Ep.62: Marta Nael about her distinctive style and building her community

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Nov 29, 2017 •  Interviews

Marta Nael is a Spanish artist currently working freelance and previously for the publisher Ediciones Babylon. 

Marta’s love for art started at a very early age because she always knew what she wanted to do when she grows up. She has a love for all artistic disciplines but after completing a Fine Arts degree she started to learn digital art, matte painting and concept art, something which has enabled her to embark on a variety of projects from books and musical album covers to background illustrations.

Get in touch with Marta

Key Takeaways

“Work, work, work, don’t give up and try to achieve what you want. Believe in yourself but stay humble!”

Resources mentioned

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

All artworks by Marta Nael, 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 it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva, and my guest today is a fine and digital artists from one of my most favorite cities in Europe, Barcelona. From a very young age, she knew that she wanted to be an artist when she will grow up. After completing her degree in Fine Arts. She started to learn digital art matte painting in concept art, which enabled her to work on variety of projects, such as books and music album covers, concept art for video games, and marketing illustrations for a client like blizzard and Deep Silver. Her style could be described as a game of live in color, which gives way to colorful and painterly illustrations. She’s most known for her paintings of a strong female characters. She has won the image in ethics rising stars award and expert manga best Spanish illustrated do her work has appeared in many art books such as digital art masters exotic sketching from imagination in prime books. In the last seven years, she published four art books, and only recently she embarked on a full time freelance journey. So please welcome Marta Nael. 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 my guest here, Marta Nael. Hi.

Marta Nael  

Hi, thanks for inviting me. How are you? Fine. But I’m okay.

Iva Mikles  

But let’s start with your background. And maybe you can share some of your stories from childhood when you are being creative for the first time.

Marta Nael  

I think I’ve been training as far back as I can recall, like, since I was five years old, and my parents were talking to one of my teachers. And he told them that maybe they should enroll me to an art school after classes. So there is started to pay with oils and charcoal and pastels. And I think it was yeah, how I started. There is where my love for art started. And I was quite confident in what I wanted to be as a grown up. So I was saying all the time. Yeah, I want to study fine art. I want to be an artist. And I think maybe most of the people thought it was like something that would change in time. But yeah, I was like, Yeah, this is what he wants to do. So yeah, you

Iva Mikles  

already knew when you were a kid, like okay, this is what I want to do.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, it was it was. I don’t know what some people said that maybe I couldn’t do anything with that. But I was I don’t know, I’m seeing all this stuff in films and video games. I want to do that too. And yeah, I finally went to, to fine arts college. And I Yeah, after that, I started having my first commissions. And I started to work for Spanish publisher. And that’s it.

Iva Mikles  

So how did you do it? For first, maybe, how did you choose the school? Like was it in your area or someone that advise you to go to that school?

Marta Nael  

I’m in I was living in Barcelona back then. And there was Fine Art University. So I was, I don’t know, I didn’t know if there were many other options. And I thought that maybe we would be doing a bit of traditional and digital, but it would have been just traditional. So I was a bit like, disappointed with that. But I don’t know it was it was great because it had some professors that introduced me in some sort of flattering color process that I really enjoyed. Was was great.

Iva Mikles  

So did you find kind of your art style or the things you do in your artworks already in college or like it was later on?

Marta Nael  

As I was mentioning, it was there was a professor that introduced me to this kind of learning color process. And we were asked to paint sound like models and we had to like create some sort of abstract foundation first, and then we had to paint over it and also erase some parts to get the paper color back. And it was really interesting because we had to achieve that in a really short time and been with Latin color mainly not not using like some line sketch. So it really made me like, in terms of this time. And when I was finishing my, my fine arts degree, I started to try a bit of digital painting and trying to intuit to take all that I have learned during college into the visual digital. So it was really helpful.

Iva Mikles  

Do you have like, favorite colors you use when you start your like foundation painting? And

Marta Nael  

I usually use turquoise, mainly, I don’t know why. Some kind of neutral color, but it’s mainly turquoise, or maybe some sort of, I don’t know, pale orange, but it’s not really saturated? Because if not, then I get a bit lost with all these colors, it has to be some kind of neutral color.

Iva Mikles  

And do you have like some special way to organize the colors? Because you have a lot of colors in the art? So is it something that you use? I don’t know, cold colors on the light and the warmer colors on shadows? Or how do you

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I usually try to choose some either cold and warm colors for shadows and lights, just trying to keep it like more balanced. Because if otherwise, if you just use ones for lizer called colors for shadows, it would be like a bit, I don’t know, the harmony of the painting, the colors would be a bit lost. And also I tried to choose like some excellent color that stands out from the rest, like to keep it the point of interest in the whole composition. So

Iva Mikles  

cool. Do you still work with the live models or now you also draw more from your head like the poses and portrays and expressions.

Marta Nael  

I tried to look around for some references on the internet and also take some pictures of myself especially for the light. Like you don’t have to do a woman doing this then I maybe I moved my phone with the light, you know, doing this and taking some shots on my laptop. So it’s really funny. But yeah, so yeah, I have like a second screen where I put all my references while painting.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, cool. Cool. So for example, if you want to paint like character with a long hair, you have a reference for hair for lie. Yeah, it’d be for color or something. Yeah,

Marta Nael  

that’s it. Yeah. Perfect.

Iva Mikles  

And when you mentioned some of your professors from the college, do you think there was like the the most influential mentor you had? Or did you have other mentors or someone who inspired you?

Marta Nael  

It was mainly one professor, but I had also another woman, which was remain influential on me. Like, I think she was like, somehow really friend with the other one. So they had kind of the same style. And yeah, I think both were really important in my mind while being at college.

Iva Mikles  

And what did you think was like the best advice you ever received?

Marta Nael  

Um, maybe it’s the same. I always try to tell people like work, work, work. And when you think you have to give up, just work again and try to achieve what you want. And try it. Try to be creative with yourself, but still try to be humble. So I mean, you’ll get have to believe in yourself. But you have to be humble. So they’ll be the most you have the perfect balance.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, perfect. Definitely. And what about the like the worst advice? Have you ever received something? Like, which maybe you change your opinion later about? Or you see is like, this is like given to young artists nowadays and you’re like, that doesn’t really? Yeah, no.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I think it depends. Some people think that maybe you don’t have to use references, for example, all those things that you have to use them in order to know how to use anatomy and light. So I don’t think there’s a bad advice. It depends on the way you you want to paint or maybe how slides you want to your paintings to be. So maybe if you want to paint some comic art, you need to do more like in your head because you have to achieve some sort of really difficult points of view that are not real so I don’t know I don’t think it’s I’ve never had any bad advice but I tried I tried to get a bit of everything that like the different things people tell me I try to learn from everything just as possible.

Iva Mikles  

And and when you were learning also, did you study other artists as well just for learning purposes or not? Really it was more the real life world?

Marta Nael  

Um, what did a bit of both I mean, it’s always interesting to study the old masters and do some studies from the work and but we also went outside and painted like plein air, some landscapes. And yeah, it was, it was great.

Iva Mikles  

And do you have some recommendations for the old school artists like really like old masters, which are your favorite? Maybe

Marta Nael  

there’s a Spanish artist called solo. Yeah. Which is kind of in presenteeism style and using, like color and light in a way that I really love. I also love Turner for the same feeling of that mood, pullover, you know, color, but but still somehow lose style. So I would say, yeah, those two are my favorites.

Iva Mikles  

Cool. Yeah. I think I actually visited some museums when I was in Spain as well. I was like, oh, yeah, this looks really beautiful. So yeah, we will. Yeah, I think so. No, I don’t remember, Naver there. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t fit. Yeah. And do you have some favorite books as well, which you would recommend for young artists to check out?

Marta Nael  

I really like James Gurney light and color book. Because it really, it’s really helpful when you want to start painting and you’re a bit lost with light and color. And so I really love that book.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I also like radiators, like, oh, that’s actually good. But yeah, so that’s really interesting. And what is like the the means is main inspiration. What do you have? Like, is it from real life? Or do you have maybe something strange which inspires you as well?

Marta Nael  

I think everything that surrounds me kind of infuriates me because maybe I’m just I don’t know, walking down the street and then I see some sort of light and it’s really interesting. So maybe I just use my phone and do some shot. Or, or maybe while I’m seeing some series or just a movie, and they get really inspired and I have to go back home and then paint something and or while reading a book. Fantasy and sci fi movies especially are what really inspired me the most but it could be like anything

Iva Mikles  

and when you mentioned like the the movies or books is it more the story moment? Or it’s like layout? Or is the the color and lighting?

Marta Nael  

It depends on I don’t know if I’m if I’m reading something and then the word explain something really, like moody in a way so yeah, I can get inspired by that. Or just when I’m watching a movie. Maybe that seen some some sort of movie steel that looks really interesting in terms of composition or maybe light or color?

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. Yeah, because he’s like, seems like a lot of artists are watching his movies for inspiration. And just like this layout is really good. So you have like an inspiration for like a pose as well. And like this. Yeah. Of lighters.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, could be it could be everything.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, yeah. I like and if you imagine now someone who wants to start and do what you do now, what would you advise them to start with maybe like tools and mediums or,

Marta Nael  

like, I usually say that you should start with traditional media because it’s, I don’t know what it’s like, you should be used to learn how to use that technique, maybe like pencil or charcoal oil acrylics. And then once you’re quite comfortable with that we can go to switch to digital, because it’s another technique but I think you should start with with traditional it’s like everyone started with that. So I know some some kids that want to learn digital because they think oh this is cool, but maybe they get lost with the I don’t know that the brushes that are different and if you don’t have like really I don’t know how to say that but really traditional filling brushes it may it may look like really artificial so it’s better to start with traditional and do some live modal go outside and paint and then once once you know anatomy and light and color composition perspective everything then switch to visual

Iva Mikles  

and you use also like a different media right do you use like acrylics that you have a pestle and pencils? Like your favorite medium or also maybe favorite brand of like pencil or something you use like okay, yeah, I want to go

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I have some, some floor pastels and acrylics. And one when I discovered them I was like, Oh my God, those are so super cool because it’s like painting with digital where you can where you can have any color. Because when you paint with traditional media sometimes it’s like, oh, colors look. So I don’t know, like dark and not like so vibrant as when you’re painting with digital. So I found those and it was like, I’m going to use that. So yeah, those are my favorites. So

Iva Mikles  

what was your favorite brand do you use now?

Marta Nael  

I can’t remember the name. I don’t know if it’s by your home maybe. I don’t know what or also RAM brand. I really like pastels. But I can remember those core ones. I can remember right now.

Iva Mikles  

So maybe we can put the the afterwards in the show notes.

Marta Nael  

I’m gonna put a ticket. Yeah, perfect there. Because

Iva Mikles  

it’s always nice to try different brands and different materials to find out which one you actually like. Yeah. And so actually, this is really interesting, because you move from traditional to digital, and your digital paintings look really realistic, like, traditional wise. So how did you find your brushes in like Photoshop? Or did you create them by yourself? Or how do you get that feel of traditional media.

Marta Nael  

I am mostly there from other artists that have shared their brushes, like Dan Louise’s brushes, I think and also like the better free brushes. And they were really, when I downloaded them, they were they had that kind of charcoal feeling like pestle and really texture. So I really loved them. And I was like, Okay, I’m going to use them, like from now on. And when people ask me about my brushes, I usually just say, yeah, just don’t know, from these artists.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, good. Good. Yeah. Because and then you try it out. And then you can adjust it to your field and how you want to Yeah,

Marta Nael  

sometimes I change like the color things that maybe make I don’t know how it’s called. But there is an option on in Photoshop where you can get like, some color, but if you if the pressures different than you have another color too. So it’s kind of really interesting. I Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

so things like a foreground and background color of the brush.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, that’s one.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I have to try that one as well.

Marta Nael  

And also, I have some some brushes, which are like, some paint splatters. And it’s it looks like really, you’ve just been using painting real painting. So yeah, yeah. And then you

Iva Mikles  

kind of add that at the end just to have the painterly feel. Or along the way as well. No, just along the

Marta Nael  

way. I tried to keep it quite sketchy all along the way. Because if I keep painting over it, maybe I lose that kind of freshness. So I just tried to keep it quiet, you know? Yeah, schedule all the way, like doing some really thick strokes to start, and then maybe some thinner ones. But just Yeah, trying to keep it like that.

Iva Mikles  

And when you are creating your artwork, do you already have like, color in mind? Or is it just organic more along the way?

Marta Nael  

Um, I think I have color in mind some colors. Keep in mind, yeah. And sometimes I just try to add some little ballots while I’m painting. Like saying I’m gonna use these colors. And this will be the accent color we’ll send out from the rest. And according to that, then I choose the neutral color I start with, because maybe they want to use like red or pink for the accent color. And I think, okay, the complementary color is green. So I’m going to use like, neutral green for the background. And then I’m going to use like both green and maybe another color for shadows, then some light green for the rest, but I’m trying to keep that red for the important part.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, perfect. Yeah, that’s Yeah, that’s really interesting, because some people as well just put these colors in the corners. So you can always like use the color picker to. Yeah. Nice. Nice. And when you think about your brand, or your vision in your artworks, what would you say it’s your like, art style or something you kind of always communicate through your artworks.

Marta Nael  

Um, I really, I really don’t know, but I tried to, to make the face like the most important part. I mean, the rest maybe it’s more sketchy, but when when I when when it comes to the face, I tried to to add some more detail and try to make like the eyes quiet. I don’t know like they tell you something or maybe the mouth depending on the head and I usually try to do like some sort of them total woman, you know, like, they’re kind of soft girls and independent girls. So yeah, maybe it’s more like that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that’s definitely true because most of your characters are these like strong female characters. background story and Yeah, perfect. And so when you’re you are Have like you have so many artwork? So how do you design your day? Or how do you manage to do everything? And so how does maybe your normal day look like, if you can, like, take us through that?

Marta Nael  

Um, I usually start by replying my emails. And then maybe I have like a half an hour where I’m just browsing through internet, like a station or DeviantArt, looking for some inspiration, and, or maybe social media too. And then well, if I’m working on one commission, then I’m getting that commission. And maybe if I get like, two stocking at one point, then I’m just switching to traditional media and doing some sketches. And then once I’m back to digital, I don’t know, since you’ve been like, away from your painting, then you see a different and maybe if you were stopped, then you can keep working on it. It’s better at that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So do you like working on more projects at the same time? So you can go back and forth and see? Or do you like to like finish one and then move to the next one?

Marta Nael  

I think it depends on the project, because some projects can be like, I don’t know, do you find the perfect composition quite easily. And then you just paint and it’s quite easy. But others, it’s like, you get stuck, and you’re just trying to composition over and over again, and you’re stuck? And then it’s better to change to another one. So it depends.

Iva Mikles  

And so will there be the most exciting project you’re working on now or something which is coming up in the future, something you can share already?

Marta Nael  

I’m working on several commissions for some video games companies right now, since I just I just went I just went freelance like last week. So yeah, I’m trying to go to work and on as many projects as possible, and also have like some personal IP, I would like to develop beard like, it’s like, been in my mind for so many years, but I’ve never had the time to do it. So now that I’m freelance, maybe I can just try to balance commissions with personal work. And one to

Iva Mikles  

two, do you want to do more books? Or do you want to do a movie? Or you don’t know yet? What kind of form of the IP will

Marta Nael  

it be like, novel, like graphic novel, so we’ll try and maybe some paintings and concept art, but also some wording, like, trying to explain how the world looks like and several characters too. So I love writing too. So yeah, I think we have many important themes.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, that’s perfect. I’m looking forward. Well, thank you. So when you are like not in LA, as a lot of filmmaking and creating novels people are so how do you do your networking? Because some people expect that you have to be in the center of filmmaking? And how do you find your new paid project?

Marta Nael  

I think I’ve been I’ve been quite lucky so far, because I tried to share my work on I mean, everywhere on social media, or station, they get out everywhere. So I get contacted, but by people, like they get so many emails every day like saying I want this commission. So for me, it’s quite easy so far, because it’s like, Just share your work. And then people will find you through internet. It’s if it wasn’t if we couldn’t use internet and it will be like, Oh my God, I don’t have to, but most of my Commission’s are from the US so it’s just basically social media internet, which helps.

Iva Mikles  

And how long did it take, you know, like from maybe when you finish the uni, and then when you got like, first commissions? Or how many followers did you have when you started to get more commissions?

Marta Nael  

Um, I didn’t know it just was finishing college and I started to blow things on DeviantArt. And I think DeviantArt was really a nice platform for you to help artists so I got my first commissions when I was uploading my first work so well, what we might call it

Iva Mikles  

so yeah, it was a good transition.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, and then then I moved to Facebook too. And I think it depends on the moment because back a few years back DeviantArt was like the best place to upload your, your artwork, then Facebook became become really became really popular and everyone was there. But now people are using Instagram and as Asian so it’s like you have to be like developing you know, evolving and been using different social media. So yeah,

Iva Mikles  

like everywhere. So where can people find you as what is the best place where you are the most active?

Marta Nael  

I try to be active like everywhere and On Facebook, Instagram or station now since a few months, and also, I have a YouTube channel now with like, I mean, I think it’s been like three months or so, since I uploaded my first video there. So yeah, maybe it has to be like more professional way maybe in our station? And if they want to be like more interested in some sketches on site, maybe on Instagram On Facebook.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And are you considering also Twitch maybe if you’re not there yet, or Patreon, or

Marta Nael  

yeah, I’ve never tried those I know some people use Patreon and, and Twitch, but I kind of feel like I’m not comfortable enough when speaking like in front of people or doing some videos. So I know people use Twitch like to do some paintings and we can show it to them in real time. So maybe I would get so nervous in time.

Iva Mikles  

Maybe you can start with like Instagram or Facebook stories, you know, so

Marta Nael  

that I need that. Like when I was at Comic Con some months ago,

Iva Mikles  

I saw that. Yeah.

Marta Nael  

That was my first time. And it was really great. Because people were so nice and saying you I love your work and all that. So yeah, I really enjoyed that. So maybe I should try it.

Iva Mikles  

I think people would appreciate it. Because really, like your sketches are just amazing. So it’s really great to watch. And he’s like, oh, yeah, that’s nice.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, that’s why that’s why I’m trying to record some of my sketches now and upload them to YouTube. So yeah, maybe the next step would be like trying to do some tweaks.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. And when you mentioned the Comic Con. So do you go for different conventions, like over the year or it’s like only this one you go to?

Marta Nael  

I used to go to Barcelona and Madrid comic and manga, cons, and sometimes also to Alicante. Different places in Spain.

Iva Mikles  

And in Alicante? Is it called also Comic Con, or it’s something else?

Marta Nael  

They have ComiCon in mind calm.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, that’s when I haven’t like tried yet. So okay, good. So is there like a lot of artists or it’s more also just a cosplay and animation, or how does

Marta Nael  

it mainly it’s mainly merchandising, but people are trying to change that and try to make it more like a book saying an artist thing. So there’s like an artist alley, and you can find several artists there. So yeah, I think it’s it’s getting better that

Iva Mikles  

way. Yeah. And have you tried to I heard about the swan in Porter, the Trojan horse

Marta Nael  

and go into to be like a Trojan horse next week. It’s next week.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So you go there. So I should go next year because it was sold out? And I was like, yeah.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, well, I was at IFCC. In Croatia, someone’s back. There was a speaker there. And I really enjoyed the, you know, it was really cozy and being with all the artists and talking to people you admired, and you meet someone that admires you. And you’re like, Oh, my God is so great. And yeah, many people from all over the world. So it was really, really nice. And then I had some friends that are going to teach you. And they were Yeah, you should go. We should go. So yeah, they convinced me and I’m going there.

Iva Mikles  

And what was the name for the one in Croatia? You mentioned? I have to see. Okay, yeah, that’s when I haven’t been to either. You should go. Like, okay, this isn’t. It’s really great. Yeah, because it’s hard to choose like, which is like in your area, maybe the price or

Marta Nael  

the price. And also, I would say like I have to see this is more like relaxed, and he looks like more like stricter with a really scheduled thing. So maybe it’s depending on what you you’re after. If you want something more relaxed, we may go to FCC, if you want to network a lot and go to to maybe, I don’t know, I have never been there. But I want to I think that’s what people told me about them. So

Iva Mikles  

okay, I’m curious to hear later on. Obviously, I will follow online like what’s happening when we mentioned the festivals and projects so how do you choose maybe which projects to do because sometimes we cannot do everything at the same time. So what is going on? Maybe in your head when you have to say no or or do you say no to project sometimes?

Marta Nael  

I think it depends. Firstly, what a more I don’t know job to do. I mean, if someone is like paying my children, it’s like, oh, it’s not really interesting, as if someone says just paying this woman Imagine it’s, I don’t know, sorceress like in, like, I don’t know, something more appealing to pay. And but sometimes I have to say no to that. So those projects that I wrote, I don’t feel like really attracted to them. But it depends also on the money. So it’s a bit of finding that balance that you feel like really, like you’re going to enjoy that. But also the money that takes all those things.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So something which fits more your style, like when you did the cover for ImageNet fix, right? That was Yes, sir. So it kind of Yeah,

Marta Nael  

that was really great. Yeah. And especially because it was a tutorial online caller. So it was like, really my thing, and I really enjoyed that.

Iva Mikles  

I think actually, that was the first artwork I saw from you. Yes, yeah. I was like, I really liked it. And then I found it like, oh, okay, so let’s see. Oh, good. Oh, thank you. We can also put the link to that. So yeah. Perfect. And so now, you mentioned also that you do freelance. So how do you split your income? Is it like mainly from freelance or do you also sell artworks? And then you have the books? Or is it important for you to split through different channels? Or how do you do that?

Marta Nael  

Yeah, since I just started when Colin Poland’s, I have to still figure it out. But I think I would do like, as you said, try to split it and use and have income from both brains and commissions, and also maybe doing some tutorials and sell them. Yeah, it would be better and maybe just also teaching, like online and growing some courses. Yeah, everything.

Iva Mikles  

Do you already know? Where would you like to do the course maybe on the on your website, or through like Udemy, or other teaching platforms, or

Marta Nael  

I think people use Gumroad, mostly, but I don’t know, I would like to have like my own store and have everything together. Because I think for the customer is easier if you have everything all together. Maybe even if you have your own store, maybe there’s some links that send you as well. But I would like to have everything together.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And also, when you have it on your own, then you don’t have to pay a commission. So if someone wants to start them, if you have a following, then you can start on your own. If you don’t, then maybe you can start on the bigger platforms to create. Oh, cool, cool. And so we talked about the goal for these projects. And now I’m wondering also about the motivation. If you have sometimes like down days or you know, like, how do you keep yourself motivated?

Marta Nael  

Yeah, it can be really hard in some sometimes, because maybe you’re just feeling a bit sad or tired, and then you have to pain and then you lose your motivation. Because you see, you’re stuck. And you’re like, oh, my god, how am I gonna pay this? Because there’s a deadline, and I can finish it. And I tried. I don’t know, I tried, just as I said, if I’m just stuck at some point, then I tried to change and do some traditional thing, and then go back to that, but or maybe just, I don’t know, just gross, the internet and just tried to find some pieces that really inspire me from my favorite artists. Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of difficult, because it’s not something really like Max. I mean, like, two plus two is four. So it’s like, it has to be like that. I mean, art is really complicated, because it depends on how you feel to try to try to cope with that.

Iva Mikles  

Do you want also like the the moody drawings, you know, when you have like, I don’t know, like sad or like dark mood or whatever, would you paint something more blue and dark or not really,

Marta Nael  

I don’t know, maybe maybe it’s quite the opposite. Because I’m just try to use lots of colors I know. But I was kind of used to using really neon light colors. And then I had some commissions a few months back. And they were like, really dark, and like out of my comfort zone. And it was really great. Because it had to try to use like less saturated colors, dipole lines, and I really enjoyed that too. So I think, yeah, it’s like, you have to try to develop your site. And I think maybe that’s what really helps you just to keep your motivation just doing different things, even if they’re in your own site.

Iva Mikles  

Like like different things and see how Yeah, how it goes for you. And yeah, yeah, and so also actually, when you mentioned that you went for, like classic fine art school. What do you think now like because you have so many options how to study? Would you still go to these like classical breaks school or would you maybe study online if you would like start over?

Marta Nael  

Um, I didn’t know, because I would say that fine arts was a bit of both things. I mean, it was really helpful in some aspects. Like, as I mentioned, that professor was really helpful in a way. But I also find found that some, some professors were only interested in like, I don’t know, doing like, Bro these and make these and test some rubbish and sculpture things that are like, yeah, really weird things. And I was a bit shocked at first because I was like, Maybe I shouldn’t be here. And go to I don’t know, another place we choose, like more digital stuff, what I really wanted to learn, but I don’t know if it was, in a way I think you have to, to get to know everything and see how the artwork is. So yeah, when I was there, I wanted to study like more painting and all that. And then I’m when I, when I was there, and I saw that everyone was interested more in abstract art. I went to the drawing classes where I did all that like models name. And, and I know some some Digital’s schools snowing in Barcelona, which are really good. So maybe I will try to add instead of going to fine arts, but I don’t know, I don’t say I would change at the end, it was really helpful, even if I had some bad moments there. So

Iva Mikles  

what would you say? Maybe what those were kind of the most difficult moment or the worst moment of your career so far, and kind of what do you learn from it?

Marta Nael  

Um, well, I don’t know, what do you mean?

Iva Mikles  

Like, if you had like, a difficult time, like, oh, I wasn’t sure what I’m doing, or I couldn’t find a job or something. What was you know, like hard for you? And what do you learn from it? Like, key takeaway?

Marta Nael  

Yeah. Well, as I was mentioning that part where I was, like, starting my degree, it was been a bit disappointing. But since I found that the other professor, then everything came out really, really well. And also, maybe when I was starting my first commissions, because I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I mean, I was like, doing so much painting I was doing so realistic painting, also some more sketchy art. So I wasn’t sure about my style. And, and also, since I was starting, I didn’t know how much I should I mean, earn from my commissions and my rates and all that. So it would be helpful. I don’t know, just that someone tells you, you have to do this. And you have to ask for this money and all that. And or maybe you’re better at this or just do some of these illustrations in that style. So it wasn’t me, I was lost at first. But since I think nowadays you have, like, a lot of possibilities to show your art on social media and such. So so people, you can see people’s reaction, and you can see what people love the most. And when I started doing all that colorful thing was like, Oh, this is different. And what like, yeah, people seem to love that. So I’m gonna keep doing that.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, yeah. Okay, that’s Yeah, that’s really interesting point as well just post stuff, even though when you are not comfortable at the beginning, but you get some feedback. So you see what you should improve? Or what do you want to learn next? Yeah, yeah. It’s really interesting. And so is there something you wish you knew before starting out? Like, before everything?

Marta Nael  

I don’t know. Because I’ve always been like, a really hard working person, even even if I was, like, lost at some point. I tried to keep painting. So why would just say that if even if you at some point don’t know, how, how to I don’t know where to go. And if you want to do like more digital, more traditional or maybe concept art? If you’re not sure. Let me just keep trying and keep drawing everyday. And things will get better, I guess. Yeah. Because up, up, always been trying to, I don’t know, just to I don’t know how to say that. But maybe just trying to be into everything. So maybe you have to have to specialize. But try everything and then see what you really enjoy the most to Yeah, and just paint everyday, like eight hours or more per day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that’s, that’s a little bit and a lot of people think like, oh, maybe it’s not necessary to paint every day. And so yeah, you practice every day.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I kind of lost some, some sort of motivation at some point. Because since it’s not Not only your hobbies, your work, like you, you’re at some point you feel like I’m painting all the time. And you know, and you’re not doing it because you want to because you have to. So I had that sort of Yeah, but but moment, but. And finally I was like, Okay, I have to go back to that feeling where I was just painting for pleasure. And try to do more personal themes, too, because I was like, only doing Commission’s or just doing work. And when I got home, I was like, I don’t want to paint. I don’t want to see anything related to art. I just want to know what some movies or whatever. And yeah, now I think that I’m really motivated for this new freelance life, for example. So and I don’t mind if I spend like 12 hours or 15 hours painting a day, because it’s like, I can do some commissions. And then when I’m done with that, and like, Okay, I’m gonna keep painting on this personal pace. I was painting yesterday, and still feel really motivated. So I think that’s a really important thing.

Iva Mikles  

And do you have a studio now at home? Or do you have to travel somewhere?

Marta Nael  

I’m at home right now. And I’m trying to make it like some kind of studio here in my

Iva Mikles  

apartment. You can paint there, and you have all the materials and everything. Yeah.

Marta Nael  

And also have my I have my cat around. So it’s nice.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely, especially when you paint cans or lie on

Marta Nael  

it. Yeah. And then, and then he’s like, Okay, I’m gonna sit here in your hand. Yeah, but he’s adorable. So you’re like, okay, just move. And now I’m going to be when you’re done.

Iva Mikles  

Maybe some tool or something you bought, which simplifies your life, like, spatial, I don’t know, a light table or tablet you use or something which like, Okay, this is like making my life so easy.

Marta Nael  

I would say like having a second screen is really helpful, because I just saw your work on a small laptop. So when I have lots of references, like I can paint with all that, all those things on the screen. So having the second one is really great, because I use just the laptop one to have the painting. And then the other one. So how are the references? And that’s, that’s really helpful.

Iva Mikles  

So you don’t use Cintiq? Or like some of the screen tablets? And do you have like an Intuos? Or how do you paint? Yeah, it

Marta Nael  

was one small one.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, so then, and then you have a laptop, so you can travel with it somewhere as well. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Convenient. Because sometimes it’s like, okay, so should they use an iPad? Or should they use? Like, the computer with tablet or?

Marta Nael  

Like, I’m having a MacBook Pro? And I think it’s like the best choice because you can work at home. And you can also take it everywhere.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. And let’s talk about future and where would you kind of see yourself in like, five to 10 years, what would be kind of your dream scenario? Like, this is like everything is working out? I cannot fail and everything is great.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I think maybe it would be like being still freelance, but working for major films, or some video games or card games. And having like, having like, I don’t know, some Commission’s each month related to that kind of thing. Like, I don’t know, like working for Wizards of the Coast or something like that. Like, I’ve always wanted to work there. Or I had some, I don’t know, video games companies like that, or that being freelancing. Yeah, that would be great.

Iva Mikles  

It sounds good. What about like, super, super far future like 100 years, then? What would you like to be remembered for?

Marta Nael  

Oh, that’s bad. Yeah, I don’t know. I, maybe I wish that the way I tried to use light and color maybe it’s helpful for other people, and maybe they can learn something from it. I don’t know. I tried. I’ve done several tutorials on. I mean, I’m learning color and trying to choose by word color scheme. So maybe that will be helpful to people.

Iva Mikles  

I’m sure yes. And before we say goodbye, if you can maybe share some like, key takeaway or advice for young artists and I’m super happy that they took time and like be here.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, I’m playing repetitive but I always say the same work, work and work and never give up and try to achieve your dreams. But, but keep that keep it like being humble. Yeah, and I think that if you want work and never give up. You’re going to achieve your dream. So it’s all about working everyday and painting every day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, just continue to follow your dream. Yeah, amazing. Anna, thank you so much for being here again. It was so fun.

Marta Nael  

Yeah, thanks for inviting me. It’s been a pleasure. My pleasure.

Iva Mikles  

And thanks, everyone for joining and see you in the next episode. I 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 Art Side of Life podcast 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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