Mike Azevedo is one of the rising stars of the digital art world. An illustrator and concept artist from Brazil, he works mostly for game companies, with clients including as Guerrilla Games, VOLTA, Riot Games, Applibot and Hex Entertainment. He also teaches a digital painting class at Innovation Creative Space and will be a speaker at next year’s Trojan Horse was a Unicorn festival in Troia, Portugal. “I was a kid who drew dinosaurs all day; now I’m a man who paints dragons for a living,” he says. We caught up with Mike to talk about his career, his mission to bring digital painting education to Brazil – and what he’s looking forward to at THU/2015.
Tell us about your journey
I always loved drawing, and, at high school, when everyone was deciding their career paths, I just looked at myself and knew I had made that choice long before.
After that, I started to look for information online, because this kind of education is lacking here in Brazil. I did a game design course, which finished in 2013, and that gave me a good perspective on the entire process of making a game, but painting I learned at home, through lots of failed sketches and attempts. I can’t say I was alone, since I asked for opinions from many artists online, like the Crimson Daggers group, and I had the help of many friends and family.
Today I’m a freelancer and teacher. Studying was a big struggle, still is, but I try to face it with a smile every day.
How do you want to impact the world?
One thing that would make me even happier is to make an entire game from my designs. I’m a huge fan of Dota 2 (for almost ten years, since the days of the original DoTA), so doing something related to that would be amazing too.
Also, I want to keep teaching here in Brazil and try to change the situation I was talking about earlier: to make information about digital painting more accessible to people who don’t have the means to reach it today.
What are you looking forward to at THU/2015?
Since I live really far away from everyone, I’m looking forward to finally meeting the faces behind the paintings. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Jana Schirmer, since she was one of the artists that messaged me back answering questions a long time ago, and it made a big impact on me. My own session isn’t settled yet, but the idea is that I’m going to give a live demo, talk a bit about about my career and give some portfolio reviews. It’s going to be an amazing event!
Next year’s Trojan Horse was a Unicorn festival takes place in Troia, Portugal from 16-19 September 2015. As well as Mike Azevedo, speakers announced so far include Star Wars legend Iain McCaig, ILM senior digital concept artist Kris Costa, Games Workshop illustrator Adrian Smith, and the master sketch artist Kim Jung Gi. For more information, or to buy a ticket for the show, click here.
What are you passionate about?
I’m very inspired by my family. My grandfather, for example, is a big role model to me and inspires me to do more. I’m also a fan of some pro gamers, like Dendi from DotA. It’s really inspiring to hear about these guys’ stories and there are parallels with digital art, since pro gaming is so new and most people don’t really know how it works.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
One thing I think is very important is to stay humble and positive while studying. It will keep you from getting frustrated, which is one of the big problems an artist has to deal with.
One piece of advice I’d give myself when I was starting out would definitely be: “Drawing is more important than painting. You can’t make a good painting from a bad drawing.”