Discovering passion in art with Tim De Leon

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Art. A creation with skill, emotion and imagination to express a simple thought, a feeling, and beauty. Art has an impact on society because it can change people’s minds, teach ideals, and translate experiences across place and time… But what is art with no passion?
Tim De leon is a Manila based artist with a love for art that has been growing for years. Being a kid from the 90’s Tim grew up interested in Japanese culture, anime and comics. This interest turned into inspiration and pushed him to grow and explore his skills. His unique style and perfect color palettes, together, create masterpieces that you simply cannot miss out!

How did you start as an artist and what has your journey been like?

I started art when I was a child as a hobby. Just like any other kid I wanted to impress my parents and seek validation and attention from them. After a while I realized I had a talent and decided to nurture it and kept drawing. I never knew that this hobby would grow into a passion of mine eventually. I grew up during the years where anime was growing popular and I was very intrigued by how the animators brought the characters to life. Way back in the 90’s, resources were not easy to find and since I couldn’t afford much, I would borrow comics and magazines from my classmates. I would try to draw the characters in these comics and develop my art skills. During my school years I would try to join any art events that were being conducted. My passion grew as the years passed. When I was applying to university, I decided to enroll into communication arts and eventually I was able to use my creativity in the field. Many people questioned why I chose to take up communication arts when I had an interest for fine arts for the whole of my childhood, but in my head, I saw it clearly. I, as an individual, didn’t want to be stuck in one field for all of my life. I had a vision. I wanted to learn, grow and explore as much as I could.

What was your inspiration growing up?

Most of my inspiration came from Japanese culture, the 90’s, Anime and sometimes my emotions. I grew up watching anime and it was something really new and fresh at the time. I would try to trace the art in those comic books and eventually started learning how to draw better. I like including elements of music as well. Sometimes I would incorporate song lyrics as the lettering for my art, tap into my emotions and create more with what inspiration I got after listening to tracks. As a person that is fascinated by fashion, I found inspiration in Street and urban wear too. From how I see it, It is always important to include things that you love into your artwork so that your personality can peek through. Showcasing who you are as a person through your art also allows you to create the aesthetic and style that best represents oneself.

If you were to give your art style a name , what would it be?

As we know there are a lot of styles out there and I have been trying to come up with a name for my style but haven’t put too much thought into it. I feel like I am still trying to understand what I want to do. Although, looking at my progress I am sure I’m on the right track of exploring my talent. I know that I like my colour palette to be muted, not too dark or bright, just enough tone. When it comes to the name, sooner or later, my instagram followers and fans can help give my style a name.

What is the process behind making art for you?

It really depends. For professional work , I try to research the project. First, I list down all my ideas and keywords related to the project. After all the data gathering, that’s when I came up with the main idea. I also go through Pinterest to create mood boards relating to the project. I spend most of my time playing around and figuring out the color combinations I want to use. Sometimes I want to create a contrasting piece, while sometimes I want to use monochromatic colors and see how I can use a specific hue or tone. Although before I can go forward with my ideas, I need to get the approval from the client. Time is very important and if the client does not like what I have come up with then I have to spend extra hours for another fresh idea. So I try not to go overboard from the start itself. For my Instagram or personal art, Any interesting that passes my mind, I try to note it down on my sketchpad. If I do not have time to draw it at the moment then I place a note on my phone so that I can retain the idea in my head. You never know when a great idea may pop into your head and leave so I find it important to take note of it either on my sketchpad or phone.

What are some difficulties you face when switching between digital and traditional tools of art?

The feeling of paper is completely different than working on a glass screen. You have more control over how you draw. Although working on a digital platform does have its advantages. On a digital platform, you can effortlessly correct a mistake. It’s easy, convenient, efficient and leaves you with a smooth finish. You can move around with an iPad easily and everything is stored in one place. That said, I still carry a sketch pad with me at all times because of the sense of comfort that traditional art carries.

What applications and softwares do you use?

On my iPad, I use Procreate and RoughAnimator. When creating art on my laptop, I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I attempted to use illustrator on my iPad as well sadly, it was very hard to navigate and overall it wasn’t user friendly. When using the software on a laptop, I can quickly locate tools and browse through them using a mouse which is not possible on iPad because of the difference in display. Another advantage of using a laptop is the ease with which you can access tools using shortcut keys.

Since you are such a detail oriented person , how long does it take you to create a masterpiece ?

I am a very meticulous person when it comes to art. I pay attention to every small detail, whether it be the shade of a color or an extra line. The fastest I have created an art piece is an hour and, in my opinion, it was only worthy of being posted on instagram. For a project assigned by a client, on the other hand, it would take me one to two weeks, including revising the piece. Since we all have our own thoughts and criticisms, it’s difficult to create artwork that the client will adore right away. Hence, why I always make sure to schedule time for any modifications I might need to make. It took me weeks to master the tools and how to navigate through them when I first started learning, and it took me even longer to learn how to make a simple illustration or layout. Only with a lot of practice was I able to improve my speed.

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