Today we have a special surprise for our Fuel Brand Network team (illustration below) because of this extremely talented Illustrator, Ricardo Gimenes. We saw his new project ‘Behind the Website’ and thought it was such a unique idea. We love great ideas and thought this would be a awesome interview to get ‘Behind Ricardo’ and show his talents off. He currently lives in São Paulo, Brazil.
Tell us about your new project, ‘Behind the Website’.
This project will illustrate what people think about some websites. Everyweek (day) a new illustration will come up here. Be part of it and let me know what you think about ‘Behind the Website’.
Did you go to school for Illustration or are you self-taught?
Both. I`ve been studying since I was thirteen. I later graduated in Art and Communication from the Panamericana School of Art and Design in São Paulo. More recently I have taken courses in Digital Cinema and Art Direction. Besides that, I have learnt quite a lot of computer skills myself, like Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, etc.
Do you work Full Time or Freelance?
Free as a bird!
How did you get started in art and illustration?
Ever since I was young boy, I liked to draw. My dream was to draw the Coca-Cola truck. However, at the time my drawing skills weren’t great, so my mom enrolled me to take drawing lessons. I was thirteen at the time and I spent 6 months learning how to draw circles, animals, mouth, hands, light and shadows… but no Coca-Cola truck. I continued for the next 3 years, during which time I learned basic paste-up skills for commercial ads. It was 1991 and I didn’t have a computer yet. It was also around that time that I really got into copying cartoon characters like Turma da Monica, a creation of Mauricio de Souza, one of the most famous Brazilian cartoonists.
I think my interest in drawing started with examples I had at home. My mom has always painted portraits… and my sister, she was like an art ninja, painted everything from nails to T-shirts and art crafts.
You have initiated a lot of your own illustration projects. How does this compare (pros/cons) to clients commissioning you to do work?
To be honest I can hardly distinguish work from leisure. I’m very comfortable working with the two models. I try to make a job fun. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a client brief or from my own head, because in the end both will have my style.
What is your favorite type of commercial project and why?
It is a teaser movie to an epic book called GOAT (Greatest of All Time) – A Tribute to Muhammad Ali, published by Taschen.
I was living in London at the time and I had been out with some friends. When I came back home late at night, I found a Taxi driver standing at my door with a message for me. I realized that my mobile phone battery was flat – so my friend, Julius Wiedemann, Editor in Charge at Taschen in Cologne, Germany, had called for a taxi and asked the driver to wait for me to arrive to deliver the message to call him back as soon as possible. I did so and Julius told me that I had a flight booked at 7am in the next morning to Frankfurt, where I would prepare a movie presentation about the Muhammad Ali book at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which would be shown at 5pm. So we worked very hard and at 5pm the movie to the book launch was ready. People liked it a lot and at the end of the day I came back very satisfied for making such a good job to a very tight deadline… and I even got to meet Muhammad Ali in person. Sometimes the events surrounding the job become more important than the job itself.
What would you tell young illustrators trying to break into the business?
Practice, practice and practice again. Don’t worry about finding your own style quickly. It will happen naturally by practicing. Expose yourself! Send your artwork to magazines, sites, blogs, etc. Make your own website or blog. Finally, even if a job seems to be boring, try to learn and see the positive side of it. As Eric Idle says, “Always look on the light side of life.” And if possible, go abroad and experience different cultures.
Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?
Definitely Arthur de Pins. His illustrations are fantastic… amazing drawings; sexy and funny … a master of shading.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Bookshops. I can easily spend a whole day inside a book shop just with a coffee; and, of course, reading my daily feeds.
What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
Adobe, Apple, Wacom… and, of course, the Internet.