Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 26, 2019

Illustrator Saturday – Aris Falengos aka Azbeen

Aris Falengos aka Azbeen, an illustrator who loves creating images that tell stories and appeal to both children and the young at heart. My work revolves around wacky characters and my mission is to spread joy and hope to the world through my art. Making images has been a passion of mine since I was a child and through them I seek to capture a sense of wonder that transcends language and speaks directly to the heart.

For the past 10 years I have been working as an illustrator and 2D artist for games and various other media, including books and board games.

Here is Aris discussing his process:

When starting a new painting I always start with composition sketches.

This is a personal illustration, so I had stubbled on this composition through exploring other stuff. But the first idea wasn’t working. I wanted a better sense of storytelling, so I worked on it some more and ended up with the idea of the witch and the enchanted spirits.

The witch was an important part of the image and I wanted to get her character just right, so I did some more sketches. The good thing about these is that you always end up with new ideas that you can use in other paintings.

At this point the final sketch was working. But before jumping in to the painting, I like to figure out the color scheme.These color tests help me figure out where the painting should go, so I don’t get side tracked half way through the process.

After the color tests I’m ready to start working on the painting. I begin by blocking in the main shapes and applying the colors I have chosen.

I continue to work on the image adding details, textures and shading.

At this point the image is pretty much done, with just a few minor areas that need to be corrected or further worked on. I felt like it was a little too flat and needed to evoke a certain magic feeling.

So to finish it off, I added some darker areas and some light to create a glowing effect on the spirits.

Interview with Aristotelis Falegos:

How long have you been illustrating?

Like most artists I have been drawing since I was a child, but I started to take my work seriously in 2007 when I began to draw and design digitally.


What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

While I was studying ceramics, someone bought one of my sculptures that was in an exhibition. Sadly I never got to meet that person, but it gave me joy to know I could produce art that someone would want to buy.

Have you always lived in Athens, Greece?

Yes and also in the UK for a few years while studying Ceramics.

Did you go to college to study art?

Yes, I studied ceramics and some graphic design and more recently I have taken online courses at the Oatley Academy and at Schoolism. I’m always looking for new stuff to learn.

Did you take courses to learn animation?

No, but I learnt the basics of animation while working at an advertising agency.

I was involved in creating animations for banners and websites. It’s also something I’d like to explore more of in the future.

What do you think helped develop your style?

For me it was a bunch of things. Producing a large amount of work over time helped me see what I truly enjoyed. Letting go of the idea of having one style and just trying lots of different stuff. Researching other artists and looking at their work in a critical manner in order to figure out what they are doing that makes their work unique. And finally figuring out my voice. What do I want to express through my work and what is the most natural way to do it.

I think the biggest hurdle is to just accept yourself. Every artist already has their own style (which naturally changes over time), but they would like it be something else than it is, so they go an a long journey trying to discover something that is already there. Just focusing on what you want to say rather than how, solves this problem for the most part.

Did school help you find work using your art skills?

No not really. The one skill I did learn from my art studies that has helped me, was how to think critically. How to find ideas and analyze my work in order to move towards a satisfactory final result.

What was your first job trying to make a living from your art skills?

I mostly worked as a web designer at various studios.

How did you get work creating the art for board games?

My first board game was for “My Greek Games”. A Greek game company that creates games around the theme of ancient Greek mythology. They found me through Instagram after they saw my work and thought it would be a good fit.

What other type of graphic art have you done?

I’ve done web design, UI design , 2d art for games and some concept art.

How long have you been making a living from illustrating?

I have been focusing on illustration for the past 5 years.

 

 

When did you decide you wanted to do children’s book illustrations?

I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind for quite a while, but I’ve only recently set it as a goal.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate you own books?

Yes, I have a few ideas about books but I haven’t put the time into developing them.

Do you have an agent that represents you? If so, who and how long have you been with them and how did you connect with them? If not, would you like to find representation?

Not at the moment, but I am actively looking for an agent these days. I believe there are certain areas that could be handled better by someone with more knowledge than me.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

No

Have you done any illustrating for magazines? Which ones?

Yes, I recently completed my first magazine commission for Storytime Magazine.

Would you consider illustrating a book for a self-published author?

It depends on certain conditions. I have yet to have an offer that is enticing enough to pursue.

Do you do art exhibits?

I have done a few group shows in the past, but none in recent years.

What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

This is something I have to work on in the future, as I haven’t had much luck with approaching art directors online. I mostly find illustration work through referrals and people who discover me on social media.

 

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

It has crossed my mind but I have never thought about it seriously.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Not giving up on creating art and being able to create every day are my biggest successes.

 

What is your favorite medium to use?

Digital art,  definitely! Drawing and computers are two of my favorite things, so it’s a joy to be able to combine these effectively.

 

 

Has that changed over time?

No, but I have started to recognize a need within me, to get back to drawing with traditional methods.

 

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes, Graphic’s tablets are an important part of creating art digitally. I’m currently working on a Cintiq 13HD.

 

 

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

For my professional work, I use pen and paper for sketching out ideas and Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to complete my work. I’ve also been using gouache and watercolor in my free time, but I’m not happy with the results yet.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I work 8 hours daily as a 2d artist at a game studio and another 2-3 hours in the evening on personal work and freelance projects.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I don’t really take pictures, but I do quite a bit of research for some projects.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes definitely, the internet is a blessing!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Yes, my next goal is to be able to work on fun projects as a full time freelance artist.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a secret board game project with some awesome people and also continuing to make personal work with no particular goal!

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Since I work digitally I have no material tips, but I’ve seen a quite a few people become lost half way through a painting because they don’t know where they’re going. So my tip is: Figure out and know what you want to say with your art before proceeding. If your actions serve this idea during painting, you will find it easier to make work you are happy with.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Keep creating and learning.

Study the work of other artists.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Figure out what you are trying to say through your art.

Be nice to people.

And don’t give up.

Thank you Aris for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Aris’ work, you can visit him at: http://www.azbeen.gr.

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Aris. I am sure he’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. The pictures are so wonderful and imaginative! They evoke amazement. I love the characters and the style. Have a great day!

    Like

  2. SO many talented artists in this world, and Aris is CERTainly one of them! Thank you for sharing 😀 ❤

    Like


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