Monday, March 8, 2010

Carlos Castellanos - Cartoonist Survey #92

Carlos Castellanos has been working as an illustrator and cartoonist for over 20 years. He loved drawing as a little kid and has fond memories of his dad drawing cartoons for him. He started freelancing in 1981 while still in school. As an illustrator he has produced work for numerous clients including, the Florida Marlins, KFC, Men’s Fitness magazine, Domino’s Pizza, Time Warner and Consumer Reports. Carlos is also the co-creator of the nationally syndicated newspaper comic strip Baldo. Launched in April of 2000, Baldo features Latino characters and themes. It was created by Carlos and his friend Hector Cantu and is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate in over 200 newspapers. In addition to the strip Carlos still does illustration work for book publishers, magazines, corporate clients and ad agencies. He lives in Florida with his wife, three boys and their doggy, Jet. Stop by his website and then visit the Baldo Comics blog.

What is your favorite pen to use?
I like using a brush. Winsor Newton series 7 sable brush.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I mostly sketch directly on the computer using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet. When I do sketch on paper, any pencil or ballpoint pen will do, I kinda use what ever I have available, standard or mechanical.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I do most my coloring on the computer in PhotoShop.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Bicycles. I hate drawing bicycles. Did I mention I hate drawing bicycles?

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
Websites and physically going to the store. I love walking around the art store. Now if they would only include an art supply isle at Home Depot, I could kill two birds with one stone.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Get a signed contract and a deposit.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Yes. I listen to just about everything, except country. Other than that I listen to it all at one point or another, classical, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, you name it.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I read Mad magazine, a lot of Marvel comics in the mid 70’s. Some favorite titles include Thor, The Hulk, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Conan the Barbarian. My absolute favorite one though was the B/W issues of ‘The Savage Sword of Conan’ drawn by John Buscema and inked by Alfredo Alcala, Those were amazing! I never really read comic strips until Bloom County came along.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Bloom County followed only by Calvin and Hobbes.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
‘The Five Chinese Brothers’. Yes I do.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I received about 8 months of art training from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Blessing for sure!!

Did either of your parents draw?
My dad used to draw cartoons for me. But he didn’t do for a living or anything like that.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
I’ve been very lucky in that everyone around me has always been very supportive of my art, with the exception of my third period math teacher in high school.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, and still do. It’s one of the most emotionally rewarding art activities I do. I wish I had the time to do it on more a consistent basis. Besides it gets me out of my studio. I hate having to sit for so many hours. I like being more active.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion for sure.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect my kids old discarded toys and put them in my office. Also books, I love books.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?

Are you a righty or lefty?

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
I would work in the fitness industry, have my own gym, be a personal trainer, and run a mixed martial arts school.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Cluttered. Surrounded by Post-it notes, Two white boards hanging on the walls with tons of notes and ideas to take action on. Shelves full of art and marketing books. Toys and trinkets on shelves and a few posters on the wall of Sponge Bob, Fairly Odd Parents and Spider-Man.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No. But I always wanted to be able to play the guitar. Just don’t have the patients to learn. I want to be able to play like Santana, right away, without the learning curve.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Practice, practice, practice. Figure out what’s important to you. Write down the things you’re passionate about. The things you want most to accomplish. Envision your career the way you dream of it 3, 5, 10 years out, what does it look like? What kind of lifestyle do you WANT to have? How much money do you want to earn? What kind of people do you want to work with? What kind of work do you want to produce? What kind of problems do you want to help people solve? Then deliberately put the things you need into place to achieve your goals. Take massive action on everything that needs to happen, from market selection, style and reasons for doing what you do.

The more clear you are on WHAT you do, WHY you do it and WHO you do it for, the more success you are likely to experience.

Who is your favorite artist?
I don’t really have a favorite. I like different artists for different reasons.

Thank you Carlos!

Cartoonist, artist and musician Jonathan Lemon shares his answers next.


Swikan said...

I adore Carlos Castellanos and "Baldo" and this interview is tops.

Thanks to both of you for a great read!

David said...

Thank you for the kind words Swikan!

carlos castellanos said...

David, quite an entertaining read this site. Thank you for the opportunity to participate. It was a real privilege for me.

Samantha, I love you too. : )