Taken from Monstruo by Carlos Huante:
"to the artists there are a lot of art snobs out there so don't get discouraged. A lot of artsy-fartsy types, as I like to call them, don't respect what we do in film production (film or animation). These are the people who appreciate a square on a blank canvas.
Artists can make a good living working in film, but as far as individual expression goes, don't expect too much. Film is a collaborative effort. It's like being in a rock band with an egotistical guitar player and an exceptionally spoiled, lead singer, As an artist you usually get treated like a roadie, even thought as the artist you are probably the one leading the project creatively. You might think this is a jaded view of the industry but unfortunately it's just the plain truth. It;s what we do after knowing these things that makes us either cynical, miserable husk of a person or a strong, self-inspired creator who is resilient under pressure, and can continue to produce new, fresh ideas as well as inspiring others.
(he proceeds to talk about his process, which includes drawing with black prisma colours on layout paper)
It really doesn't matter how you approach colour, as long as your drawing is solid. If you have good taste in colour, you can make a good drawing sing. Remember though, good drawing is the most important thing.
Nowadays it seems that because of computers, some artists have become lazy about drawing. Computers are great tools, but are not the be-all and end-all. If you cannot draw, then really, what good are you? The computer can't do it for you, just like the pencil can't do it either.
Models are good for study, but unless you want to be a copy machine, you better learn to draw out of your head. "Imagination on paper" is the key. If you haven't learned to draw out of your head, what will you have to offer the client? You can't offer them a figure drawing when they're asking for a plant creature with three mouths and ten legs.
How do I approach design? Well, after the client has given me an idea as to what they want, and/or I have read the script, I usually get an idea. Sometimes It's clearer than others, but either way at least i have a feeling for what I'm going to draw. What I'll do is take what they asked for and add it to the feelings I got from the conversation I had with them. Its a little like mind reading i guess, there really is no science to it.
Concept is the stage where you invent and draw multiple ideas. Design is the stage where the best of those ideas are taken to the next level. Let's talk about concept first. for concept I try no to use reference. First of all there's not always the luxury of time and second of all I like to exercise my imagination. I believe it's the only way to create work that is unique to yourself and that doesn't look derivative. That's why i think the best training for artists is drawing from their imagination. life drawing is great training, and is necessary but what happens more often than not is people that have done the bulk of their training in school get locked on the human figure and things they see, and have a hard time trying to be inventive. They'll draw great costumes but will have a hard time trying to escape the human figure. I'm not saying life drawing has no value. I am saying that the bulk of training should be drawing at home from your imagination because you love it. If you don't love drawing or being creative then It'll show. The work will always look substandard
...(talks about designing mikey from Men in black)
I used no reference except for what was in my head, my imagination. I decided to make him frog like, I pulled out reference photos of different kind of frogs, looked at them and put them away. This is a good way to train your memory, which is the food for your imagination, and not merely copy what you see . 90% of the time i use no reference- but when i do, i find inspiration in shapes of plants, animations, insects, or machines
When I look at the works of artists like N.C. wyeth, frank frazzetta and stanislav szukalski, I use their work and that of great artists as the mark to which i aspire. I think it's important we measure ourselves as artists against established masters, to try to walk the path they have blazed, to least keep our eyes fixed on something solid. If you look at my drawing area at work, you'll notice among the mess are my john Buscema and Nicolai Fechin drawings. they keep me focused on what good drawing is, so I don't get lazy or bleached by the days. This is not reference but inspiration to remind of the beauty of drawing"