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?
Well, when I was a little kid, the toy that I liked more was a pencil. But I never believed that it was a serious way of life, so I was a normal student trying to choose the best option to get a good job. When I finished the secondary school, I didn’t want to continue studying so I get a job, but the job finished too. In this moment my sister convinced me that I had to go to the art school. There I studied illustration. After three years, an animation studio made a test to a big group of students from a lot of different schools, there was when I meet Enrique Fernandez, victor Maldonado, Adrian Garcia and David Alcarria, and this was the first step in this crazy world of animation. I think that for more that you study, the best school is to work with the professionals, and the only way that I know to be a good artist is to think that you always can improve, and all your life you’ll be learning.
How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
At first I draw a primary skeleton with the pose that the design will have. The shape of this skeleton will change in accordance with the description of the script. Then I build the different parts of the body of the character, all with blocks, without details. The next step is to define the anatomy of the character, legs, arms, fingers, head ... and the muscles, overcoat the ones that the character are using in this pose. The face is a very important part of the design, because it gives the personality to the model, so it needs a dedicated work. The thickness of the eyebrows, the shape of the eyes, the thinness of the face, the length of the hair, all this things will decide if the character seems a villainous, a hero, a genius, a mad... Finally I add the clothes and the elements that he needs, like weapons, tools, objects, etc... After all these steps, someone say to you that this is not what they are looking for, that the character can be improved, and you have to start again.
What do you think really helps you out in designing?
Well, sometimes the inspiration doesn't come. But when you take a look on the web, and see what the wonderful things are doing the good artists, suddenly I want to make a great design. So it's fantastic that the blogger world exist, where we can see what the other artists are doing.
From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should we put in our portfolio and what should we not?
Some people want to show all their different works from their first draws, to get more different options. I think that you have to show only what you really like. For me is more important to show less material but really good, than a lot of things of different qualities
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
I always worked on animation. The first works were TV series, but since I’m working in Filmax Animation, my recent works have been animation movies.
Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?
I’m always very exigent with my designs and very critical. When the work is done and I see my designs on a film, normally I don’t like them too much. Maybe Ben Yussuf’s horse from “El Cid, the legend”.
What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)
Actually, I work on a CGI animation film called Donkey Xote. It’s a different and crazy version of Cervantes book “Don Quijote”.
Where is the place you would like to work if you had a choice?
I don’t have a favorite place to work, for me the more important thing is to work on a good project, with good professionals and good ideas. Of course, the big studios have a lot of money to have the best artists with very good ideas, but sometimes there is a little one that surprises everybody.
Who do you think are the top concept artists out there?
I like very much all the work of Craig Mullins.
How do you go about coloring the concept art, what type of tools or media do you use?
The first step for coloring a concept art for me is to have in my mind the ambient and the atmosphere that I want to show in this moment. The hour of the day, the weather or the light effects, can be tools to use. Then I begin to mark the different colors that I will use, since dark to light. Is easier for me to begin with the dark tones, taking out the lights. The last details are the shines, and for me the most funny part, because the concept art is almost finished. The program that I use is Photoshop, I want to learn to use Painter, but I have to find time to do it.
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
For me the hardest part of designing is when I have the white paper in front of mine, without any line done, and I have to begin to give shape to the model. When I have a primary version, is easier because I know what things I don’t like, and I can change them. The most funny part is when the model is designed and it haves to be happy, sad, jumping, or any other thing that we use to make him do.
What are some of your favorite character designs and least favorite, which you have seen?
One of the characters that I really like is Shan-Yu from Mulan. He seems really bad and terrific, and the graphic line is very nice. But the thing that I like more of this design is the color of the eyes, they painted the white part in black, and that gives him a monstrous look. I like Hades from Hercules too, the acting of this design is incredible, he haves a great personality. My least favorite designs are everyone from Shrek.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
The warriors, because I like the action that you can show through this characters. And you can give him a lot of fantastic weapons or clothes. It's funny to imagine how they fight with the enemy. Anyway I'm a quiet person and I don't like the real war, maybe this is the reason why I like to draw it, because the die on the paper isn't real.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
I don’t know, I only have the need of expressing myself, and the tools that I have are my hands and my mind. I have been drawing since I can’t remember; I suppose that you born with this need, and the rest of your live you’re searching the way to express it.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
The patience. When you’re beginning to work with very good artists, you want to be like them or better, but everything need a time of learning. Constancy, because only with this you can improve. Humility is the most important thing to me, because only if you think that always there is someone better than you, you’ll have the habit of working hard to be like them some day.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
Well, all the things that I answered in the last question were good tips for me, and I think that are good for anyone. Also I would like to say that I’ve been lucky in this job, but you have to search this luck, and to be prepared for when it comes.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
My office e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and my personal e-mail is email@example.com. My Blog is http://www.carlosruano.blogspot.com
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?
No, I use to paint some oils sometimes, but I give it to my friends or simply for myself.