5 Questions for Dacosta!

For this interview today, we have with us self-taught, multifaceted illustrator Dacosta!. He works at a design studio called Chocolate Soop that specializes in character IP development.

On 1 March 2014, he launched a Kickstarter campaign for his artbook called MARCH of ROBOTS! As the name suggest, it features robots, all designed by him and they are also appeared on his blog.

Check out his campaign at https://kck.st/Ng3Xyx

The campaign ends on 15 April 2014. There’s only a couple of days left to snag a signed copy of his artbook.

Qn: I read that you're very much influenced by Japanese culture, graffiti and industrial design. Can you elaborate a bit more about your influence? Did they in anyway contribute to your love for drawing robots?

Japanese culture: I grew up in the 80’s watching a LOT of Japanese animation. I spent countless hours in front of the TV absorbing it all. So many great shows to fuel the imagination. I so badly wanted a robot for a friend, someone like Astro Boy. I love the story lines and the way the Japanese structure narrative. Very different from Western story telling.

Industrial/product design opened my eyes to really thinking about purpose of form. Thinking in 3D ‘shaped’ my ideas, always pushing for the line that felt right. Syd Mead was and still is a huge pillar in my foundation. I could never tire of looking at his work.

…and Graffiti was all about the colour and the bold lines. Seeing the way different artist controlled letters, words is another form of expression that never fails to inspire.

Qn: Can you tell us about your design process?

For my personal stuff it’s really looking around at what I like. I look for inspiration online. Pinterest is my best friend these days. You have your choice of a myriad of rabbit holes to explore. I love discovering artist there, especially artist that have a drastically different style from mine. Studying the shape language they use. It’s like examining dialectic shifts from region to region.

Once I’ve had my momentary fill of inspiration it’s pretty much as simple as sitting down and scribbling on my Cintiq while listening to music which can be anything from classical - mainly Baroque, Jazz, DnB, Chiptune, Dubstep or Atmospheric Downtempo. It all depends on the mood and tone I’m feeling.

I work digitally so my process is flexible. I work through a piece in stages. Very loose forms first to get a feel for composition. Drop the opacity on that to 10%, add a new layer and refine the previous elements with each pass. I usually take a breaks at the between inking and colour.

Qn: What's the most challenging part to designing a robot?

Getting the right blend of cool with personality.

I’m not really into the hyper aggressive mecha laden with ordinance. My designs tend to land on the fun side of things. I think my stuff can live in the world’s of folks like Ishinomori Shotaro - (Cyborg009), Tezuka Osamu - Astro Boy) or anywhere in the multiverse of Mario, Sonic or Megaman Zero.

Qn: What are some of your favourite robots from popular culture? Why?

Hands down my top picks would have to be

Astro Boy - His passion, for life and desire for robots and humans to live and work together in equality is inspiring.

R2D2 - His personality is fantastic. He’s feisty, headstrong, a bit of a smart ass and loyal to the end.

WALL-E and Johnny 5 for their sense of wonder.

Qn: You have been in the creative industry for more than 18 years. What keeps you going? What advice do you have for new illustrators?

Build a picture of where you want to go with your life/art. It doesn’t have to be crystal clear, it’s more important you have an idea of what you want it to feel like. Always make moves that allow you to bring that feeling into focus.

Be relentless in your pursuits and work hard. Learning to use the tools is “easy”, but learning to use those tools to express your individual voice is where the real challenge lays. Make the art that makes you happiest.

Thanks. That's all from Dacosta! You can check out his artworks on his many websites:


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