Science Fiction & Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Angel Alonso

Born in San Sebastian, Spain, Angel Alonso—known on DeviantArt as Angelitoon—fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at an early age. Following in the footsteps of influential artists such as Frank Frazzeta, Juan Gimenez, and Oscar Chichoni, he began studying drawing and painting. At twenty, he began working professionally as an illustrator and comic cartoonist, before co-founding Dibulitoon Studio. There he began concentrating on animation productions for film and television, working with Warner Bros, Disney, and Universal Studios on films such as Batman and The Lost World. He has worked with everything from preproduction (artistic director, storyboards, conceptual design) to 2D/3D production (animation, modeling, matte paint) and even post production (compositing and effects). Today he balances working with major studios productions, developing original award-winning films, and creating digital art.

Moon WaterMany people don’t fully understand the creation of digital art. Could you explain the process by which Moon Water was created?

This image uses several techniques for its creation, but in principle, all the elements of the image were created in 3D. There is a previous design, the elements I want to start creating, all in function to a general idea. From that idea, I develop designs, ships, buildings, environments, etc, and then render them in 3D, adding all the extra elements, details, and textures.

I prepare each element separately, and eventually make the final composition in 2D, using Photoshop. It is in this final phase, where I combine the different elements—the atmosphere, lighting, effects—to merge in a harmonious and coherent composition.

When you approach a project, do you have a fully formed image in your head of what you want to create, or do you start with a small idea and expand upon it until you feel the work is complete?

There is no one way of working. Each case is unique. Sometimes I have a clear idea from the beginning that I just need to slowly develop. At other times, however, I start a project by generating all the surrounding images, down to the final idea. There is a lot of improvisation in this case.

Computers have changed our lives in dramatic ways, including the ability to create stunning artwork. Do you believe artists need to first learn how to draw and paint in the traditional way, before moving to digital art?

I think it’s absolutely necessary. Undoubtedly, the computer makes a big difference, but art is not magically resolved. If you have no basis on which to work, your projects will probably never become great. Some artists base their work alone on the program they use. Without a doubt, the results are quite poor and very limited.

In much of your work, light and darkness have significant meaning. Is this a conscious exploration of the two extremes? Or is this your inner Caravaggio speaking out?

I’ve been a painter and illustrator for many years, and used many different techniques. No doubt my base as a traditional painter has greatly influenced the way I do my digital art. Light, shadows, and atmosphere are all part of my essential work. I don’t like all the cold and artificial images that some artists are creating with the computer. I try to stay away from it, by using the resources I have from my experience.

Metal seems to play an important role in your work—from spaceships to creatures to humans. What attracts you to using metal in such prominent ways?

I was born in a village, next to an industrial port full of cranes, trains, and large piles of old rusty iron. For years I have drawn much attention to the textures of metals, the erosion, the grime, dirt … all this information has always been in my paintings, my drawings, and my digital images. And it will continue to be. It’s something that I love …

What gives you the most joy: the birth of the idea for a picture, the process of creating the picture, or the finished product?

Each part has its magic. The conception of the idea is like an explosion of adrenaline. The process of creation is perhaps something more mechanical. Creative, but condemned to technical aspects and development. And seeing the final image is a great feeling of satisfaction, and a moment to relax and enjoy the end result.

Are there any artists, past or present, who you have found particularly inspiring?

Many artists have influenced me in many different genres, from comics, film, and illustration, to music and photography. I could not name one. But perhaps what made me get more involved in the development of my artistic work, were the authors of the comic from the 80’s and 90’s. I learned from them then. And still do today.

How do you think art will be created in ten, fifty, one hundred years in the future?

The computers have changed the way of making art in general. I think nobody knows where this evolution will lead …

Do you have any new projects that you’re working on that you’d like to announce?

I am returning to my origins. I started in the world of comic art and I am slowly returning to it. I’m working on a comic project at this time (scifi). But developed with new tools, using the media and techniques that we know today. I think it will be very interesting to see the final result.

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Caleb Jordan Schulz

Caleb Jordan SchulzCaleb Jordan Schulz is a writer, illustrator, and nomad, currently finding himself in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His fiction can be found in Subversion, Scape, Crossed Genres Year Two anthology, Ray Gun Revival, and Innsmouth Free Press. In between his work for Lightspeed Magazine, he’s a freelance editor, and blogs occasionally at: theright2write.blogspot.com.