Estúdio Romeu & Julieta is a Brazil-based studio that has created some truly fantastic commercial illustrations for clients like McCann, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, and many more. In this interview, co-owner and creative director Jean Campos discusses the company's origin, work philosophy, and commercial success.
QWelcome to Psdtuts+ Estúdio Romeu & Julieta! How have you built and improved your portfolio over the years? What drives you to improve?
Estúdio Romeu & Julieta has been in the market for five years now and we have had the opportunity to create high quality professional work that uniquely reinvigorates our work process each time. I believe the creative and aesthetic evolution of our portfolio is based upon this, and each person who comes here is able to put a brick into the production process. Today, we have built a nice house, and maybe one day we may even have a wall to surround it! We experienced great difficulty in the beginning but over time we have learned that the studio should be a place where everyone is happy and proud to be here. Ultimately, our work philosophy is based on companionship, laughter, and some great competitive battles on Xbox!
QAt which point did you realize the commercial potential of your style?
My wife Patricia and I always had a dream to create a business model different from conventional companies in Brazil. We imprinted this in our earlier works of illustration we did for small businesses. And when the studio began operation, within the first month we had already closed our first major campaign for a famous soft drink brand in Brazil, Kuat (Coca-Cola). Our style is more than just one standard aesthetic, and has evolved into a mixture of ideas, concepts, and inspirations.
QWhat are the top five resources you look to for inspiration?
My day can only begin after I take a stop at Abduzeedo, Behance, CGHub, Shadowness, Adsoftheworld, and many others. On my desk I have several books nearby, Color and Light, by James Gurney is one of them. And I have gone mad with the latest work produced by Ars Thanea and Zombie Studio! But my biggest motivation is my 2 year old daughter. She lives in a crayon world. She loves to scratch up my Cintiq and make cappuccinos, but there is really no greater inspiration than her. I am rooting for the day that she might follow in my footsteps.
QYour "Level Design Mapa RS" a visual representation of the state of Rio Grande do Sul/Brazil, is a masterful creation with huge amounts of detail. Could you walk us through the process for this piece?
We always like to start by talking to everyone involved with the project. Starting with the creative agency and the client, we try to understand what they expect from the work while listening to their opinions. With the information from the briefing in hand, we move on to an internal meeting with the team and those who will be directly involved with the project. We talk for a few hours, have a couple of good laughs, and try to make the journey of the project an enjoyable experience. We know that work of this magnitude and complexity can cost us many sleepless nights, so it’s important for us to define all our parts and figure out the best way to produce this work.
During the initial team meeting we sketched the layout directly onto the computer with the assistance of a Cintiq. After two days of studies and concepts, we sent the sketch of the map to the agency and client for approval. The client loved all of the elements described and was excited to see its transformation into a 3D illustration. Our next team meeting helped us identify how we would produce each region of the map, and which elements would need to be done in 3D, as a digital painting, or a photo manipulation.
The project was to be completed over a span of 30 calendar days so each stage of the production was scheduled out to each appropriate artist. It’s a job divided amongst both 2D and 3D artists who handle all the details of rendering each region. With the rendering almost complete, the map is presented to the customer for any further changes until the client gives us the final “Ok.”
QWhat was the original brief for the project?
The creative agency proposed to illustrate a new map of the state because they believed that a design that properly incorporated its characteristics and personality would represent the state of Rio Grande do Sul as the artifice of communication. Originally, we received a brief of the 11 regions which make up the state as well as a list of strengths for each one. While there aren’t any similar examples from other states in Brazil, this map can be used as a guide, a reference, as well as a nice poster.
QWhat do you feel is your best and most imaginative work to date? How did it come about?
I think for us the map of Rio Grande do Sul was the most challenging project we’ve ever had. It required a closer look at the development process and although it isn’t perfect, it makes the viewer spend a good time looking at all of the details. We were responsible for the design, research, and development of the CG and post production. We care about each detail we create; every animal and every person was crafted to reflect the true reality of those regions. It was an honor for us to take on the project and we are creating similar ones for other states and countries.
QThanks again for the opportunity to interview you for Psdtuts+! Is there any final advice you could give our readers about building their own portfolio as well as how to successfully work with commercial clients?
The market will only grow if you want it to grow. I see many people wanting to do things but they sit in their offices with no action and it’s turning their worlds upside down. There is no formula for good deals but we must make mistakes, learn, and evolve. Do not settle with what you are currently doing, it might be a sign that you’re doing something wrong. Look to expand your work and always try new things.