Artist & Illustrator
Maurizio is certainly one of the most charming persons we've ever had the pleasure to -virtually- meet, and we're therefore delighted to reproduce the following thoughts shared by him on this gazette along with a rich collection of some of his fantastic "fantastic" works from the period 1998-2000. (see page bottom for a biographical note).
"With computer art in general, there is only a slight difference between digital markets and traditional markets. Artists should come to this field with a strong background in traditional media, for all of the skills required of traditional media illustration are employed equally in digital illustration. However, specific requests for game-design and production can include 3D animation, and digital compositing in addition to illustration ~ requiring use of various forms of input along with Photoshop-type art programs and 3D animation in several forms for compositing. To do any of that you definitely need a strong background in traditional media. Basic drawing skills and painting skills all directly transfer over into any form of digital illustration or digital compositing.
"Today, the most widely used
package in digital publishing, on both Macintosh and PC platforms,
is Photoshop, the number one software that any digital artist
should have experience in. Almost all of my editorial illustrations
have been realized with this magic software, generally without
filters, simply simulating traditional media, i.e. replacing
a brush with an optical pen and a canvas with a digitizer tablet.
For beginners Photoshop may be a little intimidating, but there
are other software packages that are a little easier to become
accustomed to the process of using software to create digital
images. You can use these entry-level products to get your feet
wet, but for the level of experience needed in the job market,
you definitely want to have Photoshop in your bag of tricks.
"People keep asking if it's fundamental to attend a big art school. I suggest you to attend schools that are not purely art schools, so that curriculum is structured for a more rounded education, and you can delve into classes unrelated to art. Artists are supposed to reinterpret the world, and you can't reach a broader audience if your whole experience and knowledge of the world is of nothing but academic art training: you never learn to see the world through different lenses. The biggest factor in picking a school for art is not about the school, but whether the person truly wants to be an artist.
"If you can afford art school (especially one that focuses on practical illustration rather than fine art), I would highly recommend it for three reasons: First, you will get used to people giving you art direction, which can be highly annoying at first. Second, you will meet people who have different points of view and talents than you do, and that can enrich your own work. The people that you meet in art school can inspire you to a higher level of work, and if they become art directors years later, they may hire you. Third, you will learn a set of practical skills. You'll know how to assemble a portfolio, use different media like airbrushes and computers that you might not have access to on your own, and you'll learn the jargon that all professions nurture.
"However, even if you can't afford to go, the best piece of advice I can give you is: take yourself seriously as an artist. Attitude is far more important than anything else. You must be willing to learn, and never stop learning. I have seen a lot of artists with top-rated education who could not ignite any passion in their viewers, and I've also seen artists with no formal training who could blow your doors off.
"Other advice: go to conventions. For me conventions offer one of the only times you get to talk to other artists and see old friends as well as meet other artists whose work one might have known, but whom one has never met. It's always good to talk to artists with different backgrounds and find out how much you have in common. Buy or check out books about artists in the fields you are interested in. Look at the magazines. Do your own illustrations for stories in renowned magazines. Collect the names and addresses of art directors, and send them stuff . Join any professional organization related to the area you are interested in it. Draw every day. Do the best work you can do, and don't give up !
"My very first editorial commission was for Interzone, an English magazine, back in 1994, and since then I've been doing scores of illustrations for professional magazines in the fantastic field. After a precious long interlude with studios in the advertising sector, everything started when I sat down in front of my old Mac and produced a portfolio inspired to the style of this English magazine. The art director replied by fax only six days after, saying that they wanted ABSOLUTELY to buy my Art. After an amazing change in the publication schedule, my cover appeared on the issue presented during the 1995 WorldCon in Glasgow. Interzone won its first Hugo Award as Best Magazine published in the fantastic field.
"Recently I've begun intriguing collaborations with American magazines too. It's weird to correspond with publishers by e-mail, to display your portfolio directly on your own website, to discuss online details about works-in-progress, to ship images on CD-Rom, and so on but it works very well indeed!
"I love digipainting. There are lots of artists using computers these days and I do get a lot of e-mail. Sometimes the market seems to slow down for a while, but there is always a cover for me. What's important is one's skill in tuning with these modern times, in accepting and integrating all these new tools with your previous experiences. It's rewarding to be part of an increasing international community of techno-professionals !"
The Digital Arts Studio
C.so Orbassano 191/28
10137 Torino (Italy)
fax (+39) 011 3271500