Discovering talented people from our own city is something that never ceases to amaze us! This week we have Leo.
Leo: Ola, my name is Leo and I was born in a small city called Săveni (it’s more like a Winterfell but not from Westeros, from Romania).
I’m currently live in Iași where I work as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator. I’m also a second-year ph. D. Student at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology from the same town. Besides design and illustration, I love my wife, comics, video games, books, movies… and the list continues.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Leo: I had a very fun childhood, was always surrounded by toys and colored pencils. I wasn’t a big fan of sports, the only thing that I enjoyed in this direction was playing badminton whit my dad or my friends.
Because of this, I had a plenty of time for drawing, or better said, doodling on gridded math paper, various types of planes (was a big F16 fan), cars (NFS: Underground influence), and of course, Batman, Spider-Man and the rest of the Marvel and DC superhero team. When I wasn’t doodling, I watched a lot of cartoons. I was very fascinated and tried to redraw every Cartoon Network character.
The sad part is that I didn’t liked to keep the drawings, but still, my grandma managed to save some from the kinder garden period and stock them in a dossier. After my 4th grade, I discovered the fascinating world of video games. After this, I didn’t draw that much as before but my creativity got better. Maybe the cartoons and video games influenced me the most in who I am today as a creative.
Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?
Leo: First I wanted to be a Power Ranger, that was until I got 5 or 6 years old. Later, after I have discovered Counter-Strike, I wanted to be a part of the special forces, the S.A.S. or the S.W.A.T. Team. Later, when I was in high-school and started a rock band as a lead guitar and singer, guess what!? I wanted to be a rockstar! I still didn’t quit dreaming on this…haha.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Leo: Although I’m a huge gadget fan, my workstation isn’t that amazing. I still got my old PC Desktop (i5 6600k, 32 GB Ram, GTX 1050, 2xSSD, 1xHDD) which needs some video card upgrade and a new CPU, thinking on switching to a Ryzen platform.
The best part is that I have kind of three workstations, depending on what project I need to work. For the bigger ones I work on my PC, for the smaller ones I use my laptop (Acer Nitro 5, a very powerful machine but poor display) and for the illustrations I work on my 11” iPad Pro 2017 (Procreate beeing my weapon of choice).
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Leo: I tend to switch my work style a lot. I always try to experiment with new styles and search for better ways of doing illustration. You can see a big influence from comics and cartoons.
A few years ago I loved to draw only in black ink, this harsh medium that allows no mistakes. Jake Parker’s Inktober had a big impact on me as an illustrator. Now, I enjoy drawing and illustrating in a simpler way, with vibrant colors and as clean as possible.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Leo: It starts with an idea that get’s written or drawn in my sketchbook. If it’s a good one, I take a photo of the sketch with my phone, send it on my PC and then work on it in Adobe tools, or Procreate if I decide to use my iPad. It’s the classic way, I guess.
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Leo: Tough question. Usually, artists say that their more recent work is the best. If I have to choose, I would say that my favorite one is Princess Leia that was inked and colored with grey tone Copic markers on a special blank cover Star Wars comic, as a commission for a friend. I was very excited for the opportunity to draw on a real Marvel comic, Star Wars beeing my favorite Sci-Fi universe.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Leo: I follow a lot of Youtube artists and also watch a lot of tutorials on the Skillshare platform. If I take a short look on my subscribed list, I see names like James Raiz, Jazza, Proko, Jake Parker, Stoica Alex, Mark Crilley and Ryan Puntham.
Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Leo: Always be creative!
Subsign: If you would have a superpower, what would it be?
Leo: The power to stop time, so I can learn all the Adobe tools! Hehe. Don’t know what power would I choose, maybe the one that could finally made me a Power Ranger?
Subsign: Can you recommend for our readers a book, a song, and a movie?
Leo: Does a comic book count as a “book”? In this case I would recommend Judas by Jeff Loveness, the song would be Twenty One Pilots – Chlorine, and the movie Life Itself (2018).
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Leo: Hmm… I think it would be a party where I could sing once more with my high-school band mates (cheers Emi!). We had some crazy fun songs. I guess it would be for good times and friendship.
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Leo: Definitely I would invite James Hetfield (he is a childhood hero), Jean Giraud “Moebius” (he is a comics-art hero), Jason Momoa (because my wife, haha), Mark Hamill (because of Star Wars), Steve Jobs (I like Apple products) and Ed Sheeran (so I can sing with him). The list would be bigger but I don’t think my house can fit everybody!
Thank you Leo for being a part of our Spotlight!
If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.