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Cris Ortega is a Spanish digital artist and writer. After studying in the Art School of Valladolid, she worked as Art Director on an advertising agency, publishing at the same time her comics and artworks on several magazines and publishing houses.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have been interested in art since I was a child and spent most of my time reading, drawing and writing. But back then it was not a career option for me, just a hobby I really loved. Then, at the age of 19, I took the step to turn the short stories that I had written into comics. And I was hooked. As soon as my first work was published, I considered the possibility of turning art into my career. I kept making comics, then I turned my attention to more realistic illustrations. Now I can say that it was the best decision I ever made.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration appears suddenly. In fact, it’s playful, it has a tendency to elude you when you look for it. But it’s everywhere: in the landscapes and people around you, in the books you read, the movies you see, in every image you encounter in your life. For me, the first spark ignites at the most unexpected moment. For that reason I always bring with me a pen and a notebook to write down the ideas until I find the right time to work with them. But when I choose one of them, I usually spend weeks studying everything related to it before I begin to work on a painting. And then, once all the information is gathered, I let myself freedom to change it into something more fantastic and creative.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
My studio, at home. I have everything I need there and I feel more comfortable working alone, with everything at hand, and my cats wandering around.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
Since most of my artworks are digital paintings, my essential tools are a computer, a Wacom tablet and Photoshop. I also work from time to time with Clip Studio, and lately I've been trying Procreate. But when I’m working on traditional media, my current weapons of choice are graphite pencils, ink, coloured pencils and metallic watercolors.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
It’s not an easy choice, because I love and hate everything I do equally. But I think the work I’m most proud of at the moment is my novel “The Shadow of the Red Crow”. Could be because I had total freedom to work on it, I let myself loose to write the story and filled the book with artworks that were different from my usual. I had never enjoyed a project so much. If I have to choose an artwork, it changes with time. One of my very old ones “Spider’s Soul – Aracne” was my favourite because it reminded me that I can overcome myself (I lost all the work when it was almost finished and had to start it all over again). Right now, my most recent paintings would take that place.
If you work with coloured pencils or graphite and want a really smooth blending, try using a soft brush or a makeup brush. Lay the colors on the paper and move the brush over them gently in circular movements, without applying pressure. You’ll end with a nice soft shading.