Ep.130: Learn something new everyday with Francis Boncales

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Mar 29, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Francis Boncales, a Concept Artist, Illustrator, Visdev artist currently working as a background painter in Warner Bros Animation. He has also worked for Hasbro Studios, Mrs. Wordsmith, Duncan Studio.

Get in touch with Francis

Key Takeaways

“Everyone has to struggle through their experiences. It’s those experiences that make you a better artists!”

“Focus on the foundation, try to simplify and only then build up.”

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 Francis for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Francis Boncales, 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 to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists and create variety and related videos. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Francis bone Collins. And in this episode, you will learn about how to network with artists you admire, and why it’s important to work hard every day.

Francis Boncales  

Now usually try to make time to do personal work. I’ll put on a YouTube video of like a podcast of artists like inspiring podcasts to kind of get the flow going. So I’ll try to do something where I’m learning every day because I’m still trying to reach my goals. And I feel like I need to just work hard every single day.

Iva Mikles  

Francis is a concept artist, Illustrator and visual development artist currently working as a background painter in Warner Brothers animation. Besides Warner Brothers, he has worked for many studios, including Hasbro studios. This is worth made Duncan studio, among others. In his free time he is currently working on his own project called Summer of 1962. So please welcome Francis bone, Carla’s 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 Francis here. Hi. Hello, I’m super happy to have you and you took time to join us here and share your artistic journey. And let’s just jump in directly to your background. And maybe you can share how you got where we are now. And when you first realized like, Okay, I want to do art professionally.

Francis Boncales  

Oh, well, before I started, thank you for having me as a guest. You know, I’m really honored. I love listening to your YouTube show. while I’m working. I currently work at Warner Brothers animation. So working on Green Eggs and Ham as a background painter. So when I work, I usually listen to a lot of podcasts. And this is one of them. Oh, that’s yeah, it’s very inspirational. But to answer your question to, I guess, the beginning of my journey, try to keep it short. It took me a long time to get to where I am. And what I you know, just like any other artist, I started drawing at a very young age, but there was a period where I stopped drawing, because I got distracted by other things.

Iva Mikles  

So what did you do Meanwhile, there when you were, you know, like,

Francis Boncales  

you know, I’d play around, like, go outside and skateboard or play music.

Iva Mikles  

So what made you to go back to drawing you know, when you are like hanging out and doing sports and skateboarding because I was doing the same for a really long time. And then kind of decided like, Oh, actually I miss art. Was it the same in your case? Oh, definitely.

Francis Boncales  

Yeah, I mean, you know, when I when I used to draw, like my mom would help me kind of like draw outlines of like characters that I liked, like Power Rangers or the Lion King characters. And then I would just fill in the drawing with color with crayons. And yeah, my mom just kind of like, help nurture that artistic passion in me. But you know, becoming a teenager I kind of like just stopped drawing because I didn’t think it was cool and cool. Pick up the guitar, and play music, all I cared about was playing guitar, you know, being in a rock band or, or a skateboarding, and just just messing around, like, I didn’t really care too much about school. And it wasn’t until about my junior year of high school that I realized that I need to get my act together because I was doing a lot of stupid stuff. And I needed to get my act together and I needed to figure out alright, well I need to figure out a career. Because a lot of people, you know, they the way people saw me was like, Oh, this guy who, you know, just messing around didn’t really care much about anything had really bad grades like and, you know, there was a point where I just wanted to I felt like I needed to prove myself not to only myself but to other people. And you know, I want to make my parents proud as well. So I you know, I that’s I discovered I discovered my my my passion for art again. And it was at the time my girlfriend took me to an art gallery in downtown downtown Dallas because I was living in Dallas at the time and she A you know, she knew I had interest in art and she wanted to go do something on the weekend. So we decided to go our let’s go to a gallery art gallery, and I thought it’d be fun. So we go to the art gallery, and I was completely blown away by the artwork, I had no expectations of what to look at, you know, but when I got there, it was it was it. Um, it was kind of like graffiti art on like, wood panels and stuff, it was really cool. And it had like, some realistic painting as well. So it took it combined, like, traditional, you know, like portrait painting, but with, like graffiti art in it, and I thought it was really inspirational. And that that really sparked my passion for art again, and I want to explore the avenue of like, Alright, let me try doing graffiti art, you know, kind of, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do yet for art. But I was, I was thinking of like, illustration, animation, graphic design. And it took a while to it took a while to kind of find that love for animation again. And it wasn’t until I guess one day I was hanging out with my friend. We walk he you’re just hanging out his apartment. And he he wants to see he wanted me to watch a movie that he recommended and it was spirited away by hockey, and that was so inspirational. And I really, really loved it. And so that got me back into like, Alright, maybe I could be an animator. Yeah. So.

Iva Mikles  

So how did you decide what you want to do actually from like all art avenues, right? Like the animation or game art or because now you work with backgrounds, right? And yeah, so all of the directions like, oh, who helped you decide? Did you have a mentor or someone who kind of inspired you like, Okay, I want to be like that person in the future?

Francis Boncales  

Well, actually, um, so my art teachers from high school, one of them was a plein air painter. And so he really inspired me to kind of like paints, and they really, I didn’t have any direction. So they kind of helped me hone in trying to find my passion for I guess, like, for animation. And I guess one day, I was looking at brochures for college, and I saw a brochure for Rhode Island School of Design. And I noticed that all of these artists that were that went to that school and like all the artwork, and it was really amazing, like, wow, this is cool animation art. And one of the artists that I really admire was Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy at the time. And the last airbender, the creators of The Last Airbender, and so they went to that school and kind of inspired me to like, oh, maybe I could do that. And so that really was one of the things that helped me figure out like, okay, maybe I can study animation, but I’m going back, I know, I’m kind of going all over the place.

Iva Mikles  

It’s a great story, because it’s always really interesting to see how people decide or how they find their journey. Because, you know, like, it’s, some people know already, like, at the beginning, like, Okay, I want to be this, like, in 10 years, you know, like a set goal. But if you like more things, it’s always hard to decide actually, like, Okay, this, this is it.

Francis Boncales  

Yeah, actually, between the, the time that I was trying to figure out if I should pursue art, or art or something else, I was actually thinking of going to jazz school for music. I was studying classical guitar, you know, after school, and my teacher, my piano, a guitar teacher, went to music school. And so he kind of gave me some advice on what I should pursue. And so I almost considered becoming a musician. But I figured that it was a difficult avenue to make money out of, and figure that being an artist would be much easier, which is not easy at all. It’s just as difficult as being a musician. But inside to just go into art. But the thing is, my that was my junior year when I was figuring that out. And then my senior year, I was trying to get my grades up, because my grades were really bad. Because like I mentioned before, I didn’t take school seriously until my junior year. And my, I ended up graduating college or high school with a 2.0, which is terrible, a terrible GPA. But that was because like, I was doing, I did so bad for the first two years of high school, that when I tried to bring it back up, it went, you know, the best I could do was 2.0. And so out of, I guess, four point no.

Iva Mikles  

So four is the best you can have. Sorry, I’m not sure how is it in us? So

Francis Boncales  

I’m sorry. Yeah. 4.0 was like, I guess one of the, I guess the best GPA but my GPA was really terrible and my grades were bad. So applying to colleges was, would have been difficult for me, I wouldn’t have been able to go to the school I wanted to, which is Rhode Island School design, which I didn’t realize at the time was a very prestigious art school. I just saw the brochure, and I really liked it and like, Hey, maybe I can go there. And so, after high school, I ended up going to community college for a year. And I did my best to like, bring my grades up and then reapply for college again. And then, yeah, so day in like, every day, I would just work really hard on bringing, you know, getting my grades up and math, history, all the general education on top of trying to be a better artist. And yeah, I remember I taking my first my first life drawing class and in community college and had no idea what it was. And I walked in, and it was just seeing this naked person up on stage and laughing to myself, Oh my gosh, you know, we get to draw naked people. So I was very naive as an artist, I didn’t know that’s what you, you did. But anyways, so I worked really hard all year, and then reapplied for Rhode Island School design. And that was the only school I applied to. Cuz that’s what that was just my goal. And I eventually got and so I transferred over. And it was a difficult transition. Because, you know, it was in a new area where I’ve never been in Rhode Island, and I was away from home. And I felt like I was cheating the system. Like I didn’t think I was a good artist, but I somehow got in, and I even got a scholarship to go to school, because if it wasn’t for the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college at all. But yeah, it was I was very grateful. But I felt like an underdog for and I still feel like an underdog now. But just trying to get trying to catch up to all the other artists in school who went who knew what they wanted to do at a very young age. And here comes me, just like alright, yeah, I want to be an artist, you know, a very short lived dream of mine. Because, you know, like junior year, where I met other people who were making comics at like, 13 years old.

Iva Mikles  

That can be intimidating. The true. Yeah, because, yeah, go ahead. No, no, I just I wanted to mention as well, like, it’s really hard to do the motivation, right? If you are not sure if you did the right choice. Have you ever felt like that as well? Like, is it the right path for me? Or you were just your heart was set on art?

Francis Boncales  

I mean, in the beginning, I was I didn’t think, you know, there was a lot of doubts. Definitely. You know, I always thought about maybe I shouldn’t I should prove something, pursue something else. Maybe I made the wrong decision. Because I just really struggled to become a better artists and because everyone around me was really good, but I think that helped me get a lot better. And even after college, it I struggled then too, and it took me my first jobs like what right now it’s, um, since I’m a background painter, I’ve been in animation industry for about two years now. And it’s been my goal to go into animation, but beforehand, I actually had to, it took me a long look took me a long way to get to where I am. So like, it took me about four, four years to get into animation, because I graduated 2012. So from RISD, so what was the

Iva Mikles  

first job you go then? Kind of if you can mention for our audience, like, what were kind of the maybe the type of jobs you did you did some game are dried and illustration. So there were like different stages, right?

Francis Boncales  

Yeah, definitely. Um, so when I graduated school, I wasn’t prepared to get into animation. And but I was lucky enough to get work. Actually, I was interaction with like, my last year of college, I was interning for a game company called dirtied studios. I was, I was a environment texture artists. So I was just painting the textures for the environments for the 3d models. And that’s, that’s what got me into kind of like, learning it, learning about the industry of games. And just working professionally, and I learned a lot from that job. And so that helped me get a lot of connections afterwards. So after college, I moved back, I moved to LA to try to find work in animation, couldn’t find work, and ended up doing like freelance jobs on like monster.com or indeed, and luckily, I was able to network with people on on LinkedIn and I found On this one person who was an entrepreneur and in San Francisco, and he, I just emailed him, it’s like, Hey, I saw your profile, I noticed that you you work on games. And I was wondering if you have any job openings available. And so he, he gave me a job, basically. And so I was freelancing on like a mobile app to teach English for kids. So I was making like UI UX design, which I’ve never done before. But this guy gave me a shot. And I ended up moving to San Francisco, because that’s where he was located, and then moving to San Francisco, to work to work with him. And he actually had an apartment, and he was working out of his apartment. So it was just maybe four or five employees. So we all just worked there. And I was there for a month before he decided that he wanted to move the company to New York City, oh, and I was I just, I just moved there. And it was all I was only there for like three or 434 weeks. And before he decided that, and I mentioned while I just moved to San Francisco, I did not expect you guys to leave. So I had to decide whether or not I should take that job or something else. And around that time. Like I mentioned before, the job that I interned for one of my art director moved on to a different company called high five games in New York City. And he reached out to me asked me if I was available for work. And he was looking for a production artist, which is basically a production assistant, but having artistic assignments as well. So so I had to choose between two jobs. And so I ended up taking high five games. And I figured, you know, when I first heard about him, like, oh, high five games, it must be, you know, like a video game for consoles, like Playstation or Xbox. And then I found out later that it was for casino games. Yeah, yeah. And actually, I was actually turned off by it thinking, you know, I don’t know, like, I really want to go into animation, but I feel like this job might steer me away from that, like it might be. I don’t know, I just, I just second guessed it, but I had no other no other options. You know, no one was offering me jobs. So that I really thought was good. So and that was the best option. So I ended up taking that and I moved to New York City. And that was only initially want to be there for a year and then move back to LA to pursue animation again. But what ended up being one year end up being almost four years. Oh, wow. So I was there for? Yeah, New York City for four years. And I was, it was a great job. But you know, I really didn’t want to work in animation. But I worked with a great group of people. And I learned a lot from them. And after work, I would work on my portfolio for animation and take schools and classes and ask mentor, like different artists for advice. And one of them is actually John Tavares, who was very helpful and Kaling, my portfolio, and Pascal Campion. And so I would just reach out to artists that were working in animation, like, Hey, can you look at my portfolio? I was hoping, you know, just try asking for advice. And you know, any feedback would be very helpful. And so within four years, so I was able to,

Iva Mikles  

so you just send the email to John and Pascal and like other artists as well, maybe and you ask them for feedback. So you just like, blindly send them email, like,

Francis Boncales  

Oh, cool. Yeah, I would send them like emails or Facebook messages. I would actually like, you know, I wouldn’t just ask them for advice. I would, I would just talk, I would just start talking to them as saying like, Oh, yeah, I really love your art. It’s very inspirational. I saw your interview with school ism, or, like, Chris, I will lay or something. And, and I would just say, you know, I would try to have a conversation first as a human. Yeah. And that makes sense. In some way. I would like, you know, lead to a question like, Hey, I was wondering if you’d be available for a critique, you know, love feedback and trying to make my work better. And so Oh, yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So the end, because that helps. And as you mentioned, the networking so you comment or like, discuss stuff on social media? And then you also mentioned that you did bid through LinkedIn? Is there some somehow else how you do the networking as well, like when you were like looking for different opportunities or jobs?

Francis Boncales  

Oh, yeah, definitely. When I was, yeah, so I would go to New York Comic Con or San Diego Comic Con at CTN. And I would, you know, make business cards and resumes and show my portfolio around. And, you know, I would reconnect I I would connect with the artists that were boosting. And then later on, I would message them on Facebook or Instagram or find their profiles and just mention, oh, hey, it was great meeting you. I would love to keep in touch, you know, and then just constantly comment on their work and build a relationship first, before like, asking for any help, you know. And so, yes, Instagram and Facebook are very, very helpful and LinkedIn as well. And just, you know, when you’re waiting in line at CTN, you know, for, for portfolio reviews, or just walking around you meet other artists as well. So just don’t just look, I didn’t just look at try to connect with famous people, I guess, I would try to connect with whoever, you know, if I was walking by and I saw someone, Hey, how’s it going? You know, just, and you never knew where that would lead. And I’ve had many opportunities where meeting those meeting, just random people helped me get jobs. Yeah, hope that answers your question.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. Because people are sometimes you know, like asking like, okay, so how do I do networking, if someone is also shy, but if you have options to do like something on social media and go for events, and if you’re stuck in a queue, then it’s also easier to talk to people because you’re there for some time?

Francis Boncales  

Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s great. I love I love talking to people. I’m very social person. So it helps to, it’s nice. It’s nice. I like it.

Iva Mikles  

And so how did you get where you are now? And, you know, just like, did you apply? Or did you join their internship program before? And? Or how did you kind of end up now where you’re

Francis Boncales  

okay, um, well, okay. So when I was working, I’m sorry, I’m probably giving you a long story. No, no, I feel like every part is important. So when I was working at high five games, I felt like I was taking such a long time to get to my career goal. You know, every year we go by, and I would realize, you know, am I still do I still want to pursue our, our animation. And so eventually, after almost four years, I decided to quit my job. I have five games and just moved to LA with no job prospects. So I just left everything and just started a new career, start a new life in LA. And I just, I just got here and I got an apartment, everything I got settled in, but I had no jobs. But I was able to, I would go to I went to I would go to events. And from there, I would get freelance jobs. And so I was freelancing for a long time before I actually got my first full time job. So I was actually my first job was actually at a company at a company in London. So I was doing freelance work. And, and then after that, I was I got freelance through through Warner Brothers. So I yeah, they gave me freelance work for calm on a show called Justice League action as a background designer. And from there, it kind of led me to the it opened a big door for me. So from there, I got a job as a back end designer on Hasbro studios on Stretch Armstrong, which is on Netflix now. And from there, I would just I think my contract was ending at wonder at Hasbro. And I decided to email our message Pascal, as I was messaging a bunch of people, but I messaged Pascal was one of them. And Pascal Campion and asked him if he if there was any job openings at Warner Brothers because I knew that he was working there. And he, he mentioned that there was an opening for a background painter on green eggs and ham and so I tested for that. And long story short. I got the job. And I’ve been there for since June.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, perfect. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So it’s still quite fresh.

Francis Boncales  

Oh, yeah, definitely. And this is my first background painting job. But I’m which I’m very, very happy. Background design is really fun as well, but definitely more of a painter. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

so do you have like, favorite like brushes? Because he will usually work digitally. Right? And so do you have like specific set of brushes for different styles because you have some pieces what I saw like painterly some are a bit more polished, right? Well, of course, it depends what client wants. But so do you create your own? Or do you kind of combine from your colleagues or friends or,

Francis Boncales  

I mean, if you look at my brush set, I have collected so many brushes from so many artists throughout the years that I don’t even I don’t even know like I kind of just look through my brush site and I just choose whatever I think looks interesting, whether it be like a scatter brush or like a brush that has like hue variation. on it. Like, it really depends what I’m feeling at the time. I kind of just choose things randomly. I, I mean, maybe I don’t really know, it’s kind of a hard question to answer.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because I really like your textures and brushes. That’s why I just like also kind of question for me. So,

Francis Boncales  

yeah, I use I use a lot of like photo photo textures of, of like, oil paint or glass or watercolor. And I’ll sort of integrate it into my painting somehow and I paint over it and then just like, it’s like collaging Yeah, just different texts

Iva Mikles  

in the in the color and light wear because it’s really beautiful how you use color and light. Can you maybe recommend some? Yeah, books or courses? Or how did you study and, you know, for maybe our audience can check out.

Francis Boncales  

Oh, thank you for the compliment. I’m actually I really love looking at the colon light book I’m actually looking at right now color in life from James gurney. I love that book. And I also have taken on like school ism classes with Nathan fowkes color and light class, which helped me a lot, as well as that’s assuming Robert Kondo their color night class. So those classes are amazing. And also going out and plein air painting as well. helped me a ton. I’m going out with friends every, you know, as much as I can. And just doing studies from life.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, so when you do studies from life, is it digitally on like iPad? Or do you do it like oils or watercolors or pencils, or well, pencils, not for color, probably, but

Francis Boncales  

I usually use wash or watercolor. But I also do digital planner as well. I actually when I first started doing plein air painting, I started digitally, but I figured, I thought I thought that learning traditional would help me a lot more because you can’t really get rid of mistakes that easily as you could with digital painting. There’s no Control Z. So I really learned a lot from just working on paper. So that really helped me a lot with my current project that that you’re looking at. Our people are seeing right now. I actually started that project about six months ago when I started Green Eggs and Ham. And I learned a lot from my job as well. So learning from the team. And Pascal mentoring me helping me push the light.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, yeah. So can you maybe share like a best advice you ever received, you know, along your artistic journey, or it can be more?

Francis Boncales  

Oh, man, I’ve gotten so many great advice. I think the best thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot more is just focusing on foundation. And just trying to simplify. Because I tend to go over I tend to overcomplicate things sometimes, but I had to remind myself to just simplify first and then slowly build up and just working on your foundations because you can’t it’s it’s just like, it’s the basics. And I feel like it took I would try to there was a point in my artistic career where I try to hop over the fundamentals to just learning. Learning, like I just want to pay, you know, I just I just want to learn, I just want to paint digitally without learning like the fundamentals of like oil painting or glass or drawing the fundamental fundamentals of lighting without, you know, does that answer your question? Yes,

Iva Mikles  

definitely. Definitely. So, yeah, it’s good to practice. Also outside, right, as you mentioned, yeah. Like actually seeing the real light. So no different fixtures. And so did you do the classes first and then you did the life studies? Or did you kind of combine them at the same time?

Francis Boncales  

I definitely combined them at the same time. Well, actually, when I first started taking schools and classes, I would just do the assignments. And and it wasn’t until after that I just continued because some parts of the assignments is to study from life. And then I just continued that after taking the classes because I had I found you know, I found it really interesting and fun. Just to go out and paint because you know, just being locked in to your room just painting on the computer all day just, I don’t know, it kind of just drains me and I just I love being outside kind of like experiencing the environment. Because I think it helps it adds on to another layer to your work.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you have like a favorite use of squash right and so like, favorite brand, maybe or do you just combine different ones or,

Francis Boncales  

like um, I combine different ones right now I’m using Holbein and Windsor Newton.

Iva Mikles  

And then you work from the the basic colors or do you actually have like different shades, which are kind of your favorite tones of colors.

Francis Boncales  

I usually I use the basic like, you know, yellow, blue, red. And just like earth colors like the basic palette of I guess a plein air painting kit. And I would have like a cool, warm and cool of each color. So I have like a warm yellow and a cool yellow, warm blue and cool blue. And then. So I’d have a bunch of different colors on my palette. And that helps me figure out I just mix those colors to make new colors.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that makes sense just to have because I am sometimes lazy, and then I’ve just get the tones, you know, so I’m like, Okay, I’ll just use these ones. I’m not mixing right away from the base colors. So I’m like, Okay, I should do that as well.

Francis Boncales  

Oh, yeah, I mean that actually, I used to work that way too. I was very patient. You know, when I transitioned from doing digital painting to plein air painting with traditional, like goulash. I was very impatient, like, I would just lay down color without really thinking about what I’m mixing. And it wasn’t till doing a lot more that I realized that I should mix my colors first. And then maybe try to capture the local color of an object like, like a brown chair like yellow, yellow lamp or something. And then from there, I’ll try to build up different different tones.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, and like lie that reflected light shadows, and Oh, definitely.

Francis Boncales  

Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And so how does your normal day look like now? Do you still have time to go paint outside? Or, like how many hours a day maybe you draw? Or, you know, like, what do you do for like, you know, motivational relaxation, if you can take us through like a classic day.

Francis Boncales  

Okay, well, that’s why you know, I have a full time job. So I get to work around 10 and have a full day of work until seven and then go home, make dinner, and I usually try to make time to do personal work. This, I’ll make anything, even if I’m really, really tired, I’ll try to, I’ll put on a YouTube video of like, a podcast of artists like inspiring podcasts to kind of get the flow going. And then I’ll, I’ll either do like master copies of famous artists like NC Wyeth or line Decker, I’ll just do painting studies, or work on personal art, you know, I’ll work on an illustration. I’ll start something and then I’ll or I’ll study film. So I’ll try to do something where I’m learning every day. And sometimes I don’t succeed, you know, some days are really tough for, I’ll try to paint or draw and nothing comes out. And then I’ll feel like the day is wasted. But you know, and over time, I look back and I think, you know, it’s good that I did that, you know, at least I tried. So I always try to do something, you know, I don’t I try not to waste any time. Because I’m still trying to reach my goals. And I feel like I need to just work hard every single day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. I mean, that’s great. Just because I guess we never stop learning and just the reaching the goals and setting the goal is also quite important. And so how what helped you to set your goal you know, like thinking about it as we discuss as well like, what type of career and maybe do you do something like a miracle morning when you are thinking about your goals every day? And like this is what I want to reach? Or do you kind of split it into pieces like okay, now I’m working on improving my color or something like that.

Francis Boncales  

Um, honestly, I just have it in my head. Like, I always have it in the back of my head, like just thinking alright, I need to because my goal I’m currently working in TV animation, but I want to get into feature. And so I just always have that in the back of my mind. I don’t it’s not as organized as I would like it. You know, it’d be great to just focus on one thing every every week or something like or you’re saying like, maybe I could focus on color one week and focus on something else another week. But I just I just try to make artwork no matter what and just hopefully, hopefully something happens you know, do you have

Iva Mikles  

something which kind of simplifies your life every day some app or or the favorite sketchbook or whatever it is you use kind of every day?

Francis Boncales  

Well, I recently well, I think it was last year that I bought an iPad Pro and I got the procreate on it with Apple Pencil and that really simplify my life because I don’t have a Cintiq and so I just have a Wacom tablet and my my Mac Pro. And so if I need to draw on a screen, I use my, my iPad. And I also take it. Take it around. So I could do digital plein air painting or drawing? Yeah. So I’m always constantly. It’s like a sketchbook, a digital, computerized sketchbook.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I just still need to, like start working with it. But I’m like, Yeah, everyone is talking about it. That’s a good inspiration from like, it’s not bad. And so do you also have some thoughts about like, personal style, because all of your artworks were look really coherent with the color and light and styling? Do you think it’s like important for young people to just start thinking about the art style? Or it will come like along the way?

Francis Boncales  

Oh, that’s a great question. Let me begin with by saying that when I was in college, I was super impatient about learning the fundamentals that I just wanted to just like, Alright, I want to make the artwork like that. Artists, let me just copy that artist. And let me try to figure out my style, I was so focused on trying to find my, like, a style, that I kind of overlooked the fundamentals. And I suffered a lot from it. And it wasn’t until a lot later, and even until, within the last year or two that I broke away from just focusing on style and just learning this observing from life. And, and just studying from life and learning the fundamentals. Because from there, you’re I mean, every artist already has their own style. So you’ll do it. And even if, if you don’t try, you’re you already have it. And so just focusing on just fundamentals, really just just do that, because I don’t think you should focus on style as much. Because we’ll come out. Yeah, because you don’t want to be a photocopy of another artists, like let’s say, I’m trying to be like, like Bobby Chu, or something, I tried to copy his style, he came up with that style for himself. You know, he discovered it as he was developing as an artist, too, for me to copy him, it’s kind of like, I’m skipping over all the things that he learned. And just getting to the final result, my work will never look like that. And the best thing for me is just to just work at my own pace, just kind of like, put your blinders on and just focus on just improving yourself. I mean, it’s great to look at inspiration, get inspiration from, you know, different artists, but try not to copy it as much. Because I think people will notice it. And it won’t feel as genuine, I think the more genuine. I mean, the more Yeah, you want to look, you want your art to look genuine, and people will respond to that.

Iva Mikles  

Definitely, because it may be good to look at it, as you know, like to understand the simplification, right? If you look at the same object, and maybe how different artists approach simplification of this object, right, and then you do learn the fundamentals. So yeah, that makes sense. Totally. What do you say? And let’s talk about maybe the future. And I would like to know, like, what is your, you know, like dream scenario, as you mentioned already, that feature film and like five to 10 years, if you would imagine, like, okay, so how does your work look like? Or what are maybe the side projects you are working on?

Francis Boncales  

Well, if I would love to get into feature, but my ultimate goal would probably be making my own short films, or making children’s books because I would just love to work on my own projects, and tell my own stories.

Iva Mikles  

Beautiful. Yeah, I’m sure they will look super cool. Because now already some of your artwork, they have little stories, right? Yeah. So you are in the process of developing it already. Yeah, actually,

Francis Boncales  

when I first started that project, it’s called Summer of 1962. I didn’t have it was just for fun. It was just a way for me to work on stuff outside of work away from me to relieve stress. And it was my art director Pascal Campion that told me that I should do more personal work. And at that time, I wasn’t doing that much. And so he kind of challenged me to make new artwork every week. So I kind of it was just like, it wasn’t supposed to be anything, you know, it was just like, Alright, let me just let me just start this and every week something I would I would create something and it became this cohesive story. And after how many I don’t know I’ve done I’ve done a lot now. i The story kind of came organically and now. I’m really and I think the best work comes out But that way for me, like, if it’s forced, like, I’m going to start a new project, it has to be revolved around this story. I can’t. It’s hard for me to finish that stuff. It’s it has to happen organically. So now, you know, now that I’ve made all these pieces from my work, I want to like actually develop the story. You know who the characters are and stuff?

Iva Mikles  

Definitely, yeah, I’m looking forward to see the full story. Because already now it looks super cool.

Francis Boncales  

Thank you so much.

Iva Mikles  

And so will the bad like really far, far future? You know, I always ask about, like, the 100 years and far away, what would you like to be remembered for?

Francis Boncales  

Me mean, I would love to be remembered for? Well, I love helping people. Because I, I struggled a lot to get to where I am now. And I’ve had many artists say many I have, I’ve had a few artists who have reached out to me wanting to pursue the same career trying to get into animation. And I love helping them. And I hope to be remembered for too, you know, that I was very generous, very helpful. And as well as like, you know, being a great storyteller, and hopefully that my work could, how do I say this? People will get inspired by my work by, like, delving into the environment and feeling like they could live in their like, I hope that my work had.

Iva Mikles  

So would you do that with the artwork? And you’re like, Okay, I wish I could go there.

Francis Boncales  

Yeah, I mean, well, I just want my my work to be able to, I want to be remembered for my stories, and that my work looks genuine. Like I I mean, it’d be great. I mean, you know, I I don’t think about it too much these days, you know, I don’t care about trying to be a famous artists or whatever, I just want to be a genuine artists, I want to be the best artists that I can be. And if people can remember that, like, whether it be family or friends. And, you know, that’s, that’s good enough. You know, I don’t care about like the glam having my work on like a big, big wall or a mural, you know,

Iva Mikles  

so we’re Yeah, so everyone, you know, all these, they can reach out to you and try to ask you questions, so hopefully we’ll find the time then. To answer maybe, yeah, that would be

Francis Boncales  

super cool. I would love to help people. Oh, perfect.

Iva Mikles  

And before we finish and say goodbye, maybe you can share, like, last piece of guidance or key takeaway, and then we will like, slowly finish. Okay,

Francis Boncales  

um, well, I have a quote that I want to say maybe that would kind of close everything in. So this is something I stand by. And I would say, this is a quote, everyone has to struggle through their experiences. It’s those experiences, experiences that make you a better artists, not just having access. I think the struggle, and the fight is a good thing.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. Because you need to get somewhere and you have to work for it. So it just doesn’t go like quickly and fast. So

Francis Boncales  

yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. And that quotes by Louis Gonzalez, he, he works at Pixar.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. Yeah. Beautiful. And yeah, thank you so much, again, for being here. It was so nice.

Francis Boncales  

Thank you so much for having me. Really my pleasure. I

Iva Mikles  

really enjoyed all the stories and tips. Just amazing. Thank you. Yeah, and thanks, everyone, for joining today and see you in the next episode.

Francis Boncales  

Awesome.

Iva Mikles  

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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