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Interview With Graphic Artist and Illustrator Marcelo Schultz

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Marcelo Schultz is a graphic designer and illustrator that specializes in typography, and is well known for an illustrative style that emulates the look of 3D. I recently had some time to chat with Marcelo. During our discussion, we talked about several topics ranging from social media to illustrative techniques. Let's take a look!

Q. Hi Marcelo, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from? What made you choose graphic design and illustration as a career?

I’m glad to be invited to talk to you guys. Well, as you can see in my works, the thing I most like to do is illustration. I have been drawing since childhood and my early experience with drawing is what influenced me to choose it as my career. I must say that I didn’t know if I would choose Architecture or design. I'm happy I went with design, as architecture is so complicated.


I Love Jazz - Lettering
Q. How has your style developed since the beginning? What inspires you to create such amazing and detailed artwork?

I used to draw cars, a lot! Always trying to reach a better result in terms of perspective, and realism. This made me improve my illustration skills.

The style came from the need to change the flat vector appearance that most artists use in their works. I like most of it, but I prefer to create illustrations that incorporate realistic textures and complex lighting.


Supra Footwear - Ellington Sneakers
Q. Most of your artwork begins as a traditional pencil and paper illustration. Why do you prefer this approach over 100% digital workflows?

A: When I began my career, computers were not as good as they are now. So when I learned illustration, I learned the traditional way. For me, the hand-drawn technique gives me complete freedom. I love my pencil and paper and would not want to create works that are 100% digital.


Harley Davidson Poster
Q. Can you walk us through your creative process from beginning to end? How does your artwork go from initial idea to final image?

The first step is to find the reference materials and color palettes. Then, I start some rough sketches to get a better composition. Once everything is looking balanced, I make the final sketch and send it to the computer. Some people think that I make 3D renders using 3D software. They’re wrong. I make my illustrations using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I have some videos of the process on my Vimeo channel.


Nike - Slogan "Just Do It"
Q. Many of our readers may not know that you actually wrote a tutorial for us quite some time ago. Has your process changed much since you wrote that tutorial?

No, the theory is the same, regardless of what I do. Vectors with a little bit of Photoshop.


Create “Awesome” 3D Style Lettering in Photoshop
Q. What are your favorite Photoshop tools? Are there any tools that you just could not live without?

The way I work is very simple, I don’t need any tools other than the Pen Tool, and the Brush Tool.


Nike - Just Do It - Experimental Project
Q. Can you share any basic techniques that our readers would be interested in? Any selection techniques, vector tips, or custom keyboard shortcuts that you like to use?

Some parts of my work are made in Adobe illustrator. There, I have more freedom to trim and merge objects. Adobe Photoshop CC is better than the old versions but still not as good as Illustrator. I make some complex vectors in Adobe Illustrator and bring them in to Photoshop as “shape layers”. That keeps the object fully editable, and you can change the paths using the Pen Tool.


Nike - Free Yourself
Q. You seem to put a lot of effort in to social media. How has social media helped further your career? Can you offer some tips to help our readers get the most from social networks?

Social media is almost as important as the quality of the work. What’s the purpose of creating amazing artwork if no one sees or shares it? I use my social media tools to share my work, and also to connect to people that follow me. For example, you can have many followers on Twitter, but some of them are not looking at the timeline all day, so they might miss your post. That is the importance of connecting with them on other sites like Instagram or Facebook. You have got a better chance to be seen when you post your work on multiple sites.


T-Shirt Design - Nesian Street
Q. On Behance, you put a lot of effort in to posting WIPs (Work in Progress) to your portfolio. Do you receive much feedback on your work? Has this feedback ever made you re-think the way you were approaching a project?

The most important thing about posting WIPs is to make your viewers connect to you, see what you’re doing, and what’s coming. It makes people interested in seeing the final version; and contributes to the success of your finished work. Of course, some of WIPs are for receiving feedback and can help you find out if there are better color combinations, or if something is not readable, etc.


Logotype Creation
Q. Recently, you were tasked with re-creating the Nike logo in a “highly dimensional and dynamic way, using footwear textures.” I loved how this piece turned out and I think it perfectly captured the look and feel of the reference images you had to work with. The shoelaces, colors, and textures were all perfect, in my opinion. Can you tell us a bit about this project? How did the idea for this project come about? What challenges did you face when creating this illustration?

This is one of my favorite pieces. The biggest challenge was creating the shoe parts, and to make them look recognizable. You can’t just apply the texture to the letter. You have to give the shoe personality. Because Nike has so many models and colors, I explored many ideas.


Nike - Futura Logo

Q. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. Have any final words for our readers?

It is my pleasure! Keep in mind what I said earlier about social media. Talk about your work as much as possible. That is the best way to get people to see what you are working on, and be creative!


San Francisco Lettering

Marcelo Schultz on the Web

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