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Interview with RockStar artist Aluísio Santos!

Riley Chen: Recently, you launched RockStar on Zuda, so I heavily congratulate you on that achievement! But first, let's ask you about comics. What got you interested in drawing them?

Aluísio Cervelle Santos: Thanks a lot! I'd like to first thanks to you and everyone who helped me achieve that, otherwise, nothing would have happened!  It feels great to have such friends that could help me turn the tides and conquer Zuda!

As for comics, it’s a long story:
When I was very little, I already liked, like every other boy, to create stories, and I liked doing mine with Lego. At one point I wanted to draw pages of that shit, but I was really unable to.

Riley: Haha Lego, that would definitely be an interesting medium to make comics in.

[float=right][/float]Aluísio: Then I kind of gave up on comics, and would only draw… until I found VOID. Finding VOID was a very funny thing on its own. I was searching for Megaman fanart and got stuck into SilverLimit's account, and there were his epic Speed Death entries and whatnot, and I was like, “Whhhhahh this is awesome!”

And since I always liked to draw, I thought that making pages would be one hell of practice…I mean, you get to draw around 5 poses in a page, 5 expressions. I was game, so I basically started making comics in VOID.

And yes, I should try comics with Lego sometime!

Riley: Ah, excellent answer!
Yes, SilverLimit must indeed be quite an influence, and drawing comics does take a lot of practicing. Would you say VOID's strict environment helped your work ethic in doing artwork and battles compared to if you were drawing projects without it?

Aluísio: That's for sure!
Using VOID's critiques to know what you need to get better at, and what should or shouldn't change was very helpful. Back then, an interesting factor was the much varied styles I'd come in contact too.

I mean, I always only read manga till then, and there were all sorts of artists in VOID, many of which were big influences to me, such as Jhosephine "Jinguj" Tanuwidjaya, Kumaru (who was my first opponent by the way), James "spikes" Stokoe and Pio "Monday" Canlas, who really made me want to draw stuff and improve always.

Another huge point of VOID is to teach you to deal with deadlines, which is like the most important factor in any working area. And of course, try to make something good within that deadline.

Riley: I agree with what you said, Aluísio. While VOID helps you iron out the right habits in preparation for the job industry, it is also big melting pot of various styles and genres, and you definitely named some excellent artists on VOID.

In fact, my next question was going to be who is your biggest artistic influences-- You have a very detailed and colorful style, no doubt about it!

Aluísio: Definitely, there are many people on VOID who influenced and still influences me. Those I mentioned earlier I think was more of a IMPACT thing. Other artists I love or grew to like are Sheldon "shelde5000" Vella, Priscilla "Perca" Piccin, King_Pong, Alberto "Ponbiki" Rios, Mark "Kure Ji Ori" Penman, Kozispoon, Anna "Squidman" Bowles, and of course yourself, who's totally my reference for when it comes to flashy stuff, haha.

As you can notice most of them are very ink focused, and it's something I really got to love during VOID. When I entered it, I had just gotten a tablet and wanted to do everything with it alone... until I met all those people, and learned that I could use the strengths of the pen allied to the colors I could get on the tablet.

Riley: Awesome, man. Some good choices up there, and thanks for the mention, I'm flattered. Ink does seem to be a major backbone of the artwork that happens in comics, without a doubt. Would you ever try a comic that was completely painted as a departure from the norm? You're definitely very proficient in doing lineless artwork.

Aluísio: I don't know... Maybe one or two years ago I'd still be able to, but I got really rusty with paintings haha. I did start something last year, but it's collecting virtual dust in my HD.

I still plan to get back on the saddle with painting though, but for more illustrative purposes.

Riley: It would be a pity if you stopped painting entirely, Aluísio! (though of course, I'm biased because I’m a painter.)

I'm not sure if you had mentioned this before elsewhere, but how long do you plan to run with RockStar? Do you have any future projects in mind?

Aluísio: Oh yeah. Well, right now since I own a contract with DC, RockStar will be on air for at least this coming December. If it receives public approval, it might be renewed again. For me, it works just like a game. As long as there's people wanting more of it, stories will come, I don't really have a story set in stone, so, if it ends now, it's fine, if it lasts 4 seasons, here we go!
 
I have plans to start a new comic too, still undecided on the model, but I've been thinking on having it as a webcomic, to keep people knowing about it, and reading too, and later published, to reach people with no net, or that aren't interested into webcomics, which unfortunately happens a lot!

Riley: In that case, I wish you luck with continuing the series for as long as possible! It does seem very promising.

A webcomic from you would be interesting to see, will it be drastically different from RockStar's Superhero-action genre?

Aluísio: Yeah, since I made Anthropos comics, I got to like to draw horror a lot, even if I couldn’t convey horror at all with those comics haha, so possibly something on that vein. Though I like over the top action a lot, so yeah, maybe one of those, though certainly not super-hero themed!

Riley: Some more horror-action from you would be quite awesome to see, Aluísio. It seems as though the VOID crowd was a huge fan of your Dr. Anthropos character back in SDT 2008, and comics back on VOID. Which character out of your three did you enjoy drawing for the most?

[float=right][/float]Aluísio: That's great to hear, since I had an awesome time participating in the Speed Death Tourney myself, even if it didn't turn out how I'd like, those were great times. I really like both Anthropos and Pothole, though maybe I'd have to say my fave is Pothole due to large range of comic styles I can attempt with him without changing the character a lot. Delanna, my first one was a nice test run, but I think she'd be a completely different character if I were to recreate her.

Oh yes, its worthy to mention Delanna was also an effort to draw better girls back then, haha, since I sucked hardcore at it.

Riley:  I think you've come a long way with improving since you first started off! Pothole is also a definite fan favorite amongst VOID.

Speaking of which, do you ever plan to return to the site and do battles again? RockStar must have your hands full, not to mention whatever outside job or university work you have to do.

Aluísio: Thanks a lot! I plan to always stay around, I still lurk a lot and try to post sometimes on the boards…if possible I might still do battles, though probably not something so time consuming such as a tourney. Personally I think tourneys should be done with people that are new, or recent, so to speak, to VOID, so that like it did to me, makes them evolve greatly. Or at least that was the impact I felt during SDT.

As for me battling, I'll make sure to do something I've been planning as soon as RockStar gets steady!

Riley: Great dude, I'm sure many people will be excited to see you battling again on VOID! Are there up-coming artists on that site that interest you in particular?

Aluísio:Lemme see, there's an artist especially that always makes me excited to read stuff, which is Mister Kent. His battles have this sharp light hearted mood, which is something I like, and he's been improving leaps and bounds each time a new Jane Blonde comic is up.
 
I liked that many old peoples that didn't battle when I was most active are back now, and it's a nice thing to see happening.

Riley: Ah, excellent to mention people that are still trying to work hard in VOID, Aluísio. Mister Kent must be pleased to hear that you take an interest in his work.

What is your artistic process, and coming up with stories?

Aluísio: Oh, let's see, it really varies on the amount of time available. I used to spend very little time thinking up stories, though I'd always want to try something surprising and still coherent. Nowadays it goes like this: I define how many pages I want this to fit into. Then I write up an outline somewhere, in my case a text editor, and then try to divide that outline into the amount of pages I need.

This one might be tricky, it works now because I have a good idea of how much story or action scenes I can fit into a single page. Divided the outline, I completely think over all phrases and leave all the wordy parts ready on script.

Now I make small thumbnails of the pages to see how the paneling will work. That's normally a general overview, because it might change as I see fit on the final shape.

Now the most fun and most painful part too: Drawing

I pencil with colored leads on Canson paper, and ink with Uni pin pens. Usually the bigger you draw, the better. If you aren't working on vector, or totally digital, always draw bigger than what you want to show; it allows for more details, and for better lineart quality.

After I'm done, scan stuff, and color, add panel borders, and balloons all on Photoshop, with the help of the trusty tablet!  
Riley: Very nice description of your process in there! How long does it typically take for you to make a page or an illustration-- And, do you prefer working traditional or digital?

Aluísio: A detailed page usually takes one day for lineart alone, and then varies on the coloring. While I opted for cell shading style, I guess I've gone too far on it sometimes haha, and can use up a whole day, sometimes. Especially with illustration.
So yeah, I like to keep a half-breed of traditional and digital!

Riley: Awesome to hear about it, Aluísio! All the time and effort you put into your work does really show. Do you have any last words to say to EnterVOID or anyone out there who could be probable readers for this interview?

Aluísio: Thanks again for reading, and for all the support ever since I started doing VOID comics and still up to today, with RockStar. If you're finding yourself in doubt about your own art, something I've learned is to not give up easily and to pursue your dreams! But dreams require strong dedication, so in the end it depends to how much are you determined to climb up! Stand up and shout! Practice hard, and keep steady on your track!

I hope you've enjoyed it too, and that if anyone still have questions, suggestions, love letters or death letters, send them my way on cervellesantos [at] gmail [dot] com

Riley: That's our Aluísio, folks. Give him a big round of applause for his rock hard determination and work ethic!

 
Added to portal: Airlight - Feb 22, 2010, 02:39 PM
 
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