gisbert Llorens
Hi Diego, first off tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the art world.
Well, I was born in Alcoy (Spain) some 32 years ago; a short time later, somehow I started drawing vikings and spaceships and I have yet to stop.
Have you had any formal training as an artists?
Sure! I have studied arts for nearly 10 years, from highschool, arts & crafts school to university. It's been amazingly positive and a boost to my skills in some ways, and quite negative and somehow a dead weight in some others. In the end, everything is up to your personal research and how seriously you take your work.
How did you find the transition from working with traditional techniques to working digitally?
It took me quite a while to get used to painting with photoshop and to use a wacom properly. The first week was almost physically painful; then, I spent one more year or so playing with it, but not actually working. Getting hired by a studio helped quite a lot, as it meant working on my digital skills a lot of time every day.
What was the first professional project you worked on, and how long after did you start making a living from your work?
The first project I can remember were some quarter page illustrations for very little RPG publisher, and it took me about one year to start having a regular flow of commissions.
What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelance artists?
Well, both are pretty clear, I guess. You manage your own time, work from home or from your own studio, dressing in nothing but pants if you want to. On the other hand, you have to deal with taxes, client hunting, deadlines and all kind of bureaucracy on your own. It's a big challenge for your self-discipline.
When starting a digital piece do you usually start out with a sketch on paper or do you do the whole process digitally?
I used pencil sketches only at first, but its been a long while since I needed to do so. Now, from time to time, if I doodle something interesting on paper, I use it as a base and I have to say it usually, for some reason, it works better than a 100% digital process.
When working on a piece what kind of reference material do you use?
Sketches are probably the most important part in the process of an image. While working on a sketch, I realize what I'll be needing during the rendering of the image: references for the palette, values, anatomy, composition, etc. Sometimes, when working on a particular setting, Ill of course look for specific images of mechanical instruments, weaponry, clothes, etc.
A good set of references is as important as making sure that you do not simply copy them. References are there to help and inspire the artist, not to make the artist dependant on them.
You've done quite a lot of work for Fantasy Flight Games. Did you have an interest in the world of Games Workshop before this?
Actually yes, I've been playing WHFB and WH40K since I was 14 or so, which means about 18 years now. Also, I'm in love with most of the Horus Heresy novels.
Being a fan of Games Workshop it must have been a treat to have your work featured in an issue of White Dwarf! (check out November 2012's issue to hear what the White Dwarf team have to say about Aftermath)
Of course! Sadly, it's been ages since I last bought a White Dwarf and I knew about this thanks to a fellow deviant.
What kind of advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
Just to be humble and open minded. In this profession you must be always ready to learn from everything and everyone, and it's healthy to study both other digital artists, fantasy artists and old masters. Arts can be very frustrating sometimes, and endurance is something we artists have to develop, or we'd better start thinking about other ways to pay the rent.
Are there any particular companies you'd love to work with or projects you would love to contribute towards in the future?
Well, Games Workshop would be a lovely and pretty obvious option; Wizards of the Coast is also a personal goal, because of the thousands of hours I spent playing Magic: the Gathering, years ago.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today Diego. It's been great and we hope to see more of your awesome work in the future! Where can people find more of your work online?
My pleasure! I do keep some galleries, like here on Deviantart, and also a Blog and my Portfolio, and of course my deviantART!