Patxi Peláez Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

My name is Patxi Pelaez and I live with my wife and my two daughters in Irun, a small town of the Basque Country in the north of Spain. Mi childhood was like a normal kid of my own age with the particularity of my biggest hobby was to draw. All time. However, when I must go to the university,I opted for study Laws. I followed drawing as a hobby, but never thought it could be a way out profesional. No finish my law studies... the study of the laws was not for me:)
I took a course in Graphic Design and during this time, a friend of mine mentioned that there is an animation studio in my town looking for drawers. I went there with my drawings and luckily for me, I selected to work with them. So you could say I'm self-taught: The desire to learn and work have been my school diary.

How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?

Usually there is an earlier meeting with the director of the film to determine the visual appearance of movie. First of all there has been a brainstorming for try to define the visual style of film: Illustrations, comics and other movies (whether real or animated image ) help for this. To draw the characters, sets and color is in my hands. After reading the script, I write on paper the physical and psychological characteristics of the characters I must design. I usually start with small sketches or silhouettes to try to capture the overall shape of characters. I use a black marker to do this. I don´t go to detail the drawing, only tries to capture the first image I have in my head. Based on these small sketches begin to define the character: Working with a blue pencil and define the structure with a pencil (0.5-0.7) the different details.I must do more than one version of the character for the director.
Having chosen the style of the character, giving way to a final version of it in which I worked the volume and tonal values in grayscale. It remains to define the color palette to paint characters.In base of color range feature set for the movie, I have freedom to color the floor characters.Y also give several color versions of the same character, especially the main characters. The same process for the sets and props that are needed in the film.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

My working day is from 9am to 2am.I have the lucky to have work close to home, about ten minutes with car. After I leave my daughter at school, I start to work. I am the studio´s cartoonist and depending of the project ,my work goes from the visual development, character creation, texturing or story board. Some days are more fun than others, do not forget that this is working;) return home to eat, and to continue working 3h to 6h.After this is free time for my family, and sometimes I can draw for fun:)
We are a small studio, about 8 people working. The other professionals are dedicated to the modeling and animation, and people in the office dedicated to production. We know well and there is very good relationship between us.Sometimes, we work with people in practice or freelancers.

What are some of the things that you have worked on?

My day job is related to the animation. In this field I have had the opportunity to work doing layout, storyboard, animation and character design / visual development for series and films in 2D and 3D animation. On several occasions I could reconcile it with other work in the world of illustration and comic geared for children. Two fields of entertainment that I like and with whom I enjoyed very much. I have not had the opportunity to work in videogames.Is an exciting world, and I hope to have the opportunity to work on it in the future.

Is there a design you have done that you are most happy with?

There is not one which I feel particularly happy.I am perfectionist, and I notice more errors than virtues in my work.I always try to learn to improve. I am happy with some designs from my last job as a character designer in the movie "Dad, I'm a zombie" (Open Prod / Digitaldreams), but always I hope the next job will be better.

What projects are you working on now? (if you can tell us)

I'm very excited to develop the characters and sets for an animated series
for children (6-8 years old).I hope that everything will goes well and we could see it soon on TV :)

Who are some of your favorite artists out there?

UF! There are so many good ... I feel very small when I see some works of these artists.
Some of them appear as favorites in my blog, but there are many people more.I like american and european comic as Olivier Coipel, Didier Cassegrain, Vatine, Enrique Fernandez, Wendling, Nine ... and a lot more. The illustration highlights Frederic Pillot, Rebecca Dautremer ... I especially like the illustration for children. I love the animation work of Nicolas Marlet, Carlos Grangel, Paul Felix, Peter Chan, Mike Yamada, Glen Keane, Chuck Jones, etc ...

Anyway, this is a small sampling of my tastes are very heterogeneous.

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

I love working with the color. It's a fun process. I start with a slight idea of the color I'm going to give the character and I'm improvising. This makes it more creative. I try to work well whenever I can,and dates allow. The process is simple: I scan the pencil drawing (I love drawing on paper), and I color using Photoshop edit or create my own brushes for every occasion, and always try to get one over "organic" with color, that is, unnoticeable strokes, the texture of the brushes. I try to get a finish as if he had at hand.

What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?

The fun part is the search of the style that you want for the movie. To draw with pencil the different sketches, the first concept. (I like drawing in pencil, felt the strokes on paper), the studies of color... It's the creative part of our work. The most tedious part for me is when I do the construction,the turnaround of the character for later 3D modeling.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

Nature is a huge source of inspiration.And being more prosaic;comics, illustration in all its forms, films... Internet greatly facilitates the search for documentation and knowledge of the work of other authors. I think it should be up to date and know the environment in which you move.
And on a personal level for me is very important to be calm on mind to be creative. I try to avoid negative thoughts. They are very destructive to creativity.

What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?

I like the designs of major studio productions(Dreamworks, Pixar, Blue Sky and Disney). They are a technically challenging. They are not always highly original,but they represent a challenge that always seems to be solved brilliantly. Working on such productions, in those big companies and those artists, is a dream for me that I hope to do in the future.

What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?

I like to draw everything, but I greatly enjoy drawing people, either in cartoon style or something more realistic style. I enjoy drawing the anatomy of the characters, and play with proportions.

What inspired you to become an Artist?

There is no artistic tradition in my family, but always supported me in my decision to pursue this. As a child I loved to draw. I grew up reading comics and watching old warner cartoons. I guess this was an early influence on me. Then it was destiny that decided me to devote myself to this:) I could not do otherwise.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

I have worked with other artists and always is very rewarding. See the way they pose their work, is a incredible school. But it is best to work with young people starting in this profession.They are incredibly prepared, have a very solid academic training and, above all, a contagious passion.

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

I do not like giving advice, but I think keep the passion and love your work is more important... and difficult. And we must also know how to be professional and generous, able to adapt to different projects and know bow to the wishes of those who contract your services. You're an artist, but you are also a way for others set forth their ideas.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

My email is
My personal blog is

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

I have not. Someone was really interested ...? :) I would like to thank all those who have devoted their time to read this interview. So ... THANK YOU.

Patxi Peláez Gallery