Heavily inspired by anime and manga, Camilla d’Errico is a product of her split heritage, Italian and Canadian rolled into one: Italian fiestiness, Canadian politeness, and an early addiction to Saturday morning cartoons, comics and manga. Camilla’s unique style continues to be in demand and her client list includes Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Random House, Tokyopop, Hasbro, Disney, and she also works with video game and movie companies on character development. Camilla was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions and was even kind enough to compliment our site! Read below as she gives me the inside scoop on her technique, her favorite anime flicks, and even how to escape the dreadful 9-5 gig!
First and foremost, huge fan of your work. Not too many artist I know use actual water soluble oils to paint. What are some of the Pros and Cons of using them?
Camilla: I honestly can’t think of any “cons” … I paint with Holbein “DUO” water soluble oils. And ever since I discovered them I haven’t even remotely thought of going back to oils or switching to anything else. What’s great about them is that they dry faster than oils and they are so easy to mix. I can make the yummiest colors.
You’re big into comics and have worked on some big projects like Avril Lavigne’s Make5Wishes, how do these ‘big breaks’ necessarily come about?
Camilla: When they happen, they seem like “out of the blue” or good luck or being in the right place at the right time, and in some ways, you have to believe in luck because you make your own luck. The truth is that these opportunities come because of all the hard work and sacrifices made before. Networking is also a big factor – you never know who you’re going to meet at a convention, party, launch, event, etc. You have to be open to opportunities.
I noticed that in addition to your general artwork, you’ve done several custom vinyl toys, product skins, jewelry, fashion and more! Can we expect more of your artwork in other mediums?
Camilla: Oh yes, as many as possible! I love merchandise, and I would like to spread my art far and wide. Upcoming products include pillows, eye masks and mini-bags, more jewelry, puzzles, kites and more party games. I’ll also have my first full length art book published by Dark Horse in 2011.
How hard is it to weave your love of manga into the western comic industry? Is this an easy task or has it been hard to cross the genres together?
Camilla: It hasn’t been easy and I still come up against some resistance because of people’s predisposition to manga (in the negative sense) but I have been successful in winning people over and more importantly, because they recognize that my style isn’t copycat manga – it’s my own unique style. It’s a huge satisfaction to get that compliment and even your question shows that you appreciate that I weave the manga into my work, so I use the elements of its styling. It took me one year of full time research to come up with the basis for my style. And lots of practice. And over the past few years I’ve been drawing, painting and further perfecting it. It’s no longer a battle, and it feels great!Please enter the url to a Vimeo video.
Here is the million dollar question: Give my readers advice on how to go about fulfilling your passions full-time and quitting the dreaded 9-5.
Camilla: I don’t want to sound simplistic but what it takes is dedication, passion and persistence. I still have days when I don’t like my work, and I’m constantly plagued by insecurities about whether my art is good, whether people will like it, etc. It’s a natural thing in artists to doubt themselves, to wonder, to be sensible to outside opinion, especially when your livelihood depends on it! So first of all, don’t freak out! You WILL have bad days, you will create art you want to burn (and you just might actually do that). But the secret is that no matter what, you don’t give up.
If you try an art form, say painting, and you find that you struggle way too much and you aren’t happy ever, but you are good with Photoshop, then maybe focus more on that? Find your strengths and what really lights your fire. And do THAT. Put all your energy into it, and don’t ever give up. And here’s something that an artist may not realize: you MUST get out there and talk to people! In person, by email, whatever works, but networking is key. You’ll never ‘be discovered’, you have to get out there and tell others you exist! And for goodness sake, be confident about your art. If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?
What is on the horizon for you?
Camilla: I’ll be working on a new solo show of paintings for 2012. I’m also working on a comic book for another singer, and I’ll be working on Tanpopo, volume 4. Amongst these projects I’ll have other things happening, the biggest of which is the launch of my vinyl toy in 2011 and the art book!
Thanks for thinking our site is cool! More importantly, thank you so much for your time! We really appreciate you sharing your art and passion with us. Never hesitate to recommend us some good anime or manga!
Camilla: Thank you for interviewing me and introducing me to your audience! I’ll be checking back on your suggestions too!
Interested in seeing more of her work and future projects? Stay up to date by following her internet cookie crumb trail:
Official Site || http://www.camilladerrico.com
Helmetgirls || http://www.helmetgirls.com
Tanpopo || http://www.tanpopoandkuro.com
Store || http://www.camilla.bigcartel.com
Twitter || http://www.twitter.com/helmetgirl
Facebook || http://www.facebook.com/camilladerricoart
Portfolio || http://behance.net/camilla/frame
Vimeo || http://www.vimeo.com/camilladerrico
Youtube || http://www.youtube.com/camilladerrico
Flickr || http://www.flickr.com/camilladerrico
Deviantart || http://www.deviantart.com/camilladerrico