Ep.111: Great tips on working with clients with Luis Gadea

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Feb 13, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Luis Gadea, a Character Designer, and Animator. He has worked in the animation industry on animated commercials, TV series and as a Character Designer for The Angry Birds movie and The Lego Movie Sequel.

Get in touch with Luis

Key Takeaways

“Know what you want, but adjust your direction along the way!”

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 Luis for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Luis Gadea, 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 five days a week. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Luis Gadea. And in this episode, you will learn some great tips about working with clients and why he recommends to leave good impression in anything you do.

Luis Gadea  

There’s some stuff that they see who works includes us and Brian who is responsible for the time who puts try for a ride. I do like to leave an impression for me that’s really important because like, eventually, you can get a job because of the good information that you left right.

Iva Mikles  

Louise is a character designer and animator who was born in Canada and grew up in Costa Rica, he has worked in the animation industry on animated commercial TV series, and he was a character designer for Angry Birds, movie and character artists at the Lego movie sequel. These days. He’s a character designer at stellar Creative Lab on a feature film and other animated project. So please welcome Luis Garcia. And let’s get to the interview. Welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have Luis here. Hi. Hi, how are you? Good, good. And how are you?

Luis Gadea  

I’m very good. I’m like, thanks for having me here. I’m really, I’m really pleased to be. It’s an honor for me to be here with you guys.

Iva Mikles  

Thank you so much. Like to be here and share your artistic story. And maybe let’s just jump in right away to your like background and maybe how you grew up with Arden. When did you decide it first time like okay, this is like my profession in the future.

Luis Gadea  

It’s funny because like I come from Costa Rica, my family is from Costa Rica is like a super tiny country in Central America. So like, like I grew up with cartoons, like all the art is but I never put together that card twos were like drawn, and then that makes it as a job. I never thought about that. So I do like injury cartoons. And that’s it. But as I was growing up, I saw my sister actually drawing in. I remember when when tiresome came out the movies, she drew tires, and they were like, crazy view the house she drew and like she did a replica of a glen keane drawing. And I got really impressed with that. So I started like, being more interest. Funny thing, like now, like I draw and she doesn’t like she kind of like lost that. But I started because of her. So I started like young to draw, and then like it practice for a few years, but then maybe when I was, I don’t know, 17 years old, I put it together like, oh, this might be a job that they might be available for me. But in Costa Rica, we don’t have like a animation or anything like that. So we just have them at the time, we just had like one school that they would teach 3d by started studying 3d Officially. But I got really into the to the side of it. Even though we didn’t have to the classes, I was always more interested in the concept of the art and of the 3d. So I certainly was one year into a program. It was a three year program. And then I got hired for by a teacher of mine that he had a Tuesday studio. And they were making ads to the ads commercials. So he hired me, he said no, we’ll teach you to the should be fine. But like I first day, they just gave me a scene of short, like a commercial. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Because one thing is to draw one image right, but then like to understand the whole process of animation. It’s not just drawing by drawing right there’s a whole thinking behind it. So it wasn’t big scary. But then I got into to the while I was selling 3d in and yeah, I don’t know if I should expand on that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, sure. I mean, if you think it’s like really helpful as well for like artistic career like how you get there. I think it’s

Luis Gadea  

amazing. Yeah, yeah, because I was it was funny because I was studying 3d and then working as a 2d animator, but like they were training me and all that but somehow I was feeling that I was not mean I was getting it but I was not getting the thinking behind it, because I would see scenes I will check out scenes from the like die nine old men and, and I would read about these need to the rds and all that. And I couldn’t like feel what they talked about with the sub that I was working on. So I was always really curious to investigate more and understand more and but the good thing is that the 2d was helping me into a 3d studies. So it was making sense in bad because Oh, I do this into the I can try to do that in 3d. And I was being successful doing that. But I was not, I felt like I had a need to understand better the 2d animation. And they’re like, after like two years or like studying and working as a 2d animator, I decided to apply here to come in Vancouver to, to the program to officially just study to the ER an entire year. So I did that. And then it’s when when it just clicked like Okay, so now all the stuff that I was doing back in Costa Rica The reason why I was doing it is because sold these things and then he’s like, okay, now I get the entire thing. And it was like, like, my mind is open. And then I can apply that to 3d to even character design to lay out for everything right like it just like open everything. It opened like a door that was closed and I knew it was something missing. And then I just understood in the fact that I don’t know like that, that teacher of mine hire me to do to the even though studying 3d school teacher, like it helped me so much to just combine both worlds. For me, I love that I like to combine all those things. And then maybe we can talk about that because it relates a lot with my art in general Hi, like buying things one day, and then tomorrow may combine different things. And it also it also combined with the mood that I am in the moment. So we can talk about that later.

Iva Mikles  

Why did you choose the Vancouver because there are like lots of different schools and programs. So why is this and how was the move as well and adjusting to your culture as well.

Luis Gadea  

It’s funny because then it’s, I need to go back is still to the past because I am from Costa Rica, my family’s from Costa Rica, but officially I am not from Costa Rica. I was born in Canada, they moved from Costa Rica to Toronto. And they I was born there by when I was two years old. My mom got super homesick. So they move back. So I grew up in Costa Rica, my sisters from Costa aliens from Costa Rica. My dad is from Nicaragua, which is the country above but it’s still in Central America. So I was just like, born in Canada by chance and, and they moved back to Costa Rica. That’s where my family was. So I grew up there. But I never came back to Panama. So I just knew I grew up knowing that Oh, you’re Canadian. I was Canadian. My, my dad. My parents always told me like you’re Canadian. But I didn’t remember anything I can because I was just a kid or two years old. Right? So the good thing is that I grew up being a Canadian. So that means that I can apply for schools here. Yes, it’s much easier for you. Yeah, exactly is much easier. So my dad always told me like, whenever you feel like if you want to go study, you can try to see how it works over there and all that and I always kept telling him, You know what, I’m not ready. I don’t feel ready to just move by myself and just try to conquer the world. So at some point, during that time that I was studying 3d in working as a 2d animator, I just there was a day that I just felt you know what, I’m just going to check randomly on the internet and I I knew a few schools here in Vancouver. I don’t know why just Vancouver because my first thought was was oh, let’s look in Vancouver. Probably I read something about schools or but i did i do remember that my first thought was, oh, let’s look let’s look to thing was Vancouver Film School, fine arts, and a few others were human Coover. And then I wrote to VFS I remember was at lunch from at work and then I just emailed them just wondering the prices in the program. And then like 20 minutes after I got called from Vancouver, like from the school, they really know how to sell the program. So they got the call me all the way to Puerto Rico and they said yeah, we got your email we want to see like,

Luis Gadea  

if you’re interested in and all that, and again, I was just like asking around I was not planning but somehow I was feeling that, oh, if this happened, like, I am ready now to like, just move, leave everything here. So you can then just move there. And then it was like a few months, they helped me to prepare a portfolio to present to people at school. I remember my boss that to the studio that he helped me to put together some life drawings, and he would choose the best ones. And it was really it was I was really stressful to apply Well, now, this is this is happening. And I really need to put together a good portfolio to like a month and then the people from the school kept asking me Hey, are you ready? Are you ready? And then I did it. And then I got accepted. And and then it was time to tell my parents Oh, I got accepted. And then I needed to tell the people the school to the studio, sorry that I was gonna just quit. Because I was gonna pursue these. They were super supportive. Like everyone in general, my life has been super supportive. My parents time from my parents, they were always okay with the fact that I was moving. And the people the studio, they were super okay with me moving. And so I did it. And I didn’t really mean I did it as an impulse, right? Because Oh, okay, now I’m going to learn. But I was afraid because, again, I was Canadian, but I didn’t grow up here. So my English was super bad. And I could understand, but I couldn’t speak really like, easily, right? So I say, Oh, I’m going to have classes in English. And it’s going to be a big deal, because it’s all in English. So I was really afraid of that part of it. But I mean, as first day of classes, I arrive in half of the class is Latinos. So I was super fine. You’re like, yeah, yeah, like, okay, it’s like, solid, fine. So we were, it was good, because somehow it was a really supportive, because we were all in the same spot. Being afraid of all this is all in English now. So we somehow learn to support each other. And even to correct some English words, I remember, like, I will correct some friends, and they will correct me. And so it became more like, Oh, this is so good. This is fine. We can do these, because we have other people that understand. They understand me, they were in the same position. So we were still friends until date. So it was it was a good experience, because we did it. And somehow all those fears, you will it was a sure feel in the class. So we did it.

Iva Mikles  

And how was it better for you to study in like an official program compared to you know, like, online studies, you know, because there are like a lot of options now to find different resources, you know, and a lot of young starting artists are just like, oh, so what should I do? So maybe what is advantage for like, from that for you? Or how did that work? Well, I

Luis Gadea  

do I do like both because there’s some stuff that I learned that it’s been through internet, I’m on type of person that, like, if in the moment, I don’t know how to do something, or you like Google it, and then I want to learn it, and I want to like, like, learn it properly, and then being able to do it. So I do support both, I don’t think I mean, there’s something always that I appreciate more of having a one on one conversation with someone. So I remember in the programming was nice, because we could sit with teachers and like review our stuff and, and they would explain us what the reasons why this is not done well. Or they would put notes or I don’t know, there’s something always in a one on one, that it makes it easier to understand rather than just following step by step on the computer. But again, there’s specific things that I do like to watch on the internet to just to learn. But these days, even I know there are schools that there are online schools that the teacher also supplies like notes. So the end to be honest, I don’t know why would be the difference because I think both work and but personally, I always prefer like a one on one conversation that down and Okay, let’s explain. Maybe it’s because I’m older.

Iva Mikles  

But also it’s really nice to do networking, right in actual school like Yeah, totally.

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, of course, like it’s really important because I keep in contact with all the teachers that I had here in Vancouver and in my first job was because of one of them recommend me and that’s how I started here in Vancouver. So it’s always good because they put a face to the name and they they know and there’s some stuff that for me is really important if you’re in a program that you got to go every single day and then They see who works includes us and right who is responsible some time? Who brings the homeworks on time and who takes care of, I don’t know, who puts the extra four, right? Like, if you’re online, it’s like, they might not see you. So I appreciate that, like I teach as well, from time to time, and I do put in, put attention on those things, like, who takes the time to actually do more of the homework or who just does the minimum, right? So then you start noticing, okay, this person is like that this person is like now. So I do like to leave an impression on every boss, every teacher, every supervisor that I had, for me, that’s really important, because like, eventually, you can get a job because of the good impression that you left, right?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that definitely makes sense. Because also, if you are a studio and you want to hire someone, you want to know if they will deliver on time. And like, if they have like, extra ideas even and just if they’re dedicated to a project, or homework, or whatever it is, right?

Luis Gadea  

It’s pretty nice to see the passion that someone has for it. So yeah, if you go to an interview, it’s good to like, see, those things are? Because there’s really no such thing generally, like, you can studies in so many places, but at the end is like, can you actually do it? Right? It’s like if you actually put down in my case, like a piece of paper and a pencil can you actually draw? Because yeah, I could study for 10 years, but maybe I’m not able to do it. Right. So at the end, like you gotta show that you’re able to write

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, and so how was it? Like, maybe you can take us through some of your stories how you got first paid project or being part of these like bigger things? You enjoy it? Yes.

Luis Gadea  

Sure. Yeah. It was funny because I graduated few months over. And then my first job, like a teacher recommended me to a design position. In a TV animated series, a Yeah, TV series. And I was supposed to be a designer on the show. In the month, the Friday before start, that was a salary base. But the Friday before starting, the producer of the show, send me an email said, Hey, Louise, I’m so sorry. But you no longer have the job. Because we, we we were waiting to hear if the other person with more experience was available. So I’m sorry to say that. So like, I was waiting, like for a month for the job to start. And then the Friday before starting, they just told me that I didn’t have the job. So I was like, oh, man, they fire me. Even before starting that sucks. Yeah. And then I just wrote him by Oh, I’m so sorry. Well, I say like, oh, I’m sad. And I just say like, you have any animation position, because I just graduated from a 2d animation program, right? So it was a design job, but I could do animation. So he said, Oh, sure. Do you do animation as it? Yes. And see, he said, Okay, you just start in two weeks. And then they’re like, Okay, like, these became something good. Right? Then I started as a 2d animation animator, the thing is that, I think by now it’s changed already. But when I started, that’s in 2012. A, we were paid by sick one approve, right? So we were at the beginning, we were supposed to animate between 40 seconds per week. And so that could be challenging for someone that is just starting. And so I had to put extra hours and all that. But then it’s like, it’s per se gonna prove so if you if you don’t get approve your seconds, and then you just get approved 10 seconds in like your check is lower, right? So or if you get sick, and then you cannot go to work, then you’re not producing seconds, right? So then your check is lower. So it’s super stressed. Because then it’s like, Oh, I gotta pay rent, I gotta survive, right? I’ve gotta eat. And so it can be it can be really stressful. The good thing is that I was just starting so as I knew the project in the series, then I got more used to it. So at the end, I remember my friend and I, we started together. And we were the younger guys in the in the crew because everyone had experience and they were able to like produce more than 40 cycles and supervise. But at the end of the series, that after six months, we were able to produce like one minute per week, which is it’s a lot in general but then you understand the show you understand how you can cheat it To look nicer without less drawings and all that. So at the end, it was like, it was so good, even though it was per second approved, and you get a lot of work done. And then if you don’t approve full minute, on the week, the next week, you have more cycles and things like that, I think by now is changing Vancouver. I’m not sure if all the students are like that. But at least my pay my first paid job it was per segment. So it was me it was really stressful sometimes because it like, oh, man, I didn’t, because it’s also part of your the human beings to get maybe stuck one day, right? Especially art, right? Like artist one day, I might wake up and say, Oh, the drawings are not happening, right? It’s not, they’re not as nice as yesterday, then you start like making a whole bubble in your mind is madness than working at all? Yeah, exactly. And then you get frustrated and all that. So then if you get a bad no three days in a row like that, then you start freaking out, right? Because it’s like, oh, wow, I haven’t done a lot in three days. Now, like I would do in a normal day. So then you start learning how to deal with that, of course. But at least my first paycheck, it was like that. It was nice, though. A stressful, but I think it’s it was a good practice to see how I can like manage my stress levels and all that. That was my only job that was based on seconds after that has been a salary. Which is nice. And I think I have some friends who are still doing to the animation. And they they are on salary now. So it’s more stable, I think.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So it’s also less stressful. And so you can actually focus on the on the project rather than like, how many seconds?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, exactly. And then he’s like, Oh, maybe if I don’t, if I don’t, if I didn’t do like, these seconds. I know tomorrow, I do them. So I’ll be getting back in track. Right. So it’s like this balance?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And maybe do you have some tips for like improving like the animation or just you know, going faster? Is it something that you reuse assets? Maybe like hands from different angles?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, that’s, um, it all depends also on the style of the show, right? It depends on if it’s really snappy animation, or is more like slow animation, right? Like in the show that that I started, the good thing is that we were doing really snappy animation. So it was very like Ren Stimpy style. And that was one of the main reference for us to see Ren and Stimpy show. So you can go from point A to point B without any drawings in between, right, and not even a breakdown anything. So they were, they were motivating us to do that. So I learned and that was one of my, like, the nicest things that I learned is like, the beauty of just going from post war A to B and maybe just add one drawing there. And then you can use this mere drawing, which is like those drawings are super deform. So then I got into those things. And then, for me, that was the most fun part of animation is like, Oh, how can I go from this post to this one, with a super weird drawing that if you hit play, you won’t see it. But if you stop, you go like, Oh, wow, that’s around like that. That’s crazy. So for me, that was the part that I enjoy the most. And then you start learning of, oh, I can cheat like this, or I can go from this post to this pose with just one drawing, and then settle. And then the movement is sold. It’s all it’s totally fine. So there, you start learning how to like, cheat, and then you start learning what things your director likes, right? Because that’s another thing or what your supervisors like. And then you start okay, they like these, they don’t like this. So let’s keep doing this. And then again, because there’s a whole group, everyone like they might other people might create, like run cycles or retakes or reactions, and then you can just like reuse them. And then you start building a library, right? Because there’s a whole team right? So it’s, it’s one show, it should all look together the same. So then you start taking from those library and like, Okay, this is done. Sometimes it’s silly because there’s also scenes that I would get that were like five seconds it was just like a pan. So your only job was to create a key in here and then a key here and then the the scene would move and then Stan get paid for the two that so like, Oh, I’ll see.

Iva Mikles  

You know how to do it. So I really make sense.

Luis Gadea  

Yeah. So yeah, like the good For me, it would be to always listen to your supervisor, right. And for me, that’s really important to us because I remember I was, I was really shy when I started because the goal is a big production now it’s so. So I kept like, quiet, but I started to know them. And then I started to ask things. So are you okay with this? Do you like this? Because then it’s like, you create this connection with the person, then you understand the person. And then you can just save time by Okay, no, he’s not going to look like that. So let’s do these. And then sometimes, they’ll give you the freedom to stop. And then you can try new things to see if they like it. Sometimes they might not like it. Sometimes they will love it. And then I remember a few scenes that I really push it a bit different from the storyboard. And then the director really liked it. So like, oh, okay, I can do this, and he’s fine with it, then you start learning. Okay, he’s open to these ideas. He is not open for this, but then we just go. So you start following a path. And then you’re making your own path, but learning from them, which I think is really important. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

so we mentioned some of the asking questions, right, delivering on time, and maybe, what are the other things you learn over the time with working with the big clients? And do you have like other tips for starting artists like what they always should do? Or maybe shouldn’t do like something like a bad advice and good advice?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, like, it’s tricky, because I think, for example, my path was like, I was to the animator, and then I did some storyboards. And I went back to do some supervising for 2d animation. And then suddenly, I got into character design. And I got a call for correcting sign up for the angers movie. And it was out of the blue I didn’t know I was, I wasn’t applying or anything like that. But that was something that I always wanted to do. So in all these years of hours of every work that I had, I was always more into the character design. Even though I was working as a 2d animator, I was always doing character science, character designs for myself. And I was posting them on a blog all the time, I would keep the blog active. And at the time, I was using Blogspot. I didn’t know if someone was watching that. But I kept like posting and then pretending I was talking to someone. But that was my passion. It’s been my passion, like, oh, just designing characters for fun. Okay, I never, I never applied for a cartoon position. But I was working into the animation, then storyboards, as I said, and all that, then I got this call for character design for Engebretson is like, I asked them when they call me like, oh, how do you find about me? And they say, well, we saw your vlog, like, you do characters, and he’s like, okay, then he works like it. It does work. So for me, like, something that I learned, like, if you feel like something, and just do it for fun, and I keep saying that, like, just do it for fun, then you people will see when you do stuff for fun, or you were forced to do something. In my case, I always like characters in Adam. Try not to put pressure of how I design them. Like, I’ll just do it for myself for my own practice for a long time. And then you can tell I enjoy that time, because it’s again, like I was saying, earlier, I mix materials in general. So like, oh, today, my mood feel like mixing crayons with, I don’t know, something like, no markers or something like that. So then I have fun doing it. And then people relate to that. Oh, that’s cool. Like is very different than tomorrow. I might be always just with ink and all that. But that becomes my mood, and then it translates to my art. And then I use it for fun. And then people relate to that. And then Oh, I get a call. People liked what I’ve been doing. So for me, I always say like have fun doing it. And don’t do it because especially these days don’t do it because of the likes with the social media, like some people just adapt to a style because that sounds really popular in the moment. They just do it because they want the likes. A but really they don’t. Maybe they might not understand the style as well. So they just do it because of that but I tried to just do it, cuz I have fun doing it. So even if it’s like not super good quality drawing, it’s fine because I had fun doing it. And I know I’ll put pressure for my own work. Like if I am at work, of course, I’m not just gonna leave it like ugly, right? I will make sure that it’s well done. And it applies to the rules of the show and all that. But if you’re really like approaching something or you want to, like, get to a job, just do it because you have the passion of it not because someone or pressure of someone else telling you, oh, you should do this, right? It’s like, no, if you really liked something else, just do it. For the sake of your own happiness, and then you’ll just translate to your heart and people will see and you will get colds. And it’s a long process.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. Because some people get impatient like, Oh, I am, like, slow now. And yeah, I’m not improving, but they are improving every day, every minute if they if they do something, right.

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, it’s fine. I like I was saying, like, I don’t think there’s perfection at the end. Like, if you draw 10 drawings every single day, you’ll see the progress. Eventually, you’ll see oh, I was doing it like that. I always do. Like a little exercise, I take a really super old drawing when I was a kid, I tried to redraw it these days is like, Oh, you can tell clearly that. Learn something, right? And the good thing is to be your own critic. You create your own critiques, because then it’s like, oh, you’re realizing all the mistakes is leaving this old drawing. And then that means that you learn something right. Now you’re watching, right? So you’re always, you’re always getting better. I don’t think there’s a point that you’d say, Oh, I’m the best, right? Yeah, yeah. I think you get to a point. So

Iva Mikles  

yeah, and when you were starting, you can like basically take whatever pencils pen and now do you have like a favorite brand, or like favorite paint, like, Okay, I cannot live without or whatever.

Luis Gadea  

I was getting like that. And then I say, Now wait a second is not it’s not like that. I should be able to use whatever how around. So I’m kind of approaching that right now. Like, maybe like a, like a year ago or something. And that’s something that I’m trying to like I’m opening YouTube account, which is kind of like going towards that is because I get a lot of comments of oh, what brand is that pencil? Or, or that? And it’s like, I’m trying not to get into that because it’s not the brand. It’s you taking something and then creating it because you’re having fun, right? Yeah. So I would say that I love crayons. And, and like markers like the Copic markers. And, but but I like ink. I like kids material. They’re nice because they’re different is hard to control. So but for example, I’d work I was used Photoshop. So the programs that I would would use for freelance or for work is Photoshop, Flash Toon Boom, After Effects. Those are like my main four. But again, well, I used to use Maya when I also in 3d, you haven’t opened in a while. But those are like for general like freelancers and work. But for my own practice, I just use watercolors. I normally don’t care about the brand, even though I know their brands are better. And he just writes nicely and all that I don’t I’m not concerned about that, because I don’t do. I’m not trying to like beautiful watercolors. I just use it to express myself in the moment. So am I use kids watercolors? Or am I use crayons today, or just regular ink, I have an ink that a friend gave me like a few years ago and it’s still there. So there’s no branches, I use it. So if you see my art, you’ll see that I just mix stuff, because that’s how I’m feeling in the moment. Sometimes I go like crazy when I mix these and so recently, I just did a video of just painting with coffee, right? If you don’t have anything around, you can just create make your own coffee or go buy your black coffee and then use it then it works as a watercolor kind of smell nice.

Iva Mikles  

experimenting with different materials. Yeah,

Luis Gadea  

I’m really I support that so much. So it like just experiment. A

Iva Mikles  

girl find something you know you love.

Luis Gadea  

Exactly, exactly. That’s the point is like a lot of people ask me, oh, how do you find your style, whatever. Like, it’s hard because I’m still finding it. I don’t think I will. I’m happy that someone sees it as a style. But I feel like I’m still fine in it in with all these experimenting is like you find your own way of creating things because I always say like, this is my approach of doing things. That doesn’t mean that this is a way I don’t I don’t believe in. For example, if you’re in school, you do have steps to follow right and once you learn them, you can just learn how to break them, right? It’s like the super old saying, but is the same when you approach art is like, I find my own way to combine things. And then I might say, Oh, I can do things like this. And then like, it becomes a workflow for me, it might not be the same for you, because you might not like those materials. But then is when you start realizing your own workflow and your own materials. Yeah, because again, if I, if I tell you, I love this brand of pencil, maybe you might not like it when you try it, but then you bought it because I told you to buy I know, but

Iva Mikles  

I think at least for me, it’s really nice to hear what other people are using, you know, so I can try it. I can try it in a shot. I don’t have to buy it. And then I see if I like it.

Luis Gadea  

But yeah, and that’s, that’s awesome. Because then you’re you’re, you’re trying to see how far you like, which I totally support that. A. So yeah, like, if you want me specific brands, I wouldn’t be able to tell you because I don’t Adam by brands, I just find like, if I mean, you know those dollar stores? Yeah, I just go there. And then oh, I’ll try this. And it’s a lot of my things are like that. I do use copy can Prisma colors. Those are the marks. But I did find the other in $1 like store markers that are like a competition for copies by them. And they’re Oh, they do a good job. Yeah. So

Iva Mikles  

the dollar stores here. It’s no

Luis Gadea  

good, though. But yeah, like I just buy like materials, I buy whatever I’ve see. And I go, Oh, I might try this. And then then I just tried to buy, for example, color pencils. I just get the ones from kids, whatever. It’s I have a mix of brands of kids color. And yeah, I’m really like that, because I don’t know, I just like to try different things. Said with one and then that’s it? Do

Iva Mikles  

you have maybe some recommendations for books you maybe learned from or something you would give as a gift to an artist?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, as an artist. For me, it would be the illusion life which is like the like the Bible for animation. And then animators survival kit from richer Williams that’s like the, from me that I learned of at least for animation, it just just it tells everything. It’s crazy. And for me those two are like the main but these days is because everyone comes up with a book and then you want to buy it and then you learn so much from it.

Iva Mikles  

So much to learn. Yeah,

Luis Gadea  

it’s like on Amazon or like now we kickstarted artists read a book and then just by opening a book of illustration, then you learn so much, right, but at least those two for animations are like, my favorite ones. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And you were also part of the the book masters of anatomy, right, both volumes. So how did this happen? And they contacted you, or how does it actually work? This collection of the artist?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, it was it was crazy. Because again, it they call me because they saw my blog. So they saw that like characters and I do that and then they contact me. I remember I was on a break at the time. I was two week break. And I got I got an email for the first one. And yeah, and they just told me oh, we’re interested in your stuff. We’re putting together a book with a bunch of rd secrete. The first one was a rotation of a male and a female. Yeah. All right. Yeah, it wasn’t turned around. It was like three views. So they were they were inviting artists just to create a turn around with no subject. He was like a male and a female. Yeah. Then I said and I saw the lineup of rd so they hide like oh, wow, are you sure you want me there? Because I’m not as big as those guys. And and so I said yes. And and it was super fun to create. And then it was nicer to get it and see the older artists like doing their own stuff. And it’s like, sometimes it’s nice because you see the pages and and you see a big artists and you go like them and I should have thought about that. I didn’t think about that. And which is nice for me that’s inspiring when you feel like oh man, I wish I could think like that. Because then it’s like it’s opening your mind. Okay, I can do things like that as well.

Iva Mikles  

But it’s so interesting to see the same subject done by different people.

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, totally. And then it’s fine because sometimes there are a few artists that you do use you see that they thought the same, right? Yeah, it’s crazy like oh, wow, this really similar even though they didn’t talk about it or they don’t even know each other. But they say idea is really interesting to see all those things, even differences or, or really similar ideas. And then yeah, that was super fun and again, I it was the contact me because I was keeping that blog really active, which is something that I also believe in, especially these days, so, so easy to keep active on social media and keep posting, and all that. I think that’s how you get to know people in or at least other artists. And then after the first book was done, a I don’t remember how much was between each other. But the second book, The idea for the second book came out, he was about doing doing a redesign of the Robin Hood story. And, and that was more fun because he was just like, designing the first book was all in black in black and white, no colors. And then the second was okay, now we want you guys to colors. And it’s it’s gonna be eight characters and full life. Yeah, yeah, it’s a full line of the good guys and the bad guys, which is really, it was really fun. I was really excited about it. I remember I was super busy at the time. So you’re like, Oh man, I need to finish this. Because I was really busy at the time I was working on Angry Birds. And I was super busy. And then oh, I need to do this and I was able to finish it right on time. Then again, it’s like we got the book and it was it was really nice to see the whole I think for the for the sake of onward they had more artists and also more artists in the animation industry.

Iva Mikles  

So how does it work? Kind of where it’s like nice passive income right I guess because when they’re putting together the book they pay you like percentage of the Commission’s or if you don’t mind me asking if you can share like

Luis Gadea  

it’s okay, I know they pay you per share. They pay you off the like a final amount. So it like they pay they say okay for the Tartars we pay you this was just one one payment. Yeah. And then that’s it. They don’t they don’t pay you commission or or, or

Iva Mikles  

for like a print book or something. Yeah,

Luis Gadea  

no, yeah. Yeah, they don’t do that. I heard some people saying that. That was that was not the way it should work. But But again, that was the way this one works. So so it’s like yeah, they pay you like they pay me like a full month for the eight like the eight characters. And that was said you you just on get for it. Like it was a Kickstarter, so they didn’t do like oh, the Quickstart he points you can more within do anything like that. The only thing is like they would send you the print of the book of course right like a copy. Yeah. So yeah, in for both of them were like that. So a you would you would sign the like the contract and then they would pay you for depends on the artist. I know. Somebody’s got paid after they complete the job. Somebody’s but we’re pay as a beginning for me. It was both cases of first book. Oh, God paid before I started and then the second book book was paid after Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, sorry. I’ll continue.

Luis Gadea  

No, and then it was like, they pay you and then we would send sketches to them. And then they they might sometimes send you like notes. Really specific notes, not not about changing design or anything like that. But really specific notes. And then we would get those notes and then start working. I would I would show some stages of the drawing. Until then final drawing is the use send any full solution and all die.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, interesting. Yeah, I was just wondering, like, what would you maybe advise someone new and starting out? You know, like, if someone like this will approach you like how to negotiate your price? Would you tell the book publisher or whoever movies to do like, Oh, what is your budget? Or would you give them right away your pricing? Or how does this negotiate?

Luis Gadea  

Let me even learning not just today, but if I’m freelancing. I do I normally charge and it is tricky because artists are going to tell you different things. I’ve asked around a in a least personally, I got to a point that I if I’m freelancing I’m charging per hour, right? Yeah, so I’m charging for our specific amount. And of course, if you’re just starting you cannot charge us someone with a lot of experience of yours right. So there’s there’s a balance. But right now I’m per hour now I found my approach by Studio four or, like a contract of, I don’t know, six months or something like that, then you do charge different rates, like, oh how much I’ll make per year, right? And then it’s like that. But their project is that they might have a, like a budget specific budget for I don’t know, let’s say, let’s say a client comes with five characters that need to be signed in, they have this budget. So what I first do is like, okay, let’s divide that project into the amount of time they want to see how much it would be per hour. And, and then you see, okay, this might be close to what I what I charge, or if it’s too far, and then you think it’s gonna be a lot of work. I would say that, and something that I learned, like, when you when you start you, you feel afraid of saying no, because, oh, you’re gonna lose the client, right? But, and it’s really hard to teach, because when you’re starting, you’re always gonna think like that. But when you are now, you have the experience, you say, well, it’s not worth my time, sometimes to do it for a really low budget. Because sometimes they just, they just pay you so little for the amount of work that it is. So I got to a point right now that I value my time. And I know I could be doing something else, rather than doing something super cheap, is going to take most of my time. So but again, I say that to my students, but I know when they are in the spot, they might say yes, because it’s really hard to because yeah, yeah, exactly. And I’ve been there, I’ve been in that position of studying and saying, Oh, sure, I’ll take it even though it was gonna be a lot of work. But I say it because like, now I do see it. And I say, Well, you should at least do that. Like, if you see the budget, try to do the math and see how it’s gonna be per hour if it’s worth, because I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be another client that is going to appreciate your art. If they’re contacting you, right? It’s because they like your art, then you can you might be able to, like, ask for a little bit more if you think it’s too low. But yeah,

Iva Mikles  

thank you for sharing. I think it’s really good tips. And like, yeah, people always need to like figure out how it is at the beginning, like, oh, maybe you started with certain amount, and when you have more demand, then you can higher up the price, obviously.

Luis Gadea  

And that’s always like that, right? Like when you start you cannot pretend you’re going to charge like someone with a bunch of screens in shows and TV and feature film and all that. So you got to be realistic, right that your student and I, but then it also depends on your CD as well. Right? Because maybe human Coover they pay different than our no another CD in the world. So you might also want to ask your I always asked my when I was starting my teachers from school I asked oh how much like the prices here how much people pay here. So you start getting an idea of how much it’s in your city and how much they’re willing to pay. So it’s always good like I always I’m someone that always ask I feel comfortable asking the people that is close to me that are in the industry and they have more years of experience so I always like if I have a question I just emailed them and they are normally they normally give me an idea and then I can okay let’s balance it out and then apply it so yeah,

Iva Mikles  

very Yeah. Very good idea. Yeah. To ask around and specifically the area like yeah, because yeah, it’s different.

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, like a for example, in Costa Rica they don’t pay like they would pay include Vancouver’s right so different Exactly. So like if I do a premium for Costa Rica I need to be aware that there for sure they’re not going to pay me like they would apply in in Vancouver they’re going to pay me so gotta be releasing readapted for that right in Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And let’s talk about the your project maybe something like what is coming up or you can share which is maybe not confidential. We talked about like like a movie for a bit before the recording right that we both work on even though me on the first one you on the second one.

Luis Gadea  

I was telling you at the beginning, before we started like I just finished Lego Movie two two weeks ago. I was a character artist there for I worked there for 10 months. And before that there was a gap. I finished Angry Birds Movie was a character designer, designer again. And then I had like a six month break that I just freelance I needed like a break for the studio. Then I just did some freelance that I did a few shows did some character design for a few shows. So, sadly, I cannot tell the name because they’re not announced yet. Yes, hopefully really soon, because they’re really cool shows. Then I signed the Lego movie. I just finished that the movies coming out on 2019. So this is still a little bit more. And then right now I’m working on another couple of shows, I can’t I cannot share. I’m sorry. But this is how it is like I cannot like, say, but I am freelancing right now. I might be starting other projects, or in the talks. But yeah, like I normally when I’m freelancing, I go back to the people that I know, it’s interested in my art. And I say, Hey, guys, I’m free a little bit. So if you guys need help, and then I’m free. So I am helping officials to do character development, to explore characters to expressions to poses just to see how it translates. And the good thing is that normally, they like the people that contact me like, like my art because of my 2d and 3d background. Because not only for 3d shows, but they they know that I can approach it into the way and then understand more of it. And I understand the steps of 3d because I study 3d. So they see the value of that. And then on my side projects, I’m working on my own stories. And then right now I’m putting all my energy on that YouTube channel that I’m trying to create a just experiment with every material that you have around you to create art with no pressures. So that’s like the my side, my personal side project is that YouTube thing that I just started like two weeks ago,

Iva Mikles  

perfect. So that will be still like quite fresh and new for everyone. And we can also, of course link to the show notes. Yes, people can check it out. And let’s talk about the future. And some of my last questions are about this. And I would like to know, where would they see yourself in like five to 10 years, and what would be your dream scenario.

Luis Gadea  

That’s, that’s, that’s tricky. I always think as myself that like, I think soonish, I would like to be the card design lead, or the director or the characters and director of either a feature film or a TV show, I’m really, I’m really interested in doing that, in a medium short term. To just do that. Later on, I would like to try directing, it’s something that I would like to I need to learn a lot still. But I would like to direct or at least, maybe not specifically direct, but at least create something like a show or a feature film, a maybe the idea, and maybe the the art. And then if I get two extra, if not, at least to create that in like, keep some feedback or you know, that’s like the at the end, I would have loved to be doing that. And aside, I would love to just I remember there was a question that you you asked me about a? How would you like people to remember you, right? Like, for me is like someone that have fun? Creating art. For me. That’s, that’s how I do stuff. For me, I support that 100%. So for me, I would like that to get to a point that everything that I do people see that I have fun doing it. And if that translate for me, that’s all everything. They’re one like people to translate that right. So, but yeah, for short term, I would love to design something, be the leader. And then as a long term, to create ideas and get known for that, like, he created these show or for this feature the story and even if I direct or not, that doesn’t matter, but at least create something.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that’s perfect, then is there also something you wish you knew before you started the whole art career? You know, like something do help you through your struggles or kind of hard time?

Luis Gadea  

Yeah, I wish I knew. I don’t mind anymore, but that it would take so much time. Sometimes Do you think oh, it’s gonna be just a couple of years. But it’s not like that, right? You need to put a lot of time into it, right? I’m the type of already that I wake up really early in the morning, I practice for an hour. And then I get ready to go to work and then I go to work. Then I come back. I eat and then I go back to practice. Because even though you’re practicing the work you’re like, then I need to practice on my own things and that’s When I experiment with everything around me, but it just takes time, right? You need to put the time to practice, right? Is it I don’t lose myself, I don’t get settled just with the time that or work. For me, I I experiment more in those free time that I have for my own art. So I wish I knew, you need to put a lot of time. Because normally, I don’t know, at the beginning, I didn’t think it was done much. In, in again, it wasn’t born with knowing how to draw beautiful, right? It’s like, I gotta practice to be able to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish. Right. So now I know it and I don’t mind. And it’s part of my my day to just take some time to, again, have fun doing it. And practicing to get to a level that one right. So that’s one thing.

Iva Mikles  

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

Luis Gadea  

Awesome. Yeah, no, I think my my advice would be like, especially in my in my case. I knew what I wanted. But I started through other ways, right? So it’s really important that you Yeah, it doesn’t. I mean, there might be exceptions that they say right away of what they want. But in my case, I knew really well what I wanted, which was doctors car to sign. But I wasn’t good enough at the moment when I started. So I started somewhere else. But I always kept track of, okay, I want this, if I take this path, I might not accomplish that. So let’s go this path to eventually get to there. Right. So, for me, that’s an advice I tell my students like. And it’s things that you might not know when you start, right. But as soon as you started, either online school or program, you started knowing Oh, I might not enjoy storyboards. But I might enjoy more animation. So you start finding out about yourself as the years. Go. So for me that’s really important potential what you have more fun doing? Yeah. Because normally when you’re assuming you try everything, right, that’s part of the nice thing, right? You try servers you try back when you try and character you try. You try animation, you try lighting, try all these amount of information, then you start noticing, Oh, am I not like so much modeling. But I might like more character design, right? So put attention to all those things, because then it’s going to lead you to the ultimate goal that you have, right? That was my case, in so I remember I took I did some storyboards. And it was super fun. But I didn’t have so much fun. I was really stressed every single day to a point that I didn’t want to draw after work. And for me, that’s a big issue, because I love to draw up to work. I look forward to go back home and draw. So I was having that. And it’s like, oh, this is not good. Because this is this is not really what I want. Even though it was fun. And I learned a lot. I also learned that it was not for me. So I say okay, maybe next job is not going to be these because I know I’m not having fun. So let’s go towards this. So that led me all the way to what I’m doing right now. And it’s the thing that I wanted. But there’s so many steps to go there. Right? And it’s fine, because then you learn so much things in general for production, that you understand how it’s approaching. So yeah,

Iva Mikles  

definitely. Yeah, perfect. They totally agree. That’s really good to experience different paths. And like at least find out also what you don’t like and what you do. Yeah, totally. So thank you so much again for being here.

Luis Gadea  

Oh, thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be here. So

Iva Mikles  

definitely and thanks everyone for joining and see you in the next episode.

Luis Gadea  

Thank you guys

Iva Mikles  

hope you guys enjoyed this interview. 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 little freebie waiting for you so go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our site of life book cast, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget 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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