Juan Richard Feliz on Moebius, Jodorowsky, and nostalgia for the future

Juan Richard Feliz on Moebius, Jodorowsky, and nostalgia for the future

This article is part of INTERLINKED, a series where we speak with industry experts who influence the making of games like our sci-fi RTS CHAOTIC ERA.

In many ways, the world of science fiction can be marked by the time before Alien and Blade Runner hit theaters, and the time after.

Those films, along with other 80s classics like Terminator ushered a dark and gritty vision of humanity's future into the mainstream. An artistic language filled with fog and cold steel; space marines and hardboiled detectives. And one that our studio, and artists around the world, fell in love with from a young age.

But, of course, there isn't just one way to see the future. Juan Richard Feliz, a talented digital artist based out of Madrid, has a bright and bold take on science fiction. Filled with vivid colours, vibrant scenes, and striking contrasts.

And while, here at Bobby Technology, we have a passion for the dark and moody; we also love the eye-popping designs of artists like Juan who mix the psychedelia of 60s and 70s sci-fi films beautifully with the inky anime sensibilities of 90s comic work. 

We had the chance to sit down with Juan and dig into his influences and artistic process.

1. Juan, your work stands out in the world of sci-fi concept art; the vibrant, intense colors contrast with the darker, monochrome palettes you typically see. What's the inspiration behind your choices in color?

Initially, I learned that using sober colors can help people relate fictional objects or places to reality. As a sci-fi artist, you want to show places you would like to explore and vehicles that look like they can be driven. You learn that it helps to make spacecraft look like they were manufactured by NASA.
Then, in my case, I found Moebius and Jodorowsky, I started watching documentaries about science and nature and I realized that the universe is full of color, eccentricity, and wonders.
If you own a spaceship, you would surely paint it differently than the rest. You would put stencils and stickers on it. Over time, I came across other artists who use fascinating color palettes that you identify with and learn from. Humans and nature may be the short answer.
You know what they say, find the others.

2. Which artists would you say are the biggest influences on your style?

Moebius, mid-90s comic artists, Todd McFarlane, Otomo’s animation lineart, and Feng Zhu's concepts blew me away in 1999. These were my first discoveries. I wanted to do comics and animation.
Recently, Every artist with beautiful lines and colors has something that I like and that inspires me.
By mentioning some I would feel like I’ll be betraying others. Be lenient with me on this one. Robbie Trevino, Emerson Tung, Ailantd Sikowsky, Space Gooose, Jake Parker.

3. What's your typical process for concept art? Which tools and techniques do you use most often?

I think that in that I am largely classic. I look for references and inspiration on the topic that interests me, I create a mood board, lately, I use the PureRef app, sketch whether on paper or digital, debug ideas, and inking on the blue line sketch in Photoshop.
For some reason, I always have the characters or the main elements separated from the background, as if the animation influence was always in my art.

4. Your work has a nostalgic quality to me-- reminding me of things like the covers of 90s comic books, and 80s Saturday morning cartoons. What role does nostalgia play in your work?

I think my introduction to science fiction has something to do with it. As a kid, I watched Star Wars with characters repairing broken robots and telling stories of bygone eras. I like to explore the everyday aspects of sci-fi. solve human problems like eating, sleeping, and repairing. All used and a little worn. Enjoy the sunset or find shelter from the rain on a distant planet.



I believe the best pieces of science fiction are the ones that give you clues about what it might be like to visit other worlds. Maybe the feeling of nostalgia that you may perceive is not necessarily from the past, but from the future. Imagine the places we will be able to go, the things we will be able to see and do. I’m missing it already.


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