Wacom’s Deep Dive interviewing LRNZ – Lorenzo Ceccotti
In our article about the LUCCA Comics & Games we promised you a Q&A blog post on Lorenzo Ceccotti. So here you go – ready for some eye-opening wisdom? As he prepares the visual for our booth at LUCCA Comics and Games this year, we had the chance to ask him some questions and get some insights you might be just as excited about as we are. Interested? Keep reading.
Lorenzo Ceccotti – the digital artist
You are a well known digital artist in Italy and an idol to many aspiring digital artists around the globe who want to specialize in narrative design, comics and games. So, tell us a bit about yourself, what made you become a digital artist?
Well, the answer is surprisingly clear: videogames. To be more specific, it was because of my childhood obsession about making one. Back then, many of my favourite artists were all game artists, making pixel art. I started with a Commodore Amiga 500 and Deluxe Paint. Got my first handy scanner and learned most of what I still do everyday as a digital artist when I was in my early teens. The real deal came in with my first Wacom tablet, of course. It was an Artpad 2, serial, 1993 if I recall correctly. I never stopped using Wacom tablets since then.
I’m a designer, illustrator, concept artist, director and comic book artist.
Very fascinating, probably some of our readers can actually relate to that – starting out with video games. So you already have quite some experience when you started in your teens.
The creative workflow and its biggest challenges
With all the experience you gained by now, you probably have developed a creative workflow that works quite well for you. What does your workflow look like and what are your biggest challenges?
The only thing that each one of my projects shares with the other is the very first step. I always start designing an appropriate workflow: I like to set a specific one for each project. Form is substance, if substance varies so does form. I like to be as specific as I can when it comes to form, so I like to fulfill different needs with different strategies and workflows. I love the idea that art will put me in a position where I have to constantly learn and invent new things.
Talking about challenges, I think I really make no difference from every other artist out there: time and the constant need for a better technical proficiency are the biggest ones for sure. I struggle everyday to become a better artist and this need for a better form surely contributes to my ever changing technical setup.
Wow – thank you for this insight – changing the workflow every time provides a lot of flexibility and versatility while becoming better at what you do. In the live-sessions on twitch we can see you’re working on a Wacom Cintiq Pro (right? / please correct if wrong) using Photoshop, which got us pretty hooked.
Why and what is the advantage? Is there other software or hardware or analog tools you turn to?
Yes! It’s a Cintiq Pro 24 that Alessio Tommasetti, an Italian Wacom Ambassador, kindly lent me for the occasion. I usually do my everyday work on a old school, tank built, relentless 21UX Cintiq that I love every single day I work on it (everyday since 2006!), and I was wondering if I could try some of the newer models to replace it as it’s starting to show some legitimate age. It was one of my best value for money purchase, that’s for sure. Alessio came to the rescue with his brand new pro 24. It’s a blast! I use Photoshop CS5. It’s quite old as we speak, It’s the last release I decided to buy. It works great and I really don’t need anything more than it already does.
To be honest I also don’t like the CC subscription model, nor the update system Adobe is selling now. As an artist I like the idea of being the owner of my own tools as much as I can. That’s why I like my 21UX and my CS5: I’m a blacksmith and they are my beloved hammer and anvil. They will never fail me. As I said before, I like to change my workflow, but I like to have full control on my tools as well. I really don’t like the idea of a hammer that “updates” by itself at night, even if it’s for my own good. I think of my tools as they are extensions of my body and I like to be in control of it.
Moreover: Photoshop CC is not as good as CS5 when it comes to responsiveness: I recently upgraded to the CC2019 but I was forced to apply for a full refund due to a significant lag on every brush stroke start. I love Clip Studio Paint as well and I pray everyday to see something like Procreate running on Wacom hardware. I also do a good 50% of my work on paper.
I usually mix analog and digital to get the best of the two worlds: the outstanding mechanical precision and predictability of the digital world, its unique ability to composite several mediums into one and the richness and randomness of the traditional, analog world. My favourite analog tools are graphite, pens, inks and gouache.
Thanks a lot for your openness and your ideas – hopefully, they get heard. You just mentioned you do about half of your work on paper and the other digital. Which benefits do you see in working digitally?
Basically, once I got my first Wacom, I spent at least 10 years doing digital only artworks. I was so amazed with the possibilities that I completely forgot the traditional world. As a digital drawing/painting enthusiast I noticed that sometime I ended up emulating real world tools with my digital, Wacom driven setup. I realized that it was taking way too much time to achieve the same (if not worse) results I could have obtained working on traditional mediums.
My art process started as fresh as it could possibly be and it was slowly becoming like building a ship in a bottle. Painstaking method to make digital peculiarities disappear from my work, like its digital nature was something you should hide.
I was wrong! Digital has some very specific strengths and should be used for those kind of needs: constant width line art, flat colors, remarkably wide color options within a single ethereal platform, being able to change idea with no medium physical limit to stop you from rethinking your artwork bottom up – just to name a few. I then started working with a totally different approach, trying to get the best of the two worlds.
Analog art came back in my toolbox, offering unrivaled speed and richness for all of those tasks that require endless detail and dynamic range in brush and pen strokes. I started mixing the two worlds with some very tricky workflows at times. It could be traditional art, a graphite piece scanned in my computer for color enhanced and digital painted details, then printed out on traditional hot pressed watercolour paper and painted over with watercolour and gouache, maybe getting back in the computer for a final color correction before sending it to the print shop. With so much tools at your disposal, imagination is the limit.
This might actually help a lot of aspiring artist rethink their workflow – thanks a lot for the insight into your personal approach and development towards digital art up until now.
The outlook on digital art
How about the future, what are we going to see from you next, now that all of us have you on our radar?
Oh, we will, that certainly is something to look forward to. Thank you so much Lorenzo for giving us some insights on how you work, it has been a true inspiration to us.
Watch Lorenzo create
Don’t you just wish you could have a sneak peak on how other artists create their artwork?
Well, Lorenzo gives you some insight on twitch, where videos only last for a limited amount of time. Thus, he tries to show some live painting each day – so check Lorenzo’s videos on Twitch.
Lorenzo was so kind as to upload the live-drawing videos of how he created our booth’s visual to Youtube for us, so you could see them still, when they are not available on Twitch anymore.
So here you go – enjoy: