Francisco Etchart (FETCH) 33 years old, lives in a little city in the middle of Argentina. He is a graphic designer and illustrator, the first his job and the second his passion, he graduated as a designer in 2003 and started to work in a government institute two years later as a graphic designer. During that same year, Francisco decided to share his art and drawings with the world through an internet art site: deviantART.com. He had early success, being hired for commissions of drawings for clients abroad, including the USA, Northern Europe, and Mexico, starting his career as an illustrator. Since, he has had to split his time between employment as a graphic designer and his side job as an illustrator.
Now, 9 years later, Francisco is involved in many different projects, from character design for video games and web mascots to illustrations for magazines, posters, comic books, and book covers. He has even done work for movie posters and pictures for many playing card games. Francisco feels that every one has been an awesome experience, but that nothing is better than the pictures that he does for himself, although he doesn’t have much time to do it nowadays. He loves to draw fanart from animated series, especially from Anime, which has influenced his style from the beginning.
See our interview with Francisco Etchart below.
On a hot summer of 1980, in a small seaside town near to Rome, Italy, a chubby girl with curly and very dark hair was born… but Cristiana Leone soon proved to be a very strange creature… The more she grew up, the more she tended to fantasize, to create weird stories, to imagine worlds and magical creatures, capturing everything on paper with a pencil. Her parents hoped confident that, growing up, she would change, but they were wrong! Despite a bachelor degree in Oriental Studies with honors, and many different jobs in different and non-creative fields, such as administration and tourism, she has never stopped (and probably will never stop) drawing and daydreaming, trying to self-improve her skills with a lot of exercises and passion. Cristiana can be reached at email@example.com.
Sofía Gariazzo a.k.a AstralMuffin: Cat lover. Has cat allergy. Workaholic. Can’t focus for more than two hours. Wants more than anything to work on the videogame industry. Or maybe just work in a garden centre an live a peaceful life. She is a walking mass of insecurities and contradictions just trying to find her way in life. She graduated in Animated Films Direction from the Da Vinci School of Multimedial Arts, and currently works as a freelance.
You can find her on her deviantART where she uploads almost everything she does and where it’s easier to talk to her; her portfolio or if you want to make her day drop a comment in her ZSketchbook.
ThreshTheSky is a digital commission artist who mostly paints fictional humans and the real life animals that keep the creators of those fictional humans company. Thresh works best at night, has forgotten how to function without at least one cat in close proximity, and can be found on his deviantART.
Smoludozerka is a self-taught artist from Poland. She loves nature and animals, languages, noses, and drawing overly expressive faces. She has created a vast amount of characters and hopes to one day finish putting their stories together into her own comic project. Her spirit animal is crocodile.
She can be found at deviantART.
Jen-and-Kris are an art team from Russia. Due to personal reasons, they did not wish to provide a formal profile. However, the authors felt their contributions significant enough to mention them on this page. You can find their work on deviantArt and Tumblr.
Interview with Francisco Etchart, cover artist for the Relativity Series.
Francisco is not a native speaker of English, so there has been some slight editing on my part for clarity.
Raquel Thorne: Tell us a little about how your art started. Which Animes and other animated series first influenced you?
Francisco Etchart: I have been drawing since I can remember, I even still remember some drawings that I did in Kindergarten. They were usually copies from local illustrated magazines. At 9 years old, my mom sent me to study drawing and painting with a teacher who worked for an institute. 6 years later (at age 15) I finished with a degree in Fine Arts. I never thought of being a teacher, but I already had the diploma LOL! During that time I had to draw lots of subjects but when I finished the studies I started to draw what I really liked, characters from cartoons, specially anime (Japanese cartoons). My style began to adapt those kind of lines, anatomy, expressions, and EYES!
The series that hit me hardest during my childhood were Silverhawks, Thundercats, MASK, Robotech, and a lot more… During my adolescence, almost of the series were anime, like Saint Seiya (aka Knights of the Zodiac), Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Ranma… and I could fill a complete page with other titles. At the same time I also met Japanese comics (manga) that blew my mind, such as Bastard!, Evangelion (again) and Kamikaze. I think that all that mix influenced on my style of drawing.
RT: Which series are you currently influenced by? Are there other artists who have influenced you?
FE: I am not really influenced by any series in particular nowadays… but by some artists, mainly the creators of the series I talked about: for example Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (the main artist of Evangelion) and Kazushi Hagiwara (creator of Bastard!). Also I have other great artist who influenced my style in the past like, the Spanish Luis Royo. In the present I have some artists from deviantArt that I follow their art and progress, like Stanley “Artgerm” Lau and Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz. I always try to rescue the best from them and use it to improve my art.
RT: Do you mind telling us more about the other projects you’ve worked on? Other than Relativity, which characters have you worked with? Do you have a favorite you can share with us?
FE: I have worked on different projects, most of them as commissions, the rest just for pleasure. I could mention covers for e-books and novels, original characters from my clients, playing card sets with thematic illustrations, movie posters, fan art pictures, characters for packaging, etc. And the things that I don’t have to draw as commissions, and I still like, I do them for me and for the pleasure of making ;) …. when I can find some time.
In my Deviant Art gallery I post almost all the pictures that I do, so that’s the place if you want to check my last stuff.
Some of my clients put my works on their websites too, so I would like to share some links to my favorite jobs done the last year for a local company. They are two playing card games based on Mazinger Z and Transformers.
RT: Do you have any original characters? Can you share one of your favorite personal illustrations with us?
FE: Yes, I started to design three characters several years ago, even though I just “had in mind” their back stories, but I never went beyond simple pictures and sketches, very lazy guy. They were ancestral people who manage the time and space, controlling them, so that the guy could change his position in the universe as he wished and the 2 girls could control time (and travel across time) with a large hourglass they had hidden in their hands. A little crazy LOL.
Here you can see one of them called Epsilon Illusion, comparing my style and technique from the first drawings of her in 2006 and the last done in 2014.
It’s really hard to choose just one of my illustrations… because I have a lot, but more important I always found mistakes (or things that could have been better) on the pictures. When time passes I evolve in my art, my style, the anatomy of my characters, my painting techniques, and I look at my old pictures and I can find thousands of things that are wrong, or at least for my eyes. I know, I am VERY MUCH a perfectionist with my work. However I could say that the following picture has not so many mistakes and it’s full of details, also it is very important to me because it wasn’t a work for hire, but I did it for myself and it’s about Saint Seiya, my favorite anime from my childhood.
I would like to include here another of my favorite illustrations, not for the quality or details, but for the meaning it has. It’s my girlfriend’s portrait and I did it some months after we met, so it brings me lot of wonderful memories.
RT: I know that you, like myself, are an avid reader of Relativity. Who is your favorite character? Is this also your favorite character to illustrate?
FE: Firstly I have to say that I started to draw for Relativity before read one line of the stories. I just used Michelle’s pixel arts as reference for the characters and a little bio of each one. They were the only pictures of the series until then (I think…) After that first cover, I decided to break the language barrier and start to slowly read the first chapters and so on, until I realized I was a fan of the stories myself. I found out some time later, that people who also drew the characters were using my version and design of the characters as references. This was really cool because they figured that my versions were the official ones.
Coming back to the question, my favorite character to draw, from the beginning, was Dark Flame. I love her coloring: waving hair and her fatal figure. After reading the stories, I liked her personality too, the way she grew up, her innocence, and I love she has Latin American influences. I like when she speaks in Spanish, it’s very funny to “hear” words in my language coming from her. Here you can see a picture of Dark Flame that I did as a gift for Michelle, just for fun, so I didn’t draw her carefully and detailed in my digital technique as usual, but with inks and markers on paper.
After read the last chapters, I have to admit that I also like Michael’s personality because he is not as perfect as a superhero should be, or how we image they should be. He is more “human”, he has a strong temperament and I like when he is upset and starts to act wildly. Also, I love how cute Melody is and I would like to have her more as more of a protagonist in the series.
RT: So you’ve found yourself to be such a fan of the series, that you have not only done commissions, but you’ve also done fanart for Relativity? So it’s like going back to your roots. Are there other series you do fanart for still?
FE: Yes, I have in mind to do more Relativity fan art in the future but it’s difficult to find free time to do it LOL! For the same reason I don’t keep doing more fan art from other series although I would like to. By the way, I plan to continue with the posters from 80’s and 90’s cartoons that I began in 2011. I still have a long list of titles that I would like to illustrate.
RT: Without giving any major plot spoilers, which episode is your favorite?
FE: Related to my comment about Melody [as more of a protagonist], I really liked the chapter when she dresses like a cheerleader. Maybe I should sketch her when I have some free time LOL.
While I don’t have a favorite episode, I love all of them when they talk about characters’ personal stories, when their past are exposed. The first book has a lot of this, so I could say the first book is my favorite “episode”.
RT: What’s it like working with two authors who speak a different native language than your own and whom you’ve never met in person? Was this your first experience working on a project, other than a basic commission, globally?
FE: It’s a nice experience, because it makes my brain work a lot, translating the episodes, imaging each chat session face to face, to looking for different ways to be connected, email, Facebook´s chat, Deviant Art´s comments and notes, etc. It’s very funny to have all those ways to be connected. It’s nice to share not just work chats, but daily common situations, too. I really like that. Even during the chats we can take inspirations from each other to draw in the next picture (myself) or to write in the next chapter (them). I think it helps a lot and makes me desire to keep drawing for the series.
However it is not the first time that I’ve worked this way. For about 6 years, I worked periodically with a guy from USA for a big project for him and his new company, related to arts, his writings, my pictures, designing characters, and that stuff. Unfortunately, it has not come to light yet, but I hope to see all that art soon. I learned a lot in those years, not just technically in my drawings but professionally speaking.
I also have another client-friend from the USA I started to work with 3 years ago. Art related to his own movies that he is writing and promptly filming. He is a film maker :)
All of them start as simple commissions and clients, but later turn to serial works and friends. I like when it happens.
Coming back to Gale City, I hope I can continue being the cover artist of the series, and I wish it becomes famous so that we can read comic books about it and some day we could watch Relativity on the big screen :)