April Artist of the Month: Rosario Carmina

April Artist of the Month: Rosario Carmina

Rosario Carmina’s superpower is drawing superheroes. With more than 23.5k followers on Instagram, this talented artist from London is gaining popularity for his hyper-realistic drawings of Spider-Man, Deathstroke, Mandolorian, Baby Yoda and more. Here, he tells us how he got to this point in his artmaking and why Arteza EverBlend markers and colored pencils are his favorite mediums. He even shares a few secrets for beginners, too! 

- Hi, Rosario! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name is Rosario Carmina. I am 21 years old from London, UK. Art has always been a huge part of my life, originally as a hobby, and now I can happily say it is my career goal. I have always been extremely motivated to produce new drawings and the fact that I am able to express my other joys in life such as comic book characters and movies through my art for the world to see is truly a wonderful experience and never gets old.

I am currently studying Comic and Concept Art at Leeds University. Hopefully, this will lead me onto a path that could take me to work in many different industries such as the comic, game or film industry. I am greatly inspired by a lot of artists who work in these industries and this fuels me to keep working hard and forging a path for myself that leads me right where I want to be.

- What is your main media and why?

The main media I use are colored pencils and markers. Colored pencils are so popular for their creative versatility. They can be used for any art style and allow the artist to have full control of what they are creating. Sticking to colored pencils over the last few years has helped me to improve a lot faster than I ever would have thought was possible.

Knowing the supplies you are using is just as important as knowing the art techniques used to produce great artwork. Markers are a recent addition to my work but a very welcome one. I use Arteza’s Everblend Markers as a base layer and then add colored pencils on top. It helps to increase the smoothness of the pencil layer and to capture the undertones of the image I am drawing. I believe this is very important in bringing a realistic drawing to a whole other level.

- How long ago did you start painting? Do you have a story behind it?

I have been drawing all my life but always as a hobby. It was only until I created my Instagram account in July 2016 that I started to take art more seriously. 

I was originally studying Automotive Engineering at college because another passion of mine is Supercars and how they are made. I remember my friends in my class coming up to me and saying, “Rossi, your artwork is so good, why are you here? You shouldn’t be in this course studying engineering, you should be studying art. Your work is too good to be a hobby and I bet you it’s what you’d prefer to do as well.” It turns out they were right. I ended up dropping out of my engineering course and began studying art the next year. It’s crazy to think that if my friends in class never came and spoke to me that day, I may never have gotten to where I am today and for that I am grateful.

- How did you start drawing comic heroes? Who is your favorite super hero to draw?

Comic book characters have always been a big part of my life. They represent the best parts of us, and everyone loves the idea of good defeating evil. The movies have become huge over the last decade and the live-action portrayals of these comic characters have seen some incredible costume designs. The movies are so exciting, and I have so many memories of watching a movie and then coming home and wanting to draw characters from the film. 

My favorite hero to draw is Spider-Man. His character relates the most to me out of all characters—a young adult just trying his best to balance everything in his life. Of course, the differences lie in the fact that I was not bitten by a radioactive spider and cannot climb walls and swing from buildings. His costume is very vibrant which makes it great to draw as it always pops off the page. Spider-Man is also challenging to draw, as the webbing and textures on the costume can be hard to get right.

- What techniques do you use to make your drawings so realistic?

One technique I find really helpful is to capture the base layer first and then add the details on top. It’s a fairly logical process as most costumes have the detailing on top so you are basically just replicating the way the costume was actually made through drawing. I always add a base layer that captures all the shadows, highlights and main tones of the image and then I go back over the top with a pencil to add in all the smaller details, textures, scratches, or whatever it may be that sits on top of that base layer.

Another technique that is very helpful is to use a spare piece of paper to test out colors before applying them to the drawing. Having full confidence going into a new piece will make the outcome better. I have learned this the hard way from having to erase and recolor a few pieces in the past because I made mistakes picking the right colors.

- What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?

The most challenging part for me is the outline of the drawing. Getting an outline that is close to the reference as possible can be very difficult. I have had struggles in the past with drawing faces because achieving the likeness of a person is a challenge. I use the grid method and a ruler to measure out the proportions to make sure they are as good as possible because the coloring process for me is fairly long and it helps to not have to worry about my outline as I render each piece.

- What advice can you give to beginner artists?

The best advice I can give is to be patient and to keep practicing! It has taken me years to get to this level and even then, I still have a lot to learn. I have improved over time with each piece by taking my time and slowly understanding how to use colored pencils in a realistic style. It is also a lot more motivational to have come so far over a long period of time and look back on your old artwork thinking, “Wow I really have come a long way.”

Another bit of advice I can give is to draw what interests you! Artist’s block is very common among artists and motivation can be really hard to find sometimes, so stick to what you enjoy and try to combine your other interests through your artwork. For me, it was always superheroes and supercars so that is what I stuck to. Everyone has the potential to be fantastic artists, the only thing preventing you from reaching that level is you!

- Tell us a little secret about how to draw better.

A secret to drawing better I can share with you is the world of social media! Through social media, I managed to find the supplies I wanted to use and find the style that best suited me. Looking at other artists on Instagram and being part of the art community really helped me find where I belonged, too. Your followers are a lot more than just a number. Having many more eyes looking at your work can be a little nerve-wracking at first but it is actually a great way to get opinions on what you could improve on, what you are doing well and what you could draw that will help you learn something new. Social media is a great tool for anyone to pick up techniques, ideas, opinions and more.

- How often do you use Arteza?
I use Arteza supplies with every one of my new drawings. As I mentioned earlier, I use Everblend Markers as a base layer to enhance all of my work. I also use colored pencils by Arteza for many drawings I have done, too. They are very easy to blend with and work great on top of markers.

- Favorite Arteza product and why?
The Arteza Everblend Markers have to take the title as my favorite Arteza product. I have loved using them not only for how good they are to combine with colored pencils but also for how well they work on their own. I have used them for many pieces for university and have found that they blend really well, and the color selection is huge. I have not struggled to pick out colors that I need for any of my work. Even if the 120 set is not enough, there is also a 36 marker set dedicated to just skin tones and another 36 marker set dedicated to just grey tones. Overall, they are a great product, so thank you Arteza!

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