Guys, I got a real treat for you today. Recently, I reconnected with Alexis M Centeno, the original artist for the Draconica series. Many of you who follow my work will know the huge contribution that she has made to her series - her art setting the standard for all other Draconica art that followed. She is an amazingly talented artist and, whilst she no longer works on the Draconica series, it was great for her to reconnect.
So, as a special treat, she agreed to do an interview on my blog - and we can even show you the mini comic that she drew for me as well! So sit back and relax and let's catch up with one of the most talent artists I have ever worked with.
Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you first get into art?
I’ve been drawing my whole life. It’s just something I have to do.
Who would you say are your influences?
That is really hard to pinpoint these days:). For the last few years, I’ve been a sponge soaking up whatever catches my eye. I don’t even put too much thought anymore; if I like something; whatever it is, I’ll put it into a design; the more outside the box the better.
What are your major artistic tools you are using at the moment?
3D has really expanded my toolbox. I would say I use ZBrush and MAYA as much as Photoshop these days. For the sake of staying competitive, I have to use a lot of different 3D apps and plugins, but ZBrush is a great tool even for 2D illustrators.
How did we (you and Dan) first meet?
It’s been a long time, but I think it all started with me answering an ad on a comic book forum. Dan was (and still is) very easy to work with and it just took off from there.
What was it like working on the Draconica series?
Draconica was probably one of the most important artistic experiences of my life. I learned a lot about how to work with a writer. Luckily, Dan was very open with his story and characters; he never stifled my creativity and was always very encouraging. It was a fun experience and I’m very glad I answered that ad.
What have you been doing since Draconica?
Working on Draconica gave me the confidence to pursue other areas of art, so I took time to finish my BFA in computer animation and work on characters in 3D. Right now it looks like I’m coming full circle by doing pre-viz work for an animated short tentatively called Grandpa that I would like to complete by Halloween 2014. Stay tuned to my blog, http://dispersersden.tumblr.com/ for updates.
Do you still follow the Draconica series in any way or have you moved onto bigger things?
I drew the characters for several years and it is hard not to become a little possessive. It was better for me to put some distance. However, the story continues and I am happy to see it succeed. Draconica and its characters will always be special to me. Based on the people’s appetite for good fantasy, it’s only a matter of time until Dan’s books reach a much wider audience.
Do you have any favourite characters in the Draconica series?
There are so many wonderful characters to choose from, but Mordak and Zarracka remain my favourites.
And who are your least or most hated characters?
I was never a fan of Daniar. Maybe because Zarracka was my favourite princess and I saw Daniar through her eyes.
What do you think about the forthcoming book Final Ragnarok: She Returns? Are you excited about it? What do you think is going to happen – and what are you most looking forward to?
I recently saw the trailer and it seems very exciting. During the making of Legacy of the Dragonkin, Dan had mentioned a few shocking plot points he was considering for the future. Should be interesting what made it in and what didn’t. I’m also excited about Dan’s other projects outside this series; he’s been very busy.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about the commission you’re doing for me – a mini comic called The Bad Girls of Draconica
What’s happening in this picture? Who are these characters and what is about to happen?
One of the most interesting aspects of working with Dan were the “what if” illustrations. He would write up a scenario and I would illustrate it. I never knew if it would go into the story of if he was testing things out to see if it would work. Here is a “what if” Zarracka and Kthonia teamed up to take down Mordak and Lucia. Here the two ladies are agreeing to use their wind powers to get rid of them. They’re both powerful and confident, so I wanted to show their playful side.
Looks like some serious stuff is going down here! Can you tell us what’s happening?
Here Mordak is going in for the kill, but the ladies combine their power to literally blow him to pieces.
And finally, what’s happening to the poor guy here?
Blowing up Lucia seemed a bit much, so here he gets a tap from the cyclone and that is enough to send him hurtling to space like old school team rocket.
Moral of the story: don't f*** with the ladies of Draconica! XD So what’s next for you?
My post-grad experience has been very technical. I spent a lot of time learning software, and that’s great, but working on this commission for Dan reminded me how much I love to draw and I haven’t stopped since. I do hope I can recruit enough artists to make an animated short happen; I think it will be very special and allow me to do both the 2D and 3D art I enjoy so much. I also hope it will put another spotlight on Miami based 3D artists. There is so much talent here, but it often goes unrecognized.
Finally, one more question before you go. If you had the option to spend one day with one of the characters from the Draconica series, who would it be and why?
Based on how I answered the questions above, Zarracka would be the obvious choice. She knows how to have fun :)
Be sure to follow Alexis at http://dispersersden.com/ to check out more of her upcoming projects and more excellent art! Thanks to Alexis for being here today!