Ep.126: How to get a job at big studio with Felipe Machado

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Mar 15, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Felipe Machado, a digital illustrator and concept artist from Colombia who is most known for doing the cover art for music bands and working for Lucas Films. He runs Blank Atelier and Colectivo Tajalapiz.

Get in touch with Felipe

Key Takeaways

“Concentrate on what you really love, because that’s the only place where you will shine!”

“Sometimes a slap in the face is the best motivation!”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Special thanks to Felipe for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Felipe Machado, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic. Happy. That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone and welcome back to the next episode of Art Side of Life, where I joke with inspiring artists and create various art related videos. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Felipe Machado. And in this episode, you will learn how he travelled the world and how he got hired on the spot at WonderCon by Lucasfilms.

Felipe Machado  

And what I had on that portfolio was if I look at now, from my perspective, it was more personal. It was the stuff that I liked to do on a small scale because it was cover artworks for local bands that I admire and everything. But it was the first steps. And it was it was the sincere part of what I thought that was art for the

Iva Mikles  

Felipe is a digital illustrator and concept artist from Bogota, Colombia, who is most known for doing cover art for music bands and working for Lucasfilm. He is working with bands like Blind Guardian rage rap, so the savage circus and many others. He’s also teaching and improving artistic community in Bogota. So please welcome Felipe Machado, and let’s get to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have Felipe here. Hi. Hey, how you doing? Oh, perfect. And how are you?

Felipe Machado  

Fine, fine. It’s a little bit early here in Bogota, but everything’s cool.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, perfect. But then let’s start with your background. And maybe you can tell us a bit more about like when you first started decided, okay, I want to work with AR then. Kind of when was it like, Okay, I want to take this seriously?

Felipe Machado  

Oh, sure. Well, I when I was young, I was struggling a lot because of my parents job. They used to work for the United Nations. So we will be at least six months or a year or even two years. In countries on Africa, Europe. If I make a list of the high schools I went to, I think my mom tells that it’s like 12 altogether. 12 High School. Yeah. So in terms of getting to know the world and learning languages and culture, in general, is the best story I can tell. In terms of socializing, it was a little bit tough, because you had that feeling of not being able to, to have a steady friendship with someone because eventually your parents will tell you like we go back to Colombia or this other town, right. So all around if it was a town that had the option of having art classes apart from high school, I remember my parents always encouraging musical classes for my sister or my brothers, or art classes. Like when we used to live in a new way in Montevideo, I went to a really cool studio there and I had like oil painting classes and stuff like that. So I was then I finally like graduated, and I was this close to to study in New York. And I went to school, super cool, super nice. And then I went to see the, the places where I was the place where I was supposed to live, like the dormitory and all that stuff. And it was depressing. He was like, oh, man, this town is amazing. But I don’t like this. So I came back thinking on studying music because I when I was here, I started I started a band, like a rock heavy metal band. So I thought first on music. And then I went to the music faculty. And they would ask for, for you to have like a classical musical structure before the university and I didn’t have that like I only play bass guitar and scream. But before that back in year why remember that I did like two semesters of art, like classical art. And it was a big faculty like the university there is like a state university. So I had that and I came back and then I thought, well, I was already doing art, studying art, so I stay on the same place. Today, I thought that I was going to study music. They just opened visual arts program. So I was leaving and the teacher like said, like flipped. We have this brochure it just opened. You look like someone that would like art. So I came back, back then my pet my mom was in Israel. I think my father was in Angola, probably. And my sister was taking care of me here, because I’m the youngest. And she was like, Did you enroll on anything like music, whatever. And I was like, I think I’m gonna go for arts again. When she was like, Yeah, I have to tell mom that you’re gonna go to university. So whatever it is just enroll. I continue art in a way. And the I was like the first promotion like my graduation, we went like 6060 people went into the program. After five years, three of us only three persons we graduated. Wow. So the faculty was starting. If I think about the the actual education program, it was a mess. Like, I don’t know, I. And sometimes I think that, at least in Colombia, probably in other countries, maybe go too young to study, like a career. Because I think that I was probably like 18 years old. And I think of my students being 18 years old, and some of them have like discipline. But in general, what do you do when you’re like that? Did you didn’t didn’t want to do anything like party and travel and have a good time. So I studied visual arts, it was a five year program. And I emphasize on on graphic media and illustration. Yeah. And a few years after that, I went to study to the Concept Design Academy in Pasadena, California CDA, which is like this

Felipe Machado  

open format, way of learning, which is workshops, and you don’t go after a title or, or any, and they will, they will mention that like, you can come here and learn like a bunch of different stuffs that we don’t have, like a academic program. Yeah. And it’s something that if I, if I see someone like interested in something really specific towards concept art or animation, or comic book art, I have come to think that it’s the best option now, actually.

Iva Mikles  

So in when you mentioned that you were studying in different places. What make you to kind of decide for Okay, I want to go back to Colombia, or have you ever felt like, okay, maybe I should consider other countries to live in? Or what do you like the most about Colombia to live there? If you can imagine?

Felipe Machado  

That’s a great question. Because in the 80s, and 90s, many people know about the dramatic political and social story that Colombia has. And we we’ve started to get a better reputation. Just recently, this year, we signed a peace treaty with a guerrilla group that it was, it’s been a while for almost 60 years, we still have a lot to do. And there’s other groups that are trying to come to a different political status, leave behind the war thing and, and being like a guerrilla group. And of course, there’s a story of Colombia about trafficking and drugs and all of that. There’s no perfect country out there. And certainly, we do have our story. But now it’s like a whole different thing. And there’s like this new breed of bear that at least I feel that in terms of of the story, it’s different, so many good things could come out of that. But going back to your question, back then, and many of my friends and Lila my wife’s friends, when we were finishing high school, the only thing they thought about was like, let’s lift Colombia, let’s go to Europe, or the United States, and many of them went there. And, and because I was I was traveling up until I was that age, I had like a different perspective. I was like, I’ve been traveling all around. It’s been cool. I like it. But I want to study situation like a one study place that I can call home, at least five or six years that I can finish one study structure, like I’m gonna study art, and I studied it here and I finished it here. And for me, it was like the other way around because of my family traveling. And in terms of, of Colombia, per se people, people in Bogota can be a little bit cold in general compared to the Caribbean or other parts of town. But we are we’re a little bit strange and what we what we say and where we communicate. And Bogota can be a mess. In general, the general opinion probably could be like a traffic Sox. It’s not the best town out there. But my version of Bogota, it’s actually pretty cool. I, I do know, the traffic, for example, in going around can be complicated. But the other thing that I can tell you about Colombia, the food, the food we have, the way we eat. It’s really special. I love Colombian cooking. And in general, over the years, it has been an element that I have, like on my, on my top five things that have Colombia.

Iva Mikles  

So that was, because you traveled a lot. And you already experienced other things, right? So you’re like, Okay, I saw these. And now you want to be closer to your culture, how you grew up, and everything was yeah,

Felipe Machado  

I remember back then, especially having like a study group of friends. That was at some point, I was like, Okay, let’s, let’s try to change the way I reach out people and have study place. And, and back then one of my biggest motivations was having a band study music band. And I did have like a couple and we did pretty cool things that we were able to record and, and play shows and everything. And in order for you to do that, at least back then you had to be able to study. Yes.

Iva Mikles  

And so how did you start with your art career, doing the covers and everything? So how did you do the first networking? How did you make your first clients if you can take us to through some of the biggest turning points, which gets you where you are now.

Felipe Machado  

So well, back then, locally, I think I was one of the few persons even being super young, doing like digital art, and also connecting that to the kind of music that I like. So back then I can say that I work for a lot of local bands like doing posters and demos and their first records. And then I had a class in faculty, which was like an introduction to web design. So I posted my web page as the final project. And I immediately saw it as a tool for communication. So I remember reaching the first local bands and bands from Spain and small bands through that website, which was “beep”. It was like just a couple of images in my email. And that was it. And, and I remember having like two different portfolios, like I had an academic portfolio with drawings in some comic book stuff that I saw on the class. And I don’t know why my digital digital stuff, I didn’t saw it as academic because actually, I didn’t, I didn’t want we didn’t have like, digital Photoshop classes back at the university. So I remember a friend of mine having like the, one of the first versions of Photoshop, and he was already doing like crazy stuff. And I was like, Dude, how do you do that, like, now you can crop and you can transform and you can. So on one vacation from one semester to the other. I got like a version of Photoshop I and I, I literally open every single file, post every single bottle, no tutorials, like, like, I figure out stuff on my own. Like that. So I have this other portfolio with the digital, like covers and illustrations said, and after I graduated, I remember it was like from from one day to the other. I saw information about a comic book convention called wonder come from the same producers as from Comic Con. And it was like, it started like five days after I saw the news. And I told my parents like, I just graduated Can Can I go to this thing? Like I did good, right, like please Santa, can I go?

Felipe Machado  

I was like, Yeah, let’s buy the ticket. And you go there in San Francisco. And now they now they do it in LA I think they’ve moved. So I went to WonderCon with my two portfolios. And I showed like the academic drawing and comic book stuff to many companies, and they all say no, like they all broke broke my heart like you have some good drawings, but we did see sequential art. You’re not ready. We’re DC. We’re Marvel. Who are you? It’s like, and I was like, after two days I was crushed. It was like oh my god, what do Did with very low, then I was going back to my friend’s place, like completely destroyed. And they posted like, on one of the babies like, we canceled this thing. But now on this, at this time, there’s going to be a portfolio review from Lucas fields. And I was like, maybe they’re gonna show like some of their stuff. I didn’t understand the concept. So I said like, Okay, I have nothing to do. I regret studying art. I went there. And I sat down. And I remember there was at least eight people, and there was an art director looking at portfolios. So I sat down next to another guy, and he had like this huge portfolio full with comic book art. And he was like, show me your stuff. And I showed him. Yeah, no, they’re not going to hire you looking for this. It was like, this is what they’re looking for. And he had pretty cool, cool artwork, but like this, this big pages, and he was like doing stuff like, like, inspired on and comic books that he would read. And he was like, I guess so. Yeah. Everybody told me that I wasn’t good for anything. So I had, like, the art director was like, okay, his next. And it was it was my turn. But I think I jumped this guy’s turn, because I sat on his side. So I went there, like, yeah, hi, from Columbia. This is my portfolio. And he was like, Yeah, this is good. But I had better artists than you. But it’s okay. Yeah. What’s on the other folder? And I’m like, Oh, it’s just my digital stuff that I did. And then he started looking at like, is this Photoshop? And I was like, yeah, how do you do this? Like, no, I just created a shape and blah, blah. And he was like, I don’t understand you like, this is your portfolio? What’s what’s going on with the other stuff? No, I did not school. And he was like, I don’t care. This digital stuff, this is you, and I can hire you. And I was like, what? I remember he stood up and he was like, there was like three guys left. And it was like, guys, that’s it. I’m gonna be back next year. But I was just like that. And what I haven’t I that portfolio was if I look at now, from my perspective, it was more personal. It was the stuff that I liked to do on a small scale, because it was cover artworks for local bands that I admire and everything. But it was the first steps. And it was, it wasn’t a sincere part of what I thought that was art for me.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And it was more storytelling maybe as well in those images. And it wasn’t really inspired by like, it wasn’t a fan art or anything.

Felipe Machado  

No, no, exactly. It was I would have to tell him as he was looking to that folder, like, this is a local bad, no one knows. But there are my friends. And he was like this, like, we like this stuff. So he said, Look, I were finishing principal photography on Revenge of the zip. And I think it is some some work on a style guide. The style guide is like this collection of official art that a big company with a big IP will have for products. And I didn’t understand anything that he was saying not because of my English, but because of the dimension of this thing. And he was like, Do you work on a Mac or a PC? And I was like a PC? Because now you’re gonna get a Mac? What kind of backups do you use? It was just already he was already thinking about and he was like, Okay, if I send you images of Revenge of the sale, because the first person you’re going to show them to and I was like, no one cuz does, like super private or and he was like, That’s a good answer kid that he will be like asking already stuff to see. He also asked me how how fan of Star Wars I was. And I was like, I like it. And he was like, Do you know the all the names of the characters? I’m like, no, why? Now I like that. Because if someone’s do too much a fan of this stuff, sometimes the things can be a little bit crazy. And he was like, after the entire interview, I noticed his way of thinking in terms of searching for someone. And and he reached me like a year after that exactly a year after that. Like he called me home and and he was like, hey Dee, do you have an email or something? I have your phone. Can you do some work for me? I was like, this is happening. This actually happened. So we went with that time Lila and I we were just going out and he said like look, I need you to do some briefs here at Skywalker Ranch. Can you come next the next week? I’ll send you like the tickets or you can buy them and I’ll refund them or whatever. And he said, like, if you want to come with someone, I can pay for that ticket also, like a friend or so. And I was like Lena, do you want to go to cracker? And she was like, what’s that? I was like, just let’s go. Okay. So we went there super cool people really nice. Like he was another thing. I went through the door, that it was super amazing that I knew kind of that existed, but, but it gave me like this perspective on on this notion that maybe you don’t have what you eat where you’re from. But you have to be smart about the tools that you do have. Yeah, so my tools back then was being able to travel, having the stuff I needed to work, losing my fear of communicating, and reaching out to reach out. And I have some students that have, like a huge talent. But if they don’t work on direct communication, and control interfere, their work, they won’t go anywhere, like any.

Iva Mikles  

So maybe what was the best advice you ever receiving? Like concerning this kind of thing? Okay, how to be more confident about your art and the communication? And maybe what was the worst advice? If you hit something like that along the art career?

Felipe Machado  

That’s a good question. Maybe I have one advice, that it’s the best of the worst at the same time. Back in school, I remember doing like final projects, and putting, like my artwork that I would do like on collage or on acrylics, or the first digital stuff I did. And seven, some teachers, good teachers were in general, in art, I think that you can misunderstand personal taste with our direction. And it’s two completely different things. And some teachers would say to me, like, you’re good, but this thing looks like a cover from this banner. For me. You’re like trying to copy what’s the name Iron Maiden? And I was like, in the back of my head, I was like, Yeah, right? That’s actually going to want to relate like, yeah, and you’re not gonna get a job like doing album covers. So you might as well think about that. So. So having that that slap in the face? For my perspective, actually gave me a pushed into No way. I mean, it’s okay, what you think but I’m gonna prove you wrong in a way. So that was bad. Why is it the way? But I took it as why is it that I’m not going to be able to do this? Why are you so confident about me failing? On on doing album covers from a country? I mean, Columbia has a really particular small rock history, and nothing to do with the bass that I’ve worked with or stuff like that. So if you had a general idea of traveling against going against the tide, yeah, I had nothing in my pocket that would say like, yeah, you’re gonna have a chance at this. Yeah, but but sometimes, a little bit of that sometimes, a slap in the face is the best advice you can get to reconfigure and think, Okay, why is it an apparently impossible for me to work at this company? Or make books like this? Or travel where they want to travel?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, exactly. And, yeah, so now, how does it work for you now? What is your main source of income? Or how do you combine your different income streams?

Felipe Machado  

Okay, well, I do like, all kinds of different things. But on different portions of time, like the main, the main thing I do is, I have over the last four years, I am represented by a company in Sweden called dip management. And they will manage all my workflow like if a bank reaches me, I will directly direct them into the company’s email. And what they do is that they, they let the bank or company know how much time it takes him to create an artwork in terms of details and time, how much should they pay for it? My time schedule, it’s full on management. Yeah. And that will be like the main income for me. But at the art faculty where I studied I, I’m a teacher. I’ve been a teacher for a couple of years there. And I teach illustration, digital illustration. So that’s another income I have and it takes me in terms of day weeks to afternoons In the classes I have, and maybe another third afternoon, depending on the Wix. And then two years and a half ago, we started this studio, this studio, actually. And that will be like the other income that I have. So in general, I could say that those three working exercises will will be like the platform that I have recently. A few years ago, it could have been specifically doing freelance work for record companies in Europe and bands.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how did you find your, you know, the representation, the management? Like, it’s like an agent, I guess, as well, in the sense. So why did you choose them? Or did they contact you? Or how did that work?

Felipe Machado  

So why the owner of the company with my manager, he’s also a close friend and me, he started a record company a few years ago. And like any project, it started small, he put out first record in a matter of a year, he probably put out, you know, the beginning three records, and then it’s your 10 Records, the name of the company’s old terrarium records, and I did freelance work for him for over four years, directly to him. But it was a steady, steady way of doing city covers, he would eventually need one, once a month, one artwork. And then because of his, his work with bands and being located in Sweden, he, as his company grew, he new recording studios, more bands, photographers, mixing studios, mastering studios, and he created a pretty cool network. So eventually, he thought on on having a new company just in management, which is deep within management. And as we were already working for a couple of years, he said, Look, I would like to representative, I will take care of all the communications filtering, the bad stuff can go into production. And, and he, he works in a percentage, the 30 project. And what he did is that he created like, a different projects, scenarios like he, it was funny, because he mentioned back then, like, I think if in terms of detail, you can create for different groups of artwork that you create, like this will be like full, long detailed is this one took you like a month and a half. Because it’s like, like the top of the list. But this takes you like a week of work. So he created like, different different options and different prices. And we agreed on that price list. And then he just started like looking bands, everything went much more organized. Like my days, like I go into my email, or actually Skype. Sometimes the time time timeframe, it’s a little bit tricky, because I have to adjust into the European timeframe. But I It’s okay, if I go to sleep early, I know I can wake up earlier and be like on Skype. And if I have to take a little rest, but the middle of the day I’ll do and, and everything started to work much more much more easier because he would he sends me an email every day or two days. And he’s like, let’s concentrate on this, we’ll have to finish it by the end of the week. And the next band will probably be this band and goes into the entire so

Iva Mikles  

he helps you also with the planning and prioritization of the tasks along the week or a month. Okay, that’s

Felipe Machado  

everything. I mean, he it is it is a considerable amount of work for him because I’m not the only artist that he manages. But he concentrated specifically on rock and metal products. And but you’re talking to my students a few years ago, I found this web page called hire, hire an illustrator, do you know it? No, actually hire hire from hiring hire illustrator. And it’s like a little community, I can send you the link. And one of the tools they have is like this library of companies that manage and represent illustrators. And you notice that the big cities that that gather, the big amount of illustrators or our production on illustration are like New York, probably London, and then Paris. So you go into their website and they have this directory and they will have links to companies that they will manage you as an artist. You YEAH. OKAY. wants to play Sorry.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So we have a dog visitor. Yes. So what I was thinking about those as well, like, if someone is just starting out and thinking like, Okay, I want to get maybe agent or like, the management of my artworks? How did you maybe agree on the percentage from the, from the work you do? Or what would you recommend someone who is just, you know, in this process of agreeing on like, Okay, what is the split?

Felipe Machado  

Okay, so in my case, with maintaining a 20 25%, on any project that they will get, for me that that goes into production, and talking with other friends and artists that have come here to do workshops that have similar things 20, up to 30%. From taken from the person doing the management is something that you hear a lot, but it can vary.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, exactly.

Felipe Machado  

And the other thing you have to be to be sure about is the responsibilities. So you will have balance with responsibilities, they will have like, what level of communication, if there’s a contract format, who signs it, they sign it with the company with the record company, or you sign it? timeframes? Who, what kind of, of deal for each hours I work with you have in terms of licensing, or who holds the rights to exclusive rights like in for rock and metal bands, it’s normal for them to, to pay a little bit higher, that they will hold exclusive, right, like forever over that artwork. Because it’s like they’re a bunch and they wouldn’t want any magazine, or other band or any other product, haven’t that artwork. But it could vary because the stuff I just digital. And some, some people may have a bigger understanding about which this is sometimes a complicated and fragile subject, which is the value of a file, a digital file. And I read that it’s amazing, but it’s digital. There’s zeros and ones, compared to what I have behind me. Like that’s paper and ink. And there’s only one of those. So people don’t care about that. They just want their artwork, and they don’t care about how it was done. But in terms of for some rock bands. They will only go for a traditional media, for example, which is it’s tough, and it’s romantic about it. But uh, but but some other bands are like I don’t care how, what tools you used, if it looks cool, we’re okay with it.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so your main tool is Photoshop or do you also use like, procreate or you know, Sketchbook Pro, or do

Felipe Machado  

I use I use Photoshop, I have theirs. Here in Colombia, there’s a wake up representative, like their main office is in the States. And that will be like the main office they respond to. And then they have a representative in Brazil, and the one here in Colombia, and they are super cool about promoting artists and doing events. And every year, they will choose two or three local artists to Colombia that they will endorse. So if I have a 2021 high definition Cintiq tablet, but the moment that I would like to change it, they will give me like a really nice price for me to get back the one that I have and get the new one. So they would do that kind of endorsement. And from doing that, of course, I promote the brand and now we would do workshops with them. So it’s pretty cool once at least for me, once I went into into the same tech product. Yeah, it’s a whole different thing. I mean, it’s it’s amazing as a tool.

Iva Mikles  

So if you want to replace your older Cintiq that you would just contact vacum and then just like do a deal with them for the promotion and then you can work or how was this deal made? Yeah,

Felipe Machado  

yeah, the endorsement could work like that. And of course the product will have to be like in good state. But but they do different kinds of endorsement in general. At least the most logical one will be like giving you a special price because you you do workshops with them. I have heard that in other countries in the states the endorsements they will do are higher like purchase Like, like, like they would if they will use for promotion and the image from an artist, they will actually give the product, the tablet to the artist. And many, it happens a lot in the music industry like keytar companies or or drum companies will fully endorse an artist, like, just make sure that you use our brand and our guitar and all your tours and all your recordings and talk about it all the time. And this guitar is yours. And which is a nice thing. I mean, it could, I would imagine, at least in Latin, Latin America, it could get better, it could be more more personalize the level of endorsement from, from a company like a dove or, or awaken. Yeah, but they started to do that here because they know that the one of the best grounds that they could cover is tweeting workshops and live presentations and stuff like that.

Iva Mikles  

And the workshops you do in your own studio, their digital or traditional or kind of both.

Felipe Machado  

Both both in general, like, it depends. We will talk first with the artists that comes in if it’s all full digital will have the platform he needs for a voltage. We brought here an artist called Kekkai Kotaki. He’s from the States with his family. He was born in Hawaii. And he does amazing ink work. So the last day he didn’t do any digital workshops, we just brought in big pieces of paper, and he will go in with a brush, brush, brush pen. And just the final the final class was just on ink and paper and it was amazing.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, so you invite the artists from somewhere and then you advertise it in your local area. And then people will sign up they pay for it. And then you kind of put it all together, right?

Felipe Machado  

Yes, yes, it started because my my friend from school, I was his teacher. So as the on call. We started going to the massive black workshops. I don’t know if you ever went to one of those. But it was now now now there’s one in Europe called a Trojan horse was a unicorn

Iva Mikles  

is plenty this year. I mean, like,

Felipe Machado  

oh, yeah, it’s I haven’t been there. But But in general, I would recommend to anyone interested in digital art illustration or concept or animation. More than going to Comic Con, you go to CTN or to or to Troy and horse or whatever one is close to you. It’s the best thing you can do in terms of networking, learning, just just being part of that community. So we went we went with Sebastian to, to massive lag. And as we were coming back, like, ah, it ended what a magical weekend. But now it’s done. Oh man. He was like, Why isn’t this thing happening back home? Like I did, it was you and me no one else. He was like, Oh, we got to start a revolution back home. So he actually and I was like, yeah, and two weeks after that. He was like, I got an email, I got a response from Android and read John’s. And I was like, what? Yeah, he wants to come here. And I made this calculation. And if you put half of the money and my girlfriend and my friend puts the other part and I also put a part we can bring him and I was like he’ll ready reply to you. And he was like, yeah, he wants to come and I was like, Okay, let’s do this thing. So if that’s something that will help someone out there that has like that little frustration of none of those workshops are happening near my town. Just just start just just invite one artist invite one and then two and and now if I took to talk to friends that have similar studios in Sao Paulo, or Ecuador or even Chile or Mexico it’s been for us almost five years doing workshops and altogether with invited around 12 or 14 artists non stop like doing at least two events a year here at the studio. And and in terms of of production. Just when do you when you create something like this like any other event or project has a balance point on your on your basic idea of production cost, like a balance point is the key. And if you sell more tickets beyond the balance point, good for you. But if you look at it from that perspective, it should work and be practical about things like hotel for them near by your your studio, ask them if they are vegetarian or not before. All that kind of stuff you start to learn as you go. But basically, yeah, we invite them, we have the rate that we will pay for the workshop as either the a two day workshop or a three day workshop, which is nine hours or 15 hours depending. And, and after we put together the travel, and we buy the ticket, and, and all of the important stuff, we start promoting, but we already have a local network, we have a following of friends and kids that are into digital art. And actually, the other tool, which is really good battery, we finish each workshop, we do a survey, we ask, how do we do? How do you liked it? How did you find about us found about us? And also what artists would you like to see. And sometimes we take on their accounting, the names that they will mention. And if an artist is it’s viable, and it’s easy to reach comes out of the survey a couple of times we will we will reach that person. Because that’s important. That’s also part of the community. Like I know, I would say I was dealing with with invited our very favorite ones. But now that you have helped us to put up this, which artists would you like to see some of them are like impossible. Like everybody here wants to see Miyazaki do a demo. I don’t know if that has ever happened somewhere. So we have to round them like

Iva Mikles  

maybe an hour? Yeah.

Felipe Machado  

Yeah. But there’s some really, really favorite ones. Like, with with with trying to reach and doing our best to invite keeping up, you know, his work? Yeah, I

Iva Mikles  

just met him No, and CDM.

Felipe Machado  

He’s an amazing guy. Even without a translator, he’s super cool.

Iva Mikles  

Super, super nice.

Felipe Machado  

So that’s how we do it in the en us, you start to be practical about the structure and how you do your workshops. But this is the best way to learn. I mean, I started with like visual arts, I went to Concept Design Academy, but doing the workshops here is the best in terms of learning, like, like, we’re the more the first fans, and the first ones interested in the workshops, actually.

Iva Mikles  

So how do you make sure like, before we organize the workshop, like when you set the fee for the artists, and then you know, the price the attendees will pay, you know, because you also have to pay the you know, the hotel and the transportation. So do you kind of calculate all of these in advance, or you pay something from your own pocket before. And then you start advertising as you said,

Felipe Machado  

the very first time we each one of us, we, we put a little a little bit of our money to do the very first one, but not from the very start we were practical about it like, like we calculated the general cost of stuff. And as we went along, we noticed that a prices for example, in food will depend on where we would go of course, and in the beginning, we didn’t thought about a travel insurance and and then on the third on the on the third workshop, nothing bad happened but uh, an artist because of the high altitude of Bogota. When you come here, the first or the first few days, it could hit he really bad. And on the second day, he was like, Oh, I gotta stop. I feel dizzy. And he was okay. But I had like, what would have happened if he has to go to the hospital anywhere like, next time you buy like a travel insurance? Yes. And I have a couple of friends that do tours for metal bands. And they come here with bands and I would ask my friend from UCLA Eric bass his name like Eric what happens if one of the musicians to detour with get sake is like always buy travel insurance? Like yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah, cuz you never know. And you want to be prepared in case you know. So that kind of stuff comes along the way but yeah, calculate, like in any other project, calculate the basic cost of staffing. And if it’s a product, then divided by either know the amount of people or the general The other thing that you have to to think about is in terms of the local economy, how much are kids or students willing to pay are able to pay for something like this? Because if I when I tell them how much try and horror As costs, they will like faily will be like, bye bye. That’s yeah. Yeah, of course you’re thinking in euros against Colombian pesos, but it’s hard to to call unfair many times. But being practical about it, that’s, that’s, that’s the only thing I would say.

Iva Mikles  

Definitely. is, yeah. Is there something you wish you knew before you started that the whole artistic journey, not only your own business, but you know, something like this, the travel insurance thing, for example, but there may be something like you will give advice to young self.

Felipe Machado  

Crew. Okay. Draw, draw more. Draw. Yeah, draw in terms of sketching and composing. Draw more, and how you say, like, don’t, don’t go for the first concept or idea that that came out that it had a good feeling. Don’t settle, like on the first concept and draw more and have a full sketch with a month, draw the world that’s surrounds you draw the park, your dog, your Fred, go much more into anatomy classes. Basically, that, yeah. Because from the artists that we’ve been able to invite here, all of them are super awesome. But the ones that I would, after all the workshop and talk to get to them, and in having them here, the ones that I will admire, admire even more after worship, have that in common, they always draw

Iva Mikles  

those as well, ya

Felipe Machado  

know. And like, Wesley Berg was here a few years ago, and we went to a restaurant and they have on the tables. The covering of the table was paper. And he will just take out a pencil and start going, like, did you ever have rested? His like, Oh, it’s just mechanical, I just draw if I see a piece of paper, I draw on the Greeley hills, like Yeah. And you can tell from from the way he composes an image, that the dynamic surface drawing, like if there’s a main road, like like a center of balance, for me, in terms of of the art that I think we like, it’s drawing, you have to draw,

Iva Mikles  

and we talked about the some book references before the recording if you can mention some of your favorite, either art, or, like life books you like.

Felipe Machado  

No, and I noticed on your, on your interviews that you do, which I think it’s pretty, pretty cool for the entire community to know about references. So I did my homework. And I have my top five here. This is number number of one problem, you know, this

Iva Mikles  

book. Yeah. And I think actually, a lot of guests are mentioning exactly this book. So this is like one of the top favorites of everyone seems like

Felipe Machado  

yeah, no, it’s this. This thing is magical. Thank you, James gurney. And color and light. It’s the best in general for painting and illustration and art in general. This is like the Bible, the starting and the end. There’s not a day that I don’t go into this book, finding an answer for a question that I might have. And so this will be like the first one. Did know if you know this one figure in trying to sign an invention by Michael Hampton.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I know it but I don’t have this one yet.

Felipe Machado  

Okay, talking about anatomy, this is the best one out there.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, perfect. Yeah, I have the drone to life, which is kind of similar approach.

Felipe Machado  

Yeah, similar. What I like about this book is the way it’s structured in terms of the analysis of the human body, and how it simplifies and synthesizes the, the idea of shapes and balance and proportions, but also something that some of the anatomy books from a few years back I think, didn’t have which is the notion of dynamics, from the very start composition to the

Iva Mikles  

excellent line and the composition,

Felipe Machado  

everything and number two, so this is number three framed ink by Marco Matos monster.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, exactly. Perfect for comic books or any other layouts. Yeah.

Felipe Machado  

And I don’t I know my top five. It’s probably general top five. It doesn’t matter.

Iva Mikles  

Great. Yeah. This book I also love.

Felipe Machado  

Yeah, composition wise is the best and also being practical and elegant about composition.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So framed

Felipe Machado  

number. Yeah, number four would be drawing animals by Joe quaterly. Perfect. I saw his class on CDA in terms of composition, very similar to to the other book, The second book I mentioned about anatomy, but I love creative creature design. And if you have a basic good knowledge about animal anatomy, you have everything you need for creature design. So this would be number four. And number five is this one that I’ve had recently, designing creatures and characters. Oh, perfect.

Iva Mikles  

I don’t have this one. It,

Felipe Machado  

I think it came out this year. And it’s this book is amazing, because it’s a full one workshop. And it will have like, it has like this, this guide, and it will give you like, three words, as you do the, the assignments are cool. And you can be like super disciplined about the assignments, or, or dude like halfway, and there’ll be like, You did, okay, next time, you can do better. The structure of the book super crazy. But but if you’re into concept art, and worldbuilding really good.

Iva Mikles  

So we will put all the links in the show notes on the website, and that this interview, so yeah, everyone in the audience can find it. But thank you so much for sharing. It’s really great to have this like overview of like, the favorite books, because then people can choose like, Okay, do I like this book? Or do I want to improve in this area?

Felipe Machado  

Right now? It’s, it’s the the important thing.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And let’s talk about the future. And some of my last questions to you would be about, you know, what would be your dream scenario, you know, five to 10 years? And what are maybe the projects you want to work on? Or what would be something you imagined, like, Okay, this is how I want to have it.

Felipe Machado  

Nice. Well, maybe you know that lately, well, not lately. But in terms of the digital art and concept art community, having an personal IP is something that is going around, and combining it with tools like Kickstarter and stuff like that it’s happening, maybe maybe something towards that evolving, like the art community we have here, like the the close friends that we have at the studio, because everybody has his day job. So as Dan works on video games, there’s this other friend called Rudolph that also worked with him and his other friends. And when we gather like to draw, and have a beer, we talked about that. So maybe maybe actually putting them together a personal product. Based on all this gathering of knowledge and an all the information we got from our artists that we invited, that will be something that it’s probably on the do list. But in general, in terms of what we’ve been talking about pushing further and for like the art community here in Bogota, at least in terms of digital art. And, and promoting this, there’s something that actually started already with with a part of the of the art community. I’m also part of a drawing collective called the Halab is, which is the word for sharpener. And we started publishing our own collections of sketchbooks are perfect. So we started producing and publishing our own books, pushing that further into a publishing way of promoting local artists. Because the digital community in Columbus started growing. As the studio’s planned Cataleya started growing. And now there’s more and more and more people get any to this. So publishing is something that we all dream about.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. And do you have like a Facebook group as well for the local people where they can find you? For this?

Felipe Machado  

Yeah, I’ll send you the link. I actually have here like, this is this is the latest sketchbook we we published. And this is like the group of artists. And each one each one has like, like four pages inside. And sometimes it’s thematic on this one. Everybody was doing like dinosaurs I tend to do. And, yeah, we do have a community that’s growing into this, this this group, this collective of people, so pushing the entire community helping, helping in general is like something that that we have an objective view.

Iva Mikles  

So what would you like to be remembered for? You know, like 100 years, is it the building the community

Felipe Machado  

100 years? Wow, that’s a That’s a pretty epic question. It’s

Iva Mikles  

like really?

Felipe Machado  

I don’t know. It’s funny, because in terms of the art that I do, I’ve been really blessed working with most of the bands that I like. But I had, I had like a list of bats that I had to work with no matter what. And it started getting shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter. And as it started getting shorter it, it, I felt a little void inside. It was like, What am I going to do now, which is normal, but it’s not good. Now, nowadays, I really enjoy working for a band that’s putting together their first record, like a couple of kids from whatever country starting their band, and putting out their first record. Now, now that’s something that I enjoy. Like, starting with the band. Yeah. Apart from from I have to work with them. Because I have the record tonight. I’m their biggest fan. So so so yeah, growing up to your slash super big question. Part, being part of the story of of someone else, as an artist is something that it’s, it’s like, it’s emotional. Like, it’s when I see someone with a T shirt, or a record with the artwork that I did. It’s still it’s a really nice feeling about he has no idea that I created that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, perfect. But then so you can do work with someone who’s just starting out and see their progress along the way. So that’s

Felipe Machado  

now now I really have come to enjoy that like seeing a process from the very beginning.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. And before we say goodbye, maybe you can share last piece of advice or key takeaway, and then we will slowly finish.

Felipe Machado  

Now just well, there’s there’s just a guitarist, a guitar player in the rock community, called Steve by inside that community is pretty well known. And he has a pretty cool advice about starting, which is, it’s something that concentrate of what you really love, because it’s the only place where you’re going to shine eventually. And do your best to be elegant about what you do. But the concept of being elegant is really fragile. in particular. I think he he’s trying to say that, that being disciplined and having persistence and not compromising what you love is the only path to have a career that it becomes your lifestyle. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

definitely. I totally agree. And that’s a really nice way to kind of end the discussion, because it’s a really nice thing to think about, like Okay, so what do we do with like, our patient and how to focus it right. Yeah, of course. So thank you so much, again, for being here. It was super nice.

Felipe Machado  

Now, thanks to you, and congratulations on the network you started because I go into a lot of videos and podcasts and somehow I also found Art Side of Life. And how long ago did you start it

Iva Mikles  

just few months ago?

Felipe Machado  

Imagine that and you already have interviewed? How many people

Iva Mikles  

a lot like over 100

Felipe Machado  

What? Well, so well. Now it’s it’s congratulations on that because I know it’s a lot of work. And it helps a lot. I’ve been learning a lot from artists that I wish I would have known about.

Iva Mikles  

So thank you again for being here. And thanks, everyone for joining and I’ll see you in the next episode. Okay, bye. Hey, guys, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you being here. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a couple of free artists resources ready for you on the website as well. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher so I can reach and inspire more artists like you. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Continue to inspire each other and I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the art side of life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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