Since Mika joined our humble team alongside Ionut Mitrofan and Ameur Makloufi on the ETERNALS project its been nothing short of joy in the VX family! Mikael is a talented digital artist of incredible detail and finesse, he has grown and worked in this industry for over a decade from the sizzling culture of Brazil.
He has a strong passion for the African – Caribbean culture. religions and society which burst out ferociously through his work and thats exactly how we fell in love with him!
Sharing A Coffee with Mika’
• Hi Guys, Tell us about your inspiration that drove you into art (How did it start) and also about your career so far, projects you’ve worked on etc.
My family has always supported me since the beginning. My mother worked for many decades as a painter and painting teacher, so I grew surrounded by her books, paintings, brushes. When I went to college, I picked a course that was related to art, Advertising, having graduated in 2009. My career has started many years ago with the internships I did and small projects art related, more or less in 2006. From 2010 to 2015 I worked in an advertising illustration studio called Fescher Neoilustração in my hometown, where I was responsible for the 3D area and many projects. Since then, I have been freelancing. I also received an invitation to be part of the artists’ gallery of the Yoruba inspired comic “Contos de Òrun Àiyé”, by the good friend Hugo Canuto, where I did my version of Yemoja.
• Who inspires you to push the boundaries like you do in illustration
Many people. Specially my family and girlfriend. Many artists out there inspire me, not only in my field, but also in writing, filmmaking, audio and music, game designs. Some names: Mike Mignola, H. R. Giger, Arthur C. Clarke, J. R. R. Tolkien, Stan Winston, the list goes on forever. I think that stories and artists that strive for originality and depth always inspire me, because those are some of my main pillars.
• What have been the biggest challenges you faced as an illustrator
The biggest challenges have been to stay motivated and to always keep on studying. Also to find jobs and learn how to network and connect to people.
• What have been your most memorable projects and why
A good memorable project was one I did when I worked at the studio, back in 2012. I was learning V-Ray (a 3D renderer) and we needed to make an illustration about a pesticide for BASF company. It required the whole team working on it for many weeks while constantly learning and testing. In the end it came out fantastic and earned many prizes. Besides that, several of my personal projects have many years, some about 10 on the road, and you really get attached to them because they are part of who you are. My “Grey Days” project is one of these.
• Have you created any characters of your own? (If yes tell us more, if no why?)
Yes, several. I have always loved traditional roleplaying games, this year it mark 20 years since I played the first time. So I have created many characters I have played and several more as a game master. World building and character creation are some of my favorite hobbies.
• Your advice to young illustrators out there
Always keep learning, especially the foundation (drawing, observational skills, gesture, anatomy). Don’t give up, just keep pushing without giving it much thought, like a kid. Surround yourself with like-minded people, preferably with those better than you. Work your portfolio remembering where you want to be and what you want to do. Your portfolio needs to be treated like a store, show what you can offer. And don’t be frightened to show your work and connect to people – that is extremely important!
“This is an Original Mikael piece which we have shared rights to using as the costume for Yemoja and also at displays at our exhibitions round the globe”!
• Tell us about your art process!
First thing I do is to do a good research. I mean a really good research, not only in Google or websites but also in books, magazines, games and films. I really like to know about what I am going to depict, so I study deep, not only images, but the subject matter. Then, I usually do pencil or Photoshop studies. I have been more and more using 3D in all parts of the pipeline, so sometimes I also make 3D sketches in ZBrush or 3ds Max and take them to Photoshop. Depending on what’s needed, I do color variations too. Once the design is established and approved by the client, I proceed to the final version. It is extremely important to work from macro to micro, working the whole design and shapes before going to detailing and minor things, such as textures, highlights, etc. I show my process in my website and blog – www.mikaelquites.com
• What was your favorite cartoon / comic growing up and what are they now?
I didn’t have THE favorite cartoon/comic, but here are some of them: cartoons – Ren & Stimpy, Batman – The Animated Series, comics – Spawn, Lobo. My favorite cartoon nowadays is still Ren & Stimpy and also Samurai Jack. As for comics, definitely Hellboy/ B.P.R.D. and also Harrow County.
Thats all folks hope you enjoyed and got enlighten by the interview with Mika, stay tuned for all the juicy gist on the VX and also keep your eyes peeled for the next ETERNALS comic release announcement!