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David Moran: DCGer Goes Pro!

    August 26, 2002

Comics2film'sRhonda Hearon recently had a chance to chat with up and coming new artist David Morán, also know as the Digital Concept Gallery artistMarrow2000. Davidis a twenty year old art student currently living in Santa Ana, California, buthe's headed to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. There he'll beworking on his degree in sequential art or possibly illustration. Rhondatalked to David about his upcoming debut as a published cover artist on TidalWave Studios' 10th Muse comic book.

Rhonda Hearon (RH): So in the next few months,you'll have three different 10th Muse covers coming out. Canyou tell us which issues to look for your work on?

David Morán (DM): I'll be on thecover of the 10th Muse #04, I believe, and #05 and #06,and also on one of the newer trade paperbacks. All I know is that they'll probably be out in winter or so.

RH: It can sometimes be difficult tocategorize your work as either a photo-manipulation or a painting. You seem tobe a little bit a both. How would you describe your artistic technique?

DM: Yeah, a lot of times it can getconfusing trying to label it, since it's such a mixture of both. I would just label it digital illustration, to put it loosely. It's a mixture of photos, effects, and Photoshop painting. With all the stuff I learned at the "CGI in Comics" panel in SanDiego, it might be more, later on.

RH: Where do you get your base models, and do youalways use one?

DM: Yup, I always use a base model,at least for the face (I like the realistic face look). I used to get my base models off of the web, but now I usually take myown pictures. For the 10thMuse, I'll be using Rena Mero's face and possibly body, but I mightjust take pictures of someone else's body or use parts from someone else(though I hate frankensteining).

RH: You've been a highly regarded contributor tothe Digital Concept Gallery (DCG) here at C2F for a littleover a year now. How has your art changed or grown in that time?

DM: Wow, my art has grown sooo muchin that one year. Before the DCG, Ididn't think there were many other artists such as myself, so it was quite aneye-opener. When I joined, I wasable to see so many other forms of the medium, and so many differentinterpretations of characters, that I had never thought about. Also, I was working in a certain style, and I was able to see so manydifferent styles that I had never even thought about. I remember a few artists had an immediate impact on me when I firstjoined, such as Marcelo Gomes, Dodgy, and even Welshcat (since I had never seena scene.)

My art changed a lot after I joined the DCG;it helped me develop my own style. Thefirst time I learned of other photo-manipulators was in that Wizard issue withthose 3 featured artists. I rememberseeing it and thinking "wow! Thisis what I do!" But it seemed thatonly artists using porn with those nasty models and poses and with those "slutfaces" were getting attention. Fora while I was starting to morph my art in that direction, though it's not whatI was into. 

After joining the DCG, Isaw that not everyone was like that, and it helped me pave my own style. The UIRs (update in review) help out SOOOO much, and when the ratingsystem was used, that was also a big help. Butmostly, I pay attention to the UIRs (that is, when we get more than 2 or 3entries) or I'll ask some of the DCGers, such as StatXero, Darth_Zaiyen,RyanArya, WonderWomanGoddess, MillenniumBum, or Essex, since they'll give memore than a "cool pic" statement (like the ones we sometimes get in theUIRs.) A huge help of mine wasLaraCroft (who is currently MIA); she would tell me things straight out andwould always have good advice, stuff that I had never even thought about.

From an artistic perspective, my art haschanged from mostly full frontal lighting and poses to different types of poseswith variations of lighting. I'vestarted changing the light sources in my pieces, and I really like the effectthat it creates. Some of my piecesemploy a lot more time and effort. Ithink that's probably one of the biggest changes; before I would spend 2-8hours on a piece, but nowadays, I'll usually put in at least 17 hours into abig piece, and it's not uncommon for me to go over 25, 30 hours. (keep in mind that nowadays I do my art at 6.85x10" at 300dpi, whichequals to 2055 x 3000 pixels.) It'salso helped me branch out a little in my artwork, such as with theme days,contests (the Darkness, especially), etc.

RH: How did you make the leap to being published?Any advice for other artists looking to break into the industry?

DM: Wow, well I'm not undercontract or anything, so it's not a leap that I've fully made, yet, LOL. But when I attended the San Diego Comic-Con in early August, I took myartwork and showed it around. A lotof people were interested and I swapped info with a lot of them. I had done a piece for Tidal Wave Studios the year before, so I showedDarren (who is the president) my recent artwork, and how it's changed. He asked me to try to create the 10th Muse using RenaMero. I did, and apparently theyliked it enough to use it as a cover, and asked me to do three more. I'm creating some artwork for other publishers as well.Right now, since I'm starting out, it's more about getting my nameout than the money that's being offered.

As for advice for other artists, I'd sayjust do what I did. I e-mailed GregHorn for advice on cons, and he basically replied with what I mentioned above. If you're ready, people will be interested in what you have to offer.The best advice is to just keep refining your style. I have so many things that I still want to change/work on/develop in myartwork.

RH: What have some of your major artisticinfluences?

DM: Well, from the photo-manipulation/digitalillustration, there aren't very many big influences. I would say some of the art in the DCG influences me, though I think ithas more to do with motivation than with influence. 4F (Rick, the artist) has a lot of great art that I used to look up to alot in the past, but now I think we're very different in approaches. Greg Horn is probably the biggest inspiration, because our art isprobably very similar, yet at the same time quite different, so whenever I seehis art, it inspires me to keep working and try to reach his level.

In the non-digital world, a lot of art hasinfluenced me. I would sayNeoclassicism, Romanticism, some ofthe early Modern Art, and a lot of comic art (naturally.) I wouldn't say one specific artist has influenced me a lot from them,but I like to keep some of them in mind when I'm doing art, like "how wouldAlex Ross approach this?"

RH: What's your dream assignment?

DM: My dream assignment would be todo something (when I'm ready) such as Marvels, or Kingdom Come, or theoversized comics that Alex Ross did for DC. I'd say that would be a dream assignment in comics.

RH: Plans for the future?

DM: Well, I'm still young, so myplans will most certainly change, but I'm hoping to travel around a lot, getas much experience as I can in comics, absorb a lot of the knowledge around me(I'm a VERY good sponge, with an excellent memory), and perhaps utilize itlater on down the road, maybe working high at a company or creating my own. Outside of comics, I want to pursue other interests, probably in a fewmonths.

RH: Will you still hang out at the DCG when youbecome the next Alex Ross?

DM: LOL, ummm...I will NEVER be asgood as Alex Ross .....just look at my art! ButI'm sure if I ever do make it in comics, I'll stop by every now and then. As RyanArya says, I'm an "internet whore".

Check out David's awesome art hereat the C2F Digital Concept Gallery (where he is known as Marrow2000) or at hisown website. You can also emailDavid and keep checking that Gallery; David will soon treat us to preview of hisupcoming 10th Muse covers!

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