23 Feb 2015
If you know us a bit, you could guess that we were eager to interview Ramon Mascaros. Ramón is one of our first customers, and a great artist that works on illustration, 3D modelling, character development and a bunch of things more. He currently works at Frame Over Studio, where he also teaches at the studio's owned school, Primer Frame. One of the latest 3D projects Ramón worked on was virtually reviving George Harrison for this music video
How did did the road began for you to get into illustration and 3D art?
I began purely as a painting artist, and focused on producing paintings, portraits, and making my way through exhibitions, contests and competitions. But I always had an interest on technology, and as a hobby of sorts I learnt about digital creation methods, including 3D modelling. Actually, the first proper job I got (through Leonardo Grant Program) was on the 3D industry, and I learnt a lot about the sector there.
When the crisis struck, I got to seriously re-think what I wanted to be and what I always was. I realized that I always had been doodling characters and I decided to focus on that, from character concept to their 3D sculpting. I didn't know back then if I would be able to make a living out of it, but I slowly discovered an exciting new world.
You moved from doing freelance projects to work on a studio and now teaching on a animation and modelling school. How was this journey? What did you learn from each stage?
As a freelance, I learnt to challenge myself and keep working even if I didn't got client projects, just to attain visibility and keep myself active. When you work on a bigger team, challenges come by themselves and that teaches you to finish every kind of job, even if you are not totally happy with it. I see this as a great way to becomer more efficient and going out from your comfort zone.
I have to admit that being a teacher has surprised me a lot. I ended doing it as a bit of an accident, but I have learnt way more teaching that when I was studying myself! There's quite a difference between knowing something to use it and knowing it to teach it.
This world gets bigger and more complex everyday, and you alone cannot get over much. It is not imperative to be in a team or group, but being connected to other professionals for help, ideas and support is what I value most nowadays.
What role does social media and personal projects play for you when trying to build a personal brand?
I think social media is a must, it is the easiest way to make yourself visible around the world. It may not be the only way, but it is the most affordable for sure. Wether you are looking for clients or willing to work at a studio, you have to sell your product, and that product is you! I was once told that you need to work a lot, but also to make that work visible.
Personal projects will allow you to show your skills before having comissions, they will keep you active and, most importantly, you will shape the image you want to communicate. This will attract more paid projects and comissions related to your personal work: you will be shaping the market to your skills, and not be shaped yourself for the market (at least, not so much!).
What good (and bad) things do you feel the Internet and the new technologies have brought to the illustrator profession?
I'm very fond of technology, I've made my way far and fast with Internet and the democratization of tools it brought. Internet gives you access to instant information, new tools, trends or inspiration sources. It can make you more independent as a professional, giving you a distribution and communication channel.
But the same thing can be a disadvantage: there's so much information that it can be difficult to make yourself remarkable. There's not a lack of information, but disinformation because of the excess of it. News last shorter each time, you need to create more content to be truly relevant, but your audience also expects quality.
And last, but not least: any advice for aspiring illustrators just starting up their careers?
I don't think I'm good at giving advices, but I will try! There are no magic tricks: pick up an idea, ask yourself what you really want to achieve (this is a difficult) and let everything you do get yourself closer to that goal. Don't dispair, this is a an endurance race. If you don't fight for your dreams someone else will. You probably are who you want to be already, so let the world know. First is knowing what you want to do, second is realizing who you are already, and third is working to make it.
Thanks a lot, Ramon!
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