Ego Rodriguez (Vibrant Illustrator and Creative Portrait Artist)
My name is Ego, I am a spaniard living in London for the past 17 years.
At the moment I’m trying to expand my career as an Illustrator; the most part of my life it has been mainly a hobby or a way to purge my ideas, and in the last few years I started to get some attention and requests to show more of my art. So that’s where I am right now, trying to get some work and sharing what I do.
Who are these people you are drawing? I notice some as celebrities. Are others friends?
The portraits…yes.. Back when I was at the school I used to sketch caricatures of teachers or schoolmates for fun (or out of boredom) and that was a bit of a party trick.
A couple of years ago there was a similar game about sketching up friends and others trying to guess who was who. The whole thing evolved into people requesting portraits and further into completely strangers asking me for commissions.
Then there are some icons or celebs I felt like drawing or inspired me.
And then the Macho series was a bit of a spin off from the sketch idea, keeping the style but drawing from Playgirl’s models from the 70s. I liked the idea of some erotic imagery represented like shiny candy or bubble gum wraps.
How did you settle on / evolve into your unique style? Most of your work is very bold and colorful.
For me was just a sketch or quick draft, so at the beginning they used to be all over some flesh/neutral background or some earthy/natural colour.
But I like bold colours and I felt taken by these monochrome plastic figurines you play with when you are a kid. Adding some artificial gloss into it. Like having a shiny paint coating.
I think it is nice to see the contrast of some detailed, lively eyes on a unnatural shape and background. Someone referred to it as being ‘egofied’, once.
I’m wondering how you decide on color choices. Sometimes your subjects are unnatural colors against a bold color. Do you experiment with colors as you go, or do you decide what it will look like going in?
Colours, with commissions I usually allow them to choose or tell me what colours they dislike in particular.
But in general depends of what I see on the source photograph and the lighting. Dramatic lighting looks really good with darker hues, flatter and bright images look better with pastels.
Blue and Green tend to be the ones that give the best results, yellow and warm colours are tricky and not as flattering on everybody. Maybe because they are closer to skin like tones.
Where do your inspirations come from? Do you find illustration as easy as putting a pencil to paper? What’s the process of coming up with concepts or ideas?
It depends, by norm I tend to work in projects or series, sometimes I don’t know how to justify single illustrations coming from nowhere. It just bugs me for few days, and I have to have down in paper.
I tend to sketch a lot and I keep drawing on different ideas, some of them evolve into a final work, some seemed too daft or uninspiring that I left them on the sketch process.
Sometimes this abandoned ideas, return later on with another approach about them. Like the characters from the Bestiary, that it has been already through 3-4 different takes and styles and finally is coming to life with the Victorian air.
Can you pick a favorite piece (or favorites) to share with us? Tell us why.
With the portraits there’s few I like. Edu:
It was one of the first ones I started to experiment with the unnatural colours and the contrast of lights and I am really happy with it.
On the Bestiary, The Candyman:
I think it says a lot about me, the bold primary colours, the surrealism of the image and the dark story behind it, but represented in a colourful way.
Overall I think one that stuck for years with me is Salome I :
It’s an oldie and I usually leave those behind, but i think she’s quite iconic and summarize pretty much my stye with a simple concept.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists in our society? What’s this art/expression thing all about anyway? Is being an artist important?
It took me a while to accept being called an artist myself, I always referred to me as- someone who likes to draw things-
I think it is necessary, to clear your head, to help you communicate to purge braincells.
It could be frustrating if you are working hard trying to get some recognition or trying to live on it, and makes you wonder if you won’t be wasting your time and all.
But overall it’s worth it, to keep sketching, to draw everything, to get things out, The day of today, drawing is my boyfriend.