Why concept artist Sergio Sandoval (Pan’s Labrynth, Hellboy, DC Comics) embraces the uncanny

Why concept artist Sergio Sandoval (Pan’s Labrynth, Hellboy, DC Comics) embraces the uncanny

via Behance

This article is part of INTERLINKED, a new series where we speak with industry masters who influence the making of games like CHAOTIC ERA. Sign up for our newsletter here or follow us on Twitter to dive deeper into the worlds of artists, game developers, and more.

This week we’re speaking with Sergio Sandoval, concept artist and comic artist whose work many of us will recognise in The Faun from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan's Labyrinth. Sandoval has also collaborated with Guillermo del Toro on Hellboy and Hellboy II: Golden Army, as well as DC Comics on Superman, Batman, Arrow and more. We spoke with Sandoval to learn about the process behind his creative visions and where his skills will take him next.


Your concept art portfolio includes creatures, weapons, vehicles, beautiful landscapes, and characters among other things. How does your process change depending on the subject matter?

I treat all subjects in the same way. I study the elements I have to design very well. I take note of their different characteristics and look for references/inspiration in real things. I adapt and deform them in the direction of the specifications given to me and from that point on it's all trial and error.

My design process is exactly the same for an environment, prop or character. One thing I do is to look for what other artists have done in similar designs, to get as far away as possible from what others generally do. I analyze what they haven't done and why, and try to take the road less traveled. This way I get (or at least try to get) an unusual design.

via ArtStation

What is one of your favourite projects to have worked on?

I can't talk about my favorite project to date, but I can explain why I like it the most.

My art director is a very talented person both artistically and analytically and it's wonderful to work with him. But the best of all is that it is a very young project in which I have a lot of freedom to create and propose things. Much more freedom than in any film, video game or comic I've ever worked on. A dream for an artist.

What were some unexpected learning experiences you’ve had throughout your career?

Unexpected... was to start working as a Concept Artist at a very young age for Ddt Special Effects. It was unexpected because my passion had always been to be a comic book author and create my worlds through that medium. Starting my career as a concept artist taught me that there was another professional sector in which I could create things but in a much more concrete way and for which I would charge much better than in the world of comics.

The Faun character design for Pan's Labyrinth, via Behance

Starting my career as a conceptual artist taught me that there was another professional sector in which it was required to create things in a much more concrete way and with much more depth. With Ddt I learned to design under strict specifications and to think how it could be done physically so that it would work correctly in reality, since at that time, everything we designed would have to be done physically and not by CGI.

A common theme in your work is the fantastic and supernatural, what is it about those genres that’s special to you?

The fantastic, the supernatural and science fiction, are themes in which an artist with the desire to create feels really comfortable because there are no limits. The limit is your imagination.

via ArtStation

I have always had a weakness for these fantastic themes. Since I was a child I loved to travel to these worlds (books, movies, comics...) or to create new realities in which I was the architect of everything. Movies like Alien, Blade Runner, Star Trek and The Thing were masterpieces that in my youth led me to love the genre of science fiction and fantasy horror.  For me they are genres that awaken my passion and my creativity... I can't explain why, hahahaha!

Kroenen mask for the film Hellboy, via Behance

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about any of your future projects?

I am currently working on 2 projects in parallel. I can't say anything about one of them, only that it's in the video game sector. The other one is a medieval historical comic for the French publisher Dupuis, with the writer/screenwriter/historian, Salva Rubio. A great project in which I am very happy to participate.

On the other hand, and working on them intermittently, are my science fiction projects with screenwriter David Carbajal and my Medieval fantasy comic "Alma Cubrae."

via Behance


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