Farbe, Rituale und Herausforderungen
Die meisten unserer Merkbilder werden zunächst gezeichnet (s. Artikel: Die Zeichner der Meditricks). Wie und wann kommt Farbe ins Spiel? Und warum werden die Bilder in bis zu 100 Ebenen zerlegt?
Unsere Merkbilder werden seit Jahren von Profis illustriert, die ihr Handwerk beherrschen. Meistens erhalten sie eine gezeichnete Vorlage, aber häufig arbeiten sie jedoch auch 'from scratch', d.h. sie erfinden ihre eigenen Figuren. Dies ist besonders der Fall bei Diego, der z.B. viele Figuren der Biochemie entworfen hat.
Die Figuren der Zeichnungen werden dann einzeln auf verschiedenen Ebenen illustriert – dies erlaubt uns das schrittweise Aufbauen der Videos und die Verwendung der einzelnen Figuren in unseren Büchern.
Im Interview geht es um die Erfahrungen unserer Illustatoren mit ihrer Arbeit sowie den spezifischen Herausforderungen bei der Arbeit für Meditricks.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!
Since all of the communication with our illustrators is in English, we want to share their original answers with you in this blog. We also do employ other artists on a less frequent basis, so shout outs going to Sam and Andrew! As well as thanks for the good collaboration to our alumni Sehreen, Marta and Guilhermo.
Interviewees for this article:
Diego Jose Carballo Guillen
is a freelancer, working on illustrations, storyboards and asset creation for animations. Diego is from El Salvador.
Maria Raiza Miranda-Escota
is the third illustrator to be joining Meditricks and stayed with us ever since. Raiza is a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist from the Philippines.
How did you decide to become an illustrator?
It was when I was in university. I have been drawing all my life but never actually knew how this could become a career path so I studied graphic design. Studying design I had an instructor that was an amazing illustrator and he showed us art from movies, videogames, and children's books and that was my “aha” moment when I realized how important illustration is and I decided that I wanted to be an illustrator.
I have always liked drawing/illustrating since highschool but not to the extent of making it as a career. So, I didn't have any formal education related to art – I learned everything from surrounding myself with talented people. Through those connections, I applied and got accepted to a storyboard company, and it all started there. We have made a lot of jobs in different styles, from traditional to digital illustrations – that's how I realized – that I want to be an illustrator for as long as I am able.
What is it that you love about illustrating?
Illustrating is my way to escape reality – trying to tell a story through pictures and creating characters and little worlds for them is just amazing to do.
I love how ideas, concepts and even feelings are made into something everyone can relate to. I mean, not everyone can explain beautifully through words, and not all concepts can be explained through music — showing them in visuals is much easier. I love how I can show someone what's going through my head, how I see things, and how I perceive them. It's like showing people the world from my point of view.
What styles did influence you?
The art of movies, videogames, and anime is a big influence in my work, I try to give that cinematic feeling to my paintings. Movies like "Sleeping Beauty", "The Incredibles", "Spirited Away", and "The Lord of the Rings" really stuck in my head when I was younger.
My style is heavily influenced by animes and japanese manga, I think. But after I worked for the storyboard art studio I was exposed to a lot of illustration styles – and learned a lot from studying artists like Norman Rockwell, Austin Briggs, Andrew Loomis, Alphonse Mucha and a lot from various fashion illustrators –so my style kind of evolved. Now, I enjoy looking at alternative arts like Kim Jung Gi, Park Jae Kwang, Zao Dao, Felix Delep and Juanjo Guardino – which I think influenced me a lot while doing Meditricks illustrations 🙂
Getting to work
How do you start your work? Do you have any rituals?
I usually start my workday by “not working”. I try to get up a few hours before starting to work to do stuff for me. I make a cup of tea, do some stretches to take care of my back etc. Doing things just for me and then jumping to work helps a lot.
As long as I have an assignment I can start immediately. I think, working as an illustrator for more than 10 years, I was trained to start whenever I need to. Focusing on that task is the challenge :)) If I need to focus, I usually divide the piece into several portions or I require myself to finish a number of objects (like 10-20 objects/layers), before I give myself a break – something like the pomodoro technique but instead of a timer I use the number of layers.
How do you choose where to begin within a piece?
That depends on the day. There are some days when everything is just perfect and I get into flow easily so I can jump straight into sketching ideas and thinking of little stories I would like to paint. There are other days when I am feeling more resistant, I don’t create something new. I just try to complete a piece I have already sketched and start with the background and stay in the background as long as I need to get in the flow. Backgrounds have that power, to make me feel more relaxed and enjoy the process, more than characters do.
I always start with the background, for me, it's important to know where the characters are to be able to feel the piece. After that, I will choose a character that I liked best or a character/group of characters that establish the piece and start there.
What is different about illustrating for Meditricks?
The main difference in Meditricks is that every piece takes place in a different world. So each one has its atmosphere and I have to care a lot about the ambiance to achieve the mood each Meditrick needs. Some pieces have a lot of action, some are warm and cozy etc.
Illustrating for Meditricks is a LOT different from my other illustrating gigs. Since I'm dealing with mnemonics I assume everything has a meaning so I have to be careful on the gestures, positions, expressions and the details without sacrificing the aesthetics.
What is the biggest challenge?
The biggest one is that sometimes Meditricks can get weird – haha! Especially when illustrating STD’s while living with an 8 year old little girl I have to get creative with such pieces, zooming a lot, working after bedtime etc. It is fun though to have that kind of challenge both in the pieces and outside.
The biggest challenge is probably the language and knowledge (medical) barrier. Everything is mostly explained to me before doing the illustration and the sketch is there, but still – as I draw the details there are some things that I may miss like things that should connect to complete the term or the clue. That's why most of the time, I tend to ask a lot of questions before starting 🙂
How does the medical background of Meditricks stories challenge you?
Since I don’t have any medical background some of the mnemonics are alien for me so I developed a “don’t ask, just draw ” philosophy so it's easier for me to go straight to work and avoid spending time trying to understand all of the things that are happening in the picture.
As a non-German speaker and non-medical person understanding a piece in one look is a challenge but that is also what makes illustrating it fun. Some of the characters escape sense and logic but when explained to me, they do make a lot of sense. So sometimes while I'm drawing I get absorbed thinking, “I wonder what does this character represent?” or “Why is this character doing this or that?” or something as random as “this character is cool I want him on a different pose or I want him on a sticker.” :))
How did your work for Meditricks change over the years?
Work has changed a lot, in the visuals, topics, and complexity of the pieces. I remember back in the day that the pieces were just elements floating in the picture. Now the pieces are full environments in which the characters “live” and interact with each other.
The quality has improved a lot since then. Characters, backgrounds, light and overall design are so much nicer looking than it was before.
I have improved a lot of hand in hand with Meditricks. I have to thank the trust and creative freedom Meditricks has given to me to improve the visuals of the pieces.
Over the years, I got familiarized with a lot of characters and how the scenes usually work so its (relatively) easier. I also got familiarized on how the different sketchers work – so if I receive an assignment from this sketcher I need to look closer because she/he puts a lot of small but important details; or another sketcher is good at making the characters interact with each other but I need to separate their layers because they mean different things and stuff. And over the years , I gained confidence (just a little bit) on judging what I can improve or emphasize on a piece if needed 🙂
Do you prefer certain characters and/or scenarios?
Yeah, the ones that involve creatures and living organs. It is fun to create those characters and give them life and personality. Also adding little details like birds in the background or hiding watermelons in the Meditricks is fun. Have you spotted any while studying? 😀
I always prefer organic over mechanical things. So I prefer scenarios with nature, drapery,and people (or aliens) but that's only because I'm not good with robots and mechs. I also like small setting scenarios – like the early pieces we did in pharmacology like Aspirin and Mirtazapin– where the scene takes place in a single room because I can put more details on the characters because they are bigger :))
What characters/scenarios are the most demanding for you?
The ones that involve drawing humans, for whatever reason drawing humans is unappealing for me.
As mentioned before I'm not good with mechs so conceptualizing from scratch is challenging. Thankfully, we have skilled sketchers to help me with those 😀
to both Diego and Raiza for taking time to answer our questions and for delivering all that great work!
Das sind wir:
Wir von Meditricks sind ein ca. 30+-köpfiges Team. Unser Leitbild: Mit dem richtigen Lernmedium kann jeder medizinisches Wissen meistern und behalten. Wir bestehen aus Ärztinnnen & Ärzten, Medizinstudierenden, Video- und Hertzchirurgen, Sprecher/-innen – you name it. Wir sind Eselsbrückenbauer aus Leidenschaft und beschäftigen uns seit unserem eigenen Studium mit dem Lernen. Uns vereint der Wunsch, Wissen durch liebevoll aufbereitete Eselsbrücken zu vermitteln.
Wir wünschen Dir viel Spaß beim Merken!