Messy, exaggerated, twisted, stretched.
No, this isn’t the latest Ax Hair Paste commercial – this is how Geoff Pascual, watercolor artist (specializing in comic and anime characters), describes his style of portraying his unique versions of superheroes, super-villains, ninjas, alchemists and many more characters in his artwork. His creative use of paint splatters and volatile line work help to accentuate movement in his pieces as they “kick butt.”
In contrast to the dynamic look of his pieces, Geoff is clean cut and soft spoken. Though upon our first meeting, it was evident that there was something else brewing beneath the surface – a sense of confidence, a degree of bravado that manifests itself in his work. By the end of the interview, I found that this was tempered by a high degree of rationality. Who would have thought that someone with such a carefree, wild art style was so analytical?
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a water color artist based in Orange County, CA. I’m inspired mostly by anime and video game character work.
You mention anime and video games, what are some of you favorite anime and video games?
I only got into anime a few years ago, so I’m still catching up. I’m sure there are a lot more I need to watch, but right now I’m into One Piece, so a lot of my recent pieces are from that show.
When I’m watching, I like to take screenshots of certain poses or action scenes that I really get inspired by and I end up painting them.
If One Piece has been your focus most recently. What’s next?
Well, a lot of people have been asking about Street Fighter. It goes really well with my style because I like painting action – so Street Fighter would do really well.
I don’t know if you remember the intro for the Street Fighter 4 video game, but it looks similar to your current “messy” and “splatter” water color style.
You know, I actually never got into Street Fighter – I heard a lot about it, and I’ll definitely look into it. But for fighting games, I was more into Super Smash Bros. Melee – huge fan. So that’s probably what kept me away from other fighting games. As for Street Fighter, I’ve seen other artist’s portrayal of the characters, so I’m really interested in it and I’m going to have fun with those characters.
The sky is the limit, especially with your style since it lends itself to depicting motion – giving your pieces a more heightened sense of action.
Yeah, it’s really hard to get movement in your painting, you really have to practice. It’s more of a compositional thing, plus along with my “messy” and “splatter” style, it really adds to the movement of the piece.
When did you start to seriously pursue becoming a water color artist?
It crept up on me. It used to be a hobby but then ever since I started selling my artwork online, it’s very easy to start online and ship, my fan base started to grow over the course of a few years. I just recently started attending events a few months ago and it’s been going really well so we are actively pursuing events now.
Which ones have you been to recently?
In addition to Anime California (which took place at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, from August 22–24, 2014), we are also at KTOWN Night Market at the Angel’s Stadium, 626 Night Market at Arcadia in the Santa Anita Racetrack.
Any plans to attend other cons? How about other cons across the U.S.?
Anime California is our first con. We have plans to attend other cons in the upcoming months. In the future, it would be nice to go out of state…maybe even out of the country because it would be great to go on vacation and also showcase my work in other parts of the world.
How did you first hear about Anime California?
My girlfriend is my manager and she probably found out about Anime California through Google. I first heard about them probably back in February (2014) – before I started doing cons. We heard it would be their first event and it’s our first as well, so I thought it would be a great combination.
So are you a “Full-time” artist now?
Yes, this is my full-time job now – well for the summer it’s full-time. I’m also a business student at Cal State Fullerton. When I go back, I’ll be splitting my time.
I was selling online for two years and the first year was very slow. So I was selling maybe a print a month. Now it’s way different since I started putting up more stuff – more stuff has been selling. As long as I put my time into it, I get back what I put into it.
So if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing instead?
Probably a full time student. Right now, I spend half my time as an artist and the other half as a student. That’s why I chose to study business, just in case, so that I have something to fall back on. But, demand for my art work has picked up and is doing well now. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably be working for someone else until I got enough capital to pursue my own business. Right now I’m taking Entrepreneurship – I really like the idea of working for yourself.
For now I haven’t had to find a job yet – I have an opportunity to manage myself and get some real world experience from what I’m learning in school.
Right now you are known for your water color style, any plans to try other styles?
Currently, that’s all I showcase right now, but I have experimented in other mediums, but for water color, I basically just lay down a sketch of what kind of poses I like. Sometimes I do thumbnails and rough drafts to see what kind of composition I want to make, then I do a final sketch in pencil, I lay a bunch of water color – no line work, no dark or lights yet – just straight color. After I put in the water color, you can see my sketches underneath it and then I touch it up with line work.
I’m constantly changing my style and trying new things, so what you see a year from now probably won’t be what I have today.
Is there a specific process on how to mix your colors?
You know, most of it is practice. I do think about it sometimes but most of the time it’s instinctual. Over the years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I’ll put a splatter in a certain spot because it balances out the whole composition. Sometimes you just have to step away or zoom out from the painting and see how it looks and then improve it from there.
How old were you when you first started drawing?
It’s always been my passion. So it’s a blessing to have a job, doing what you love. Since elementary school, people have been asking me for drawings. I used to just doodle in class, even drawing art on my arms.
If you could have dinner with one fictional person (dead or alive) or one non-fictional person (dead or alive), who would it be?
You know growing up watching Dragon Ball, Kid Goku was hilarious. I really love the first series, so, it would have to be Kid Goku. Actually, for my wallet, probably not Goku – he’d make me go bankrupt!
Where would you eat?
Probably a ramen shop. Whenever I watch anime, I like to eat ramen – must be from watching Naruto.
Out of all the characters that you have painted, do you have a favorite?
For superheroes, hands down it would have to be Spider-Man. Surprisingly it’s not a very popular one for other people – but I liked the way it turned out.
Have you had any formal training?
It’s been my passion, so I’ve been practicing over and over since elementary school, trying different mediums – water color just stuck. But as far as art in general, I’m mostly self-taught. I’ve taken a couple of classes, taking away some techniques and information – but I would say that I’m 90% self-taught. That’s why I’m going to school for business, so I can learn something that I can’t teach myself.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
What really got me into water color was the artist named Wednesday Wolf . When I saw his artwork, I was really amazed because I never thought watercolor could look that dark. Just the way the medium was used – I had never seen it before. So I needed to try it since hadn’t tried watercolor yet in that style. So I tried and practiced and then I eventually come up with my own style, since I picked up other techniques along the way.
Wednesday Wolf is where I started – actually someone at Anime California asked me about Wednesday Wolf since they had previously interviewed him. It would be great to meet him at a con sometime in the future.
What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring artists?
Work your hardest. There is no secret. You get in what you put out. So if you practice every day, you draw every day, you are going to get better at it. You also have to love it because you will be doing it a lot.
Are there any projects that we can look forward to in the near future?
I’ve been asked to do an 8 ft. x 8 ft. Pokemon wall mural at the 626 Night Market (which happened on 9/12/14). It will be a Pokemon themed art walk so I’m planning on putting my dream team up there. So I’ve been practicing on wood since it will be a wood wall. Sometimes I’ll bring them to various events and people will ask if there any prints of them. I never planned to get any prints made but since so many people were asking for them, I think it would be awesome to get some wood series prints made – which we will be doing soon (see below for recent Nujabes, Zoro and Dragonite wood prints).
So who is on your dream team?
Definitely Umbreon will be there. Umbreon is my tank. I’m a huge fan of Dragonite. So it would be cool to have a life size version of Dragonite up there. Gallade would be my sweeper. Those would be the main three that come to mind – but still have a lot other favorites. I’ll just have to see which characters will look better on a life size canvas.
Aside from art, are there any other interests or hobbies that you have?
I’m into watches, in the aspect that it’s like artwork because it’s so tiny in the inside and when you have a mechanical watch…with all those gears, something beautiful like that instead of a Quartz, I just find it fascinating. I even bought my own kit and started experimenting, taking it apart and putting it back together…it’s fun!
I inherited this one from my grandfather – this is the one that actually got me interested in watches originally.
If you were to go back in time and tell your 13 year old self one thing, what would it be?
To never stop doing what you love. I’ve been around…I’ve been through a crises deciding what I really wanted to do. It’s really scary actively pursuing artwork. People can like your stuff. People can hate your stuff. But if you do what you love – and you love doing it, you are obviously going to get better at it because you practice it, you can find a way to make money off of it…and you’ll lead a happier life (laughs).
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years – I actually have no idea. I had no idea where I was going to be probably a year ago. Things just have been picking up, I’m meeting new people, I’m getting new opportunities. I recently got interviewed by an L.A. Times reporter who so happens to also be working with Disney, so I have a big opportunity to have my art work in WonderGround Gallery hopefully in the future.
I also got approached by a marketer for Scion for doing some custom work. I’m meeting new people everyday now so hopefully I’ll have a bigger name for myself in five years.
What’s the best way for people to keep track with what you are up to?
I’d say Instagram (@PascualProductions). I personally update that one. You’ll see a lot of work in progress pics, sneak peaks and up close detail shots of all my artwork. I put out probably a painting a week – so you’ll see a lot of content on there.
Thanks for the interview Geoff!