Our guest today, Orlando Arocena, is a great designer and creative consultant for Brand and Shopper initiatives. "I hate erasing, and would rather try to make my ‘mistakes’ work in my favor. It’s my golden rule.” – he says. Learn more about Orlando and his illustrations after the jump.
Hello Orlando, welcome to Vectortuts+! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have a basic design education? When and why did you get carried away with vector graphics?
Hi and thank you very much for this opportunity! I’m a first generation Mexican-Cuban-American, who grew up in the Bronx, with a passion for art and design. I had the honor to be the first person in my family to attend college and graduated from Pratt Institute in 1994 with a Bachelors in Communication Design. Back then, there was only one lonely apple computer, for the whole college…so ruby lith sliced fingers and photo developer bleach stains on my clothing was a daily rite of passage.
I took jobs that would satiate my curiosity, but were still within the realms of art and design. Animation Gallery Curator for Warner Bros. Studio Stores, a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, starting up "Uptown Arts”, with a focus on representing local urban artists, to just name a few. I wanted to learn more about how people interact and appreciate art and apply that to my own creative endeavors – with the goal of being like an N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle or even a Maxfield Parrish – artists that I respect for bridging the gap between the commercial and the fine arts.
Then in 1997 I was presented with teaching art in Mexico or accepting the offer letter to a real design job. At the time I had saved enough to invest in my first computer and decided to take the path of commercial design, with a promise to myself to pursue personal art in the future.
I was first introduced to vector while working at TROMA Entertainment, the guys famous for the Toxic Avenger. Back then my art director, now one of my best friends, showed me the production value of illustrator.
At the same time, I was very much a big fan of Manga, and wanted to emulate the 3 tier tone technique used on their hand-painted production cels. After teaching myself more about the program and becoming more comfortable with it, I found it to be very fulfilling. The overall look and the instant gratification allowed me see my ideas take shape quickly.
I’m still experimenting with it, finding new ways to achieve airbrush-like fades with simple gradients, that in itself is one on my favorite attributes of illustrator – the ability to adjust opacities within the gradient color bar! Adjusting transparencies is another beneficial feature that I use sparingly and try not to abuse. Overall, I enjoy being a bit traditional with vector, plotting and drawing rather than relying on filters.
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