Sherry McCarty: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. We all really appreciate it.
Francisco Rico Torres: Oh, don’t worry, the pleasure is all mine, I don’t get the chance to be interviewed offen after all…
Sherry: First off, when, why, and how did you get into drawing? What were some of the first things you drew?
Francisco: I started drawing and painting when I was a kid, both of my parents and my elder brother are into the artistic gig so my house was always full of paper, pencils, markers, brushes and so on… I think I started drawing just because it was a normal thing to do in my family.
As far as I can remember, the first things I drew, like many other kids, were my toys. I was a huge G.I. Joe fan in my childhood (and I still am!) so my most early drawings are full of crude depictions of G.I. Joes figthing Cobra soldiers.
Sherry: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why? How about now?
Francisco: When I was a child I wanted to be a sciencist because most super heroes are men of science and/or their powers are related to some experiment gone wrong. Later, I realized that I sucked at everything except for drawing, so I decided to become a comic book artist so I could draw super heroes instead of becoming one. I know that it sounds pretty stupid, but because of that I studied fine arts and now I’m working as a freelance artist, not exaclty in comics but in illustration, so you could say my life today is the result of my early love for Spider-Man. Wich is pretty sad if I think about it.
Now that I’m an adult, what I want to do when I get older is the same that Im doing now but bigger and better (Im crossing my fingers for it).
Sherry: Who are your influences?
Francisco: When I was a teenager my greatest influences were some such as the spanish comic book artist and illustrator Alfonso Azpiri, fantasy illustrators like the good old Joe Jusko and the great great Frank Frazetta, and some comic book artists like the amazingly talented Alan Davis or the legendary John Buscema. When I was in university I discovered many other great artists, like the spanish painters from the 19th century Federico de Madrazo and Jose Casado, the british pre-rafaelites, Alphonse Mucha, Norman Rockwell, Gil Elvgren and more recent artists such as Drew Struzan, Karl Kopinski or Adam Hughes… I’d be happy if I just had a little bit of the talent those masters have.
Sherry: What do you create with? Any advantages or disadvantages one has over another?
Francisco: I used to paint with oils, back in the day my tools were brush, board and oil paint.
Now I’m really into digital painting, because it’s faster, cheaper and has a lot of possibilities, the only flaw of digital painting is that you haven’t got left the “original work” like in traditional painting, which is a bit frustrating when it comes to selling your art or doing exhibitions…
Anyway, I still enjoy painting with oils from time to time.
Sherry: If you could only draw one thing for the rest of your life what would it be? Why?
Francisco: That one’s easy. Women.
I love painting portratis, its what I enjoy most, and specially female portraits.
The female figure and all the mystic around her has been a recurrent theme through all art history, I think it’s because women are the most common manifestation of beauty.
It’s always a challenge to capture a bit of that beauty in my paintings, and it’s always fun.
Sherry: Is Fantasy a major influence of yours? What sort of fantasy elements do you enjoy drawing? What sort are you less eager to tackle?
Francisco: Fantasy is not really an influence to me, it’s more of a theme I like to work with some times. Some other times I paint fantasy stuff just because I’m commissioned to do so.
I like fantasy, but not all fantasy, I’ve got my own ideas of how a fantastic enviroment or characters should be. I enjoy creating fantasy characters, because I’ve got to imagine who they are, what do they do, where do they live and reflect it on their outfits, on their faces, on their gear… I also like to do some research, to look for pictures of real old armour, swords, clothes and stuff to get fresh ideas for my own concepts.
In the other hand I don’t like “cliche fantasy” such as colorfull dressed elves, guys in ridiculously ornated armors who shouldn’t even be able to move, and that kind of stuff.
Sherry: What are your hobbies? What do you do to relax? To get motivated to start drawing?
Francisco: My main hobby is painting, so most times when I’m not painting for money I’m painting for fun. But when I need a break I usually just go out with my friends, watch some movies or read comics… I was really into Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop strategy games years ago, I haven’t got enough time for that now, but when I get a chance I like gathering my frends and playing. I’m also a true metalhead, so when the situation allows it, I love going to some hard rock/heavy metal festivals or concerts…
When I need motivation to paint, there is nothing better than looking at the masters’s work. I’ve got thousands of images on my computer and art books to look for inspiration. I’ve also got a lot of friends who are illustrators too, so talking to them and watching their fabulous work is also a good way to get motivated. And sometimes just the beauty of real world is enough to put my brain to work.
Sherry: How do you know when a piece is “done” – when adding even one more line would be too many?
Francisco: Oh, that´s tricky… Knowing when a piece is finished is really important, and difficult at the same time. Sometimes a painting works better with rough brush strokes and sometimes with realistic look and lots of details, it depends on the image itself, so I try to rely on my instinct. Anyway, when it comes to work, most publishers want everything detailed and polished, so there is no choice…
Sherry: Do you find it easier to draw men or women? Why?
Francisco: I think that men are as easy or as difficult to paint as women, but maybe I find a bit easier to paint women because I enjoy it more, and when you enjoy something the result is always better.
Sherry: What character would you love to have the chance to work on?
Francisco: Im a big fan of comics, so I love a lot of comic book charaters, doing illustrations for Spider-Man, Conan, Judge Dreed, Thor or She-Hulk, to name just a few, it would be a blast.
Being able to say “Im a small part of Sipder-Man history” would be amazing.
It’s next to impossible, but It would also be awesome to have the chance to paint (oficially) one of Alfonso Azpiri´s characters, like Mot or Lorna, because of the great impact that his work had on my when it was younger
Sherry: When looking at other’s art, do you prefer realism, more of a comic look, anime/manga, or cartoonish works? Do you think this preference affects your work?
Francisco: Good work is always good work. I really don’t care about the style too much if the painting or the drawing looks good.
In my paintings I’m always struggling between a realistic look and a comic look, I try to keep it balanced, but I can’t always achieve it, so the final result goes more in one or another direction…
Sherry: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to improve as an artist?
Francisco: My advice is to work and practice every day, is the only way to improve.
It’s also very very important to be self critical, to always think why do you do what you do, and to observe and study the work of those who are better than you. Try to learn from them as much as you can, and I don’t mean just your three or four favorite artists, try always to drink from diferent influences otherwise you may get stuck. From the 15th century to our days, there have been thousands of outstanding artists that you may never discover if you don’t look for them.
Sherry: Thank you very much for answering these questions! It is greatly appreciated!
Francisco: My pleasure!
Full Article: Creative End.