Interview with Ivan de Andrés González

Ivan de Andrés González is a creatively-talented all-rounder who writes, plays music and draws; and whose recent image The Cannibal is heading straight for the Best Character award in this month's gallery.


Ivan de Andrés González is a creatively-talented all-rounder who writes, plays music and draws; and whose recent image The Cannibal is heading straight for the Best Character award in this month's gallery.

Ivan de Andrés González's The Cannibal image has amassed (at the time of writing) 238 votes in the space of a couple of weeks, and sits at 4 and a half stars. In line to win Best Character, we thought we'd catch up with the creator of this sinister being and ask him a few questions.

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Ivan de Andrés González: Hi! I first want to thank you for your interest. Im very grateful to the people whove supported my work on The Cannibal especially my family, friends and everyone at Spanish Modellers. Youre the greatest!

I've been working in the videogame industry for about 15 years now, and Ive managed to get 6 titles onto the market. My last job was as head of textures and shaders for the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 game. Im currently working at Mercury Steam in Madrid, where Im surrounded by people full of talent. Kiko Gutierrez, Edu Ledesma, Javi Lopez, Aitor Fius, just to name a few.


3dt: Tell us about your image The Cannibal. Was it a challenge to create? What inspired it?

IAG: My main purpose with The Cannibal was to learn new techniques that I could apply in my everyday work. I wanted to find out what level of fine detail I needed on the faces and how Polypaint in ZBrush would enable me to achieve a realistic finish. When I was thinking up the basic theme, I remembered I always liked the sinister old man in Poltergeist 2. So I took him as a starting point. The most complicated thing was some issues I had with scale, but Ill tell you about that in more detail in a tutorial I'm writing for The Cannibal.

3dt: Tell us the story behind your artwork in general: What brought you into the digital art world and what software do you use?

IAG: I guess I've always had that creative drive. I began with writing poetry and short tales. I got some of them published in university magazines, and some of my poems got included in poetry collection books. At about that time, I got interested in music and put a band together with some friends. I was the main songwriter, and this is still one of my passions. Take a look at Furiodrama if youre curious. I didnt get into 3D till much later on. The band broke up, so I started looking around for something I could do independently, and which would still enable me to tell my stories. So I started making short films with trueSpace, and little by little got totally hooked on it. At the moment, the software Im mainly using is 3ds Max, Photoshop and ZBrush.


3dt: How did you learn to paint digitally?

IAG: When I started out, I was absolutely self-taught. When I saw that I loved it enough to make it my profession, I left university and started to work in a video club. With the money I earned there, I could afford to go to a 3D school. 3D schools were very technical at that time. Mostly they taught the structure of different programs, and where you could find each function, but not much more than that. Soon after, I was lucky enough to get a job in one of the best game companies in my country at that time. There I met some great people, who I learned a lot from. Just imagine: I was working closely in a team with people like Luis Calero Serrano of ILM, Juan Jose Palomo of BigLazyRobot, and Jose Manuel Oli of Blue Sky Studios. Could there ever be a better school than that?

Obviously, in this world youve got to be on your toes all the time, investigating and researching, watching tutorials to see how other people use your tools, learning about new programs, things like that.


3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

IAG: Weve got to be clear about this. Having a good portfolio is directly proportional to the hours youve spent on it. Whatever great artist you admire worship, even in 3D, 2D, or music, or any other art, hasnt got there just by being talented. Above all, it's because theyre passionate about what they do and are able to make sacrifices for their passion. In the end it comes down to work, work and more work. It depends on you whether it's worth the effort or not. In fact, if you do ever wonder whether it's worth it, youve already found the answer. If you feel the need to improve, learn and evolve, and especially to create, then you have the key to achieving your goals.

Also, youve got to try to develop and expand your own world; I mean, the Orcs are cool, but there are more things out there.

One last thing: I know it's hard for all artists, but at some point you have to let go of your projects and hand them over. There are a thousand things I dont like about The Cannibal, but that's okay; you take the time to think about what you could have done better and you do it great in your next project. But dont get stuck in an eternal process of polishing and perfecting. Are you proud of your work? Does it show what youre capable of? Then hand it over. Itll never be 100% perfect. Youll always find something wrong.

Dont leave your work unfinished. Finish everything you start, and get on with your next project.

There will come a time when you look back and see your progress in terms of your whole career not a collection of broken parts.


3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

IAG: I love the German Romantics: Friedrich, Böcklin (my homes full of his paintings), and Im still knocked sideways by the French Symbolists. Theyre super-modern, even by today's standards. Of course, Symbolism paintings are accompanied by Rimbaud, a teaspoon, sugar, a bit of water and a little green fairy. I cant forget Mucha and Art Nouveau.

With contemporary digital artists I just get lost, although I keep seeing amazing work every time I enter a virtual gallery.


3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

IAG: I'm learning MARI: one of the best thought-out programs I've ever worked with. Im also learning Maya, V-Ray and NUKE. I love cinema, and wouldnt mind changing industries at some point in my career.

3DT: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?

IAG: To be honest, it is complicated. I'm obsessive with details, and I usually stop when my heads about to explode! Many times I find myself at 3am hooked up to the computer via the phone to see the last render Ive finished, to check how it looks. I also stop when my little 2-year-old comes into my studio to pull my leg, as he says with his sweet little voice, Daddy, street! I love riding bikes with my eldest son while he tells me his things. I love going to the movies with my wife (when the kids let us). That's the important part of my life that manages to take my mind off work. Other activities that I love, and which I do to forget about everything else, are my fencing club (I use the sabre, of course; the other weapons are for wimps!), my motorbike and my rock project. Above all else my wife. Shes my tower of strength.

3DT: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take, and why?

IAG: Id love to be able to look after my children: keep them away from the bad things in the world, and see how they grow up healthy and happy, being good people. By the way, Id also love to have the power to know where the speed cameras on the road are, so I could concentrate on being happy with my bike!

Related links

For more from Ivan, check out his site
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