Artist: Fred Rambaud
Location: Quebec, Canada
🖼 "Hi, my name is Fred Rambaud. I'm 44. Born in El Salvador, currently located in Canada in Quebec. Been creating visuals for a living for 19 years and specifically in the Entertainment Industry for the past 15. Nowadays, my focus is mainly on characters, but from time to time, I go back to my "generalist" background and do illustrations, props, and environment art if needed. I mainly work for video game clients but occasionally work on movies and TV, although rarely. I am not a fan of their chaotic schedules. I prefer steady video game contracts."
❓Who or what influenced your artworks and art style the most at your early steps? Tell us about your journey.
🗣 Mainly comic books, movies, and TV cartoons that were available in the 70ies and 80ies when I was a kid. Because we used to travel and move a lot, I got to experience a large variety of content from Latin American, North American to European and Asian media content. I guess yea I bathed in "action-adventure" type of vibes from day 1 :) And it stuck with me. I drew all the time, but the lightbulb went up when I got my first Conan comic book. We had moved to France from Latin America, and I was having a hard time at school. So I took refuge in comics, more animated shows, and more art. I usually bought Fantasy European comics (Bande Dessinées) so Conan was an obvious door into American comics. My brain just flatlined. Big John Buscema was the penciller....to this day, he remains one of my all-time favorite artists. Super Conan, number 41, September 1989, if I am not mistaken. I was 12. And that was the day I consciously decided to become an artist for a living.
❓How did you start your professional career and how did you come to that?
🗣 I started my first job at Funcom, a Norwegian video game company in Oslo. I got the job the old-fashioned way by grinding years and years before that, and making many failed applications, and constantly revising my portfolio. Responding to jobs on companies' websites and sending spontaneous applications as well. Until one day, I started getting interviews, and I landed that first job.
❓What are hardware and software tools are you using at your workspace and why?
🗣 My main tool is Photoshop. It is a powerhouse and can do everything I need to do. Zbrush for 3D concept art. I've used it for 6 years now. It suits my fast and rough style of concepting. Keyshot for renders, prior to that I did my renders in ZBrush, it is good enough. Last December I bought a Quest 2, and I have been playing with the medium. I love it. I use it only for rough concepts. Need to set some time aside to practice creating more polished designs.
❓What do you think is the best way to work for you: full-time, freelance or part-time?
🗣 Definitely freelancing. I never thought I would like it and never did try to build that environment for myself. I stumbled upon it by chance, and it is by far the most fun, less frustrating, and most lucrative way of life for me. I love the freedom of scheduling my day as I see fit around my priorities. I understand that when you are beginning, it is difficult to be a successful freelancer, I have been there, but if you continue to grow your skills, promote yourself and have a solid reputation, you will get offers.
❓What was your most challenging project so far and why?
🗣 Hum... I would say all of my early projects during the first half of my career. Simply because my skills were not up to standard.
❓What do you think are some portfolio "must-haves" as a freelance artist/2D artist/3D artist?
🗣 I can only speak for myself, but every time I have a bit of success with a personal piece, it is when I draw what I want, how I want it without thinking about the industry standards and what is popular, etc. My personal art time is rare and precious. I will not waste it for the sake of likes or potential clients. Now that being said, every art director is different. Again I don't like speaking for others, but I find that most art directors, and myself included, will hire artists that have in their folios what we need for our project. So if you really like fantasy, then do fantasy, etc. Again, a simple piece of advice: Be yourself, make the art you want to make. Be the artist you want to be. If you stay true to that, you will be able to see what paths to choose to get you where you want to be, and clients will come knocking.
❓What do you think is the most important thing artists need to develop to succeed?
🗣 A bit of what I said in the previous question. Be unique by being yourself. That combined with high-end skills acquired by training smart and hard and professional behavior is all you need. By being yourself, you will cultivate your own creative sense, style, and design or ideas if you prefer. Your signature. I think artists are exposed to too much noise these days. It is easy to be swayed and influenced by social media and lose sight of where you were supposed to go. It is fine, don't get me wrong. Experimenting and checking what people are doing. Exploring avenues etc. But letting trends and popular artists dictate what you should do or create does not sit well with me. It doesn't matter what tool you use, or what platform you are in, or how you decide to sell your products or promote yourself... What matters is the end goal. Be proud of your art, put in the quality, value, and love into it. The clients will come.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣 Tough question... I love my jobs... and I love my personal work, so I am pretty satisfied. I think I would love to see one of my projects come to life. Become an animated show or a game or comic. Obviously a successful one ☺️
❓Can you tell us about a personal or a professional project you are proud of?
🗣 Most of my personal work, even if they are not perfect or not exactly how i wanted them to look? The Fat Baby Boto was a fun one, and the band of Scifi Mercs Kalaveraz was nice to do as well. I usually make stories and create a world around my concepts. I rarely draw random things without direction. So all my projects have been thought out with a backstory and setting, which makes me appreciate them even more.
❓Is there anything you learned in the industry that you didn't expect?
🗣 Not really. As an artist, there were no surprises. What was interesting to discover was how productions are. The whole chain of creating a product that is to be sold. How games are made, how TV Shows are made, how a book is made etc. It is pretty interesting to get a chance to see that firsthand.
❓What are you passionate about and do you have any hobbies besides art?
🗣 I am mainly passionate about art in general. I really put most of my free time into training my artistic skills. I love it. I love that simple journey of grinding away to get better and that clarity of focus studying and training a specific skill gives you. Besides that, I like to read, watch shows and movies, and to stay healthy. And of course, traveling and teaching too... had a lot of plans about that before the pandemic hit. I had workshops lined up all over the world! It was going to be interesting, but I had to cancel all that. Of course, the online alternatives for teaching exist, and I have done some since then, but I find the human contact adds another dimension to the experience. I plan on getting back to teaching, even if it is online, next year. Other than that, not much for my lifestyle. I lead a very simple and quiet life with my little family. Nothing groundbreaking :)
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer to, what would it be?
🗣 Lol. This is one of those questions you hear in a Pageant competition or Eurovision... The secret to perfect health... So I can keep on drawing forever! Hahaha!