5 lessons I learned from Gonza Rodriguez

Presentation of Gonza Rodriguez's art

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“Learn from the masters” and “the only artist you should try to be better than is the artist you were yesterday”
are two excellent tips, even if they seems to contradict each other.
As you learned from any story you have heard since you was a child, in the form of a tale, a movie or a book, anyone who has found the way for his own success has gone through the turning point of the meeting with a mentor. Today, thanks to the internet, the chances of meeting have grown more and more, so the decisive turning point for each of us is easier to find than it was in the past.
For me, Gonza Rodriguez is a virtual mentor. It is an artist from Argentina born in 1978 and specialized in caricatures, generally of sports champions, but which also produces logotypes of great impact. He has a brilliant talent. His talent is a huge talent from my point of view: when I discovered him surfing the internet, I immediately wanted to learn from his style.

The curious thing is that he does not have an active blog, he didn’t write books or handbooks about drawing, he is active only on Benhance, Twitter and Facebook. But his style is so inspirational that before I get to work on the design of a football player I always make a tour of his artworks, which I collect in a dedicated pinboard.
But be careful: the comparison with the masters is a double-edged sword, because realizing how far you are from them in terms of quality risks destroying your ego and your motivation. It is at this point that you need to meditate about the second recommendation, that is: “Never to compare yourself with other artist who is not you of the past”. Tracking your progress is a well-known technique to keep motivation when you are learning to do something, which is a way made of ups and downs.
The balance between the pursuit of inspiration and the need to work patiently to refine one’s technique and talent is the key to learning from others. In this sense the discovery of Gonza Rodriguez was very useful to me. Please, find below five of the many lessons I learned from him.

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My cousin Vinnie

My Cousin Vinnie poster by BAnt

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When I was a high school student I liked a lot going to the cinema with my friends and I never argued about the choice of the film in order to avoid the risk of losing some good story. This approach forced me to see many crap, but I also had some nice surprise, like the comedy My Cousin Vinnie (1992). Thanks to the “Sicilian-style” dubbing by Leo Gullotta, the character of the protagonist impersonated by Joe Pesci. The lovely Marisa Tomei (that won the Oscar as best supporting actress for this role) and Ralph Macchio‘s good-looking face did the rest, together with a well balanced screenplay. Well, are you really expecting me to tell you the plot, which you can find everywhere? I don’t think so, Google is there for this kind of stuff! I want to provide you a step-by-step description of the drawing creation. you how I represented these funny characters. I do not know if my efforts, which were huge, I assure you, have borne fruit, certainly the exercise has come in handy to make a (very little) ahead on the road to learning.

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Caricaturing “la pulga”

Lionel Messi caricature by BAnt

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I thought that if I want to make myself known (and I still do not know if I want) as one that draws footballer players, I will have to draw also famouse players, not only the ones that I love because they play (or played) with Calcio Catania. So I also thought that drawing a cartoon-style portrait of Lionel Messi was a good idea, because many people think that “The pulga” (the flea), as Messi is nicknamed, is the best football player in the world and many others think that he is the second strongest player in the world, after Cristiano Ronaldo.

I’m not going to get into this religious war, at least until one of the two does not land in Catania (!), I just chose Messi because I like him more than Cristiano Ronaldo. Maybe my preference depends on the fact tha he suffered from a hormonal insufficiency that did not make it grow and, despite this unfortunate circumstance, he had a successfull life. However I cannot omit to remember the “Panama papers” case, proofing that he is not a spotless hero.

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Meet Orazio Arancio (i.e. how to draw a rugby player)

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As I came from Catania, I’m a bit “provincial”, inthe sense that I have a “small-town” mentality, (even if Catania is not so small), so I love to celebrate my fellow citizens who succeded in their activity. An example is Orazio Arancio, nicknamed “bimbo” (i.e. “baby”), who made the history of rugby playing in Amatori Catania for a decade and then taking the San Gregorio from nothing to the Super 10 (the maximum italian league), not before winning the title of Italian Champion with Treviso and traveling in Italy and abroad, then becoming a coach and eventually manager of the Italian Rugby Federation.

I don’t know why, but I remember him especially for a try with the National team that made him the first European to score against South Africa, also because Italy was the first selection to host the Springboks after the end of apartheid and the subsequent resumption of the International test matches. It was a match played in Rome on November 12, 1995  in which Italy made a great performance, considering the value of the opponent (who win 40-21).
Well, you can find more details about Orazio Arancio career and biography on Wikipedia, while an interview to “La Gazzetta dello sport” reveals why he is nicknamed “bimbo”.

I just want to show you the caricature portrait that I did one day that I wanted to train myself on a subject that required an aggressive pose and a gritty expression to the limits of evil.
You may like it or not, I like it (!) and, above all, I liked to draw it, even it was a hard work.

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How to add noise to a drawing (and why to do it)

How to add noise to a drawing

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In this post I will explain a simple way to make your drawings less flat and avoid the “cartoon” effect that in my opinion is not good for any style. For example, in my cartoon-style portraits, which are not too realistic but not too stylized, I always add a “noise” level to avoid too homogeneous areas. But what does it mean? How you do it? And is it always necessary? Continue reading to get answers to these questions.

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Being Giuseppe Mascara

Being Giuseppe Mascara

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Giuseppe Mascara is an Italian former football player, Wikipedia would say. I know him well because he played for a long time with Calcio Catania, my favourite football team. Just so, I’m a Calcio Catania supporter, what’s so strange? I fell in love with the Club in the 1984 and I never had any interest for any other team. I have already had a difficult childhood for this, so not you too, please. And put that eyebrow down…

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Lineart extraction made simple

Tutorial: lineart extraction made simple

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Digital conversion may ruin your drawing no matter how beautiful it is. But don’t worry: I wrote this tutorial to make you able obtaining by software a digital lineart even better that the one you drawn.
I define my drawing workflow as an “anlogic/digital” process. It starts with a pencil draft, than I perform the inking using a calligraphy pen or several markers of different size, I remove the pencil using an eraser and eventually I scan the drawing and I finish the process by software.

The latest phase starts with a crucial step, that is the lineart extraction. I’m going to explain you how I complete  this stage with small efforts using a graphic software.

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