Interview with Artist Martina Boscolo

September 1, 2021

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Russell Dickerson has been a published illustrator and designer since the previous millennium, creating works for many genre publications and authors. He has also written many articles for various organizations in that time including Apex.

For this month’s cover art, we are using a marvelous piece from artist Martina Boscolo. Heavily influenced by fantasy and sci-fi video games, books, and comics, her fascinating work mixes genre concepts with mystery and fun.

“Mermaid” by Martina Boscolo

APEX MAGAZINE: Your cover piece for this month’s issue, “Mermaid,” is an intriguing balance of fantasy and mystery. In creating a piece like this, where would your first steps in the idea be? How does the piece move from the initial concept to final art?

MARTINA BOSCOLO: The idea came to me out of nowhere. I was doing my house chores and thinking about a personal project I’d been working on here and there for years now. I wanted to create a new adventure for my protagonist, and slowly the idea took shape in my mind. Then I actually had to make the piece, which was a whole other story.

I wanted to put to practice some new things I learned, such as how to guide the viewer’s gaze to a specific spot, and proceeded to make several sketches. When I finally liked one, I worked on a palette of colors that could attract the attention of the viewer right to the mermaid. I also wanted the viewer to be curious about what was going on in the picture. I hope I was able to convey that!

AM:  “Mermaid” was also featured as the sitewide “Daily Deviation” on DeviantArt in April, giving you more exposure for your work. Does recognition of your work change your approach to how you create art or the business of being an artist?

MB: I wasn’t expecting such recognition and it was quite a surprise, honestly! I can’t really say that it changes the way I approach my art though. I tend to work on things I like when I’m creating my personal drawings, and not pay much attention to what could bring more viewers (i.e., a trendy subject or game) because that actually brings out the best of me. Be it fanart from my favorite game or just a random idea I get.

When I work with clients though, as long as I’m comfortable with what they request, I just do my job. You can only think out so much, otherwise you end up removing a large piece of possible opportunities.

AM:  On your ArtStation you have a wonderful process page of your work on the project “Librum Prodigiosum,” including a time lapse. Do you have a favorite part of the creation process? Does creating a page like this help you examine your own processes, or is it more for an interested audience?

MB: I actually had the opportunity to work on that project thanks to the Daily Deviation. I’m so glad about it, it’s a wonderful project full of different artists!

Including a time lapse (and sometimes also some steps) actually helps me a lot. I enjoy seeing all the different stages the drawing goes through before taking its final shape. I think it could help others, too, when they’re curious to see how I approach my art. I discovered that every artist has a unique process and sometimes it’s really different from what you imagined. I learned a lot by watching other artists’ time lapses and step-by-steps. To be honest, I don’t think it’s something that only art people are interested in. A lot of art enthusiasts are very curious about the “behind the scenes” projects.

My favorite part when it comes to creating a piece is the line art (when the piece is not a painting, of course). I love to dig into that process and see the piece come to life; the more lines you add to it and when the work takes shape. The problem with that is you have to know when to stop. Sometimes you get carried away making all those lines and end up making something too crowded!

AM: Your ArtStation includes work for League of Legends and Riot Games. What did you learn most from the collaboration? Do you approach your art, or a series of pieces, differently than your personal art?

MB: I learned a lot! I honestly didn’t know I was into “cute” art before starting this collaboration. The team following me also helped me to grow and improve my skills, especially when you have very tight deadlines and specific guidelines to take into consideration (like the style, colors, and the request itself).

I definitely approach my personal art very differently from my professional pieces, especially style wise. But they all go through the same process: several sketches, color palettes, and then final piece. The only difference being that the professional piece has to go through several people every time there’s something new to it, so a lot of back and forth.

I’ve always struggled with choosing the right colors, even though I know all the theory behind it and went through several courses. This opportunity actually helped get over a mental wall. I even learned that a lot of vibrant colors together are not that scary if you know how to tackle them! Not to mention some tricks that they suggested to me while working on their pieces. The beginning was a bit bumpy, learning all the new things and tricks. But after you get past that, it’s a breeze and a very enjoyable experience! I’ve grown a lot as an artist, and I’m very thankful for that.

“Flowers shop” by Martina Boscolo

AM:  Many of your pieces earn their “adorable” tag, such as “Flowers shop,” and seem to show how much fun you are having as an artist. How important are those emotions not only to portray in a piece, but to feel as you work on your art? Do different pieces or styles affect your everyday emotions as you are working?

MB: That piece is one of my favorites. It was part of a process I was going through to learn a bit more on how to draw by shapes of colors rather than filling in line art and also to convey a particular feeling on the viewer by using specific tones of colors.

I believe every piece you create has to say something to the viewer. The colors, the shapes, and the scene itself can create very precise moods if you know what you’re doing. All of these are powerful tools if you manage to learn them. I always try to keep that in mind when I’m creating a piece.

Are my pieces affected by my emotions? Yes and no. When I’m working on my professional pieces, I try to stay as neutral as possible. I don’t want to affect the final result just because I have a bad day. You have guidelines to keep in consideration and I believe you have to be as professional as you can be. When I’m working on personal pieces, I allow myself to pour emotion into it, be it bad or good. It can really change the outcome.

Although some pieces do affect my emotions. Like when I’m working on something for way too long and it starts to make me sad or annoyed by it. Either because I don’t like it or it has been going back and forth for way too long, making me doubt my skills. Or it’s something I’m excited about, so I just can’t wait to work on it. It makes me very happy and cheerful, which then affects the piece in a good way. It’s quite a vicious cycle!

Thank you, Martina, for such a wonderful look at your art and process. Find more of Martina’s art on her Artstation page and DeviantArt profile.

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© Russell Dickerson

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