Camilla d’Errico is a highly skilled and impressively imaginative artist. Freely exploring multiple mediums with multiple media, among her many in-progress projects is illustrating the core thread to the DRAVN project, currently taking over the pages of Heavy Metal.
Was a creative spirit fostered in your childhood? Do you feel that artists can be especially sensitive to their formative environments?
My childhood was full of Saturday morning cartoons, and filled with the company of many children. I was always encouraged by my mother to draw and be creative, she would teach me how to draw animals along with the other children in her daycare.
I’m not sure whether being an artist made me more sensitive to my surroundings, but I do think that the 80s was a great time to be a kid. There were so many cartoons and shows for kids that encouraged strong morals and they did it in a way that was very relatable. I do think that my own environment helped me become the artist I am today, so it could be true for others as well.
I have a lot of ways that I channel my creativity, I draw, paint, sculpt, fashion design, and never stop trying new mediums. Graphic design was one way for me to focus my ideas, to see the printed media in a new way and to understand the mechanics behind the art. My love for comics has led me to try 3D animation, fine arts and graphic design. I can’t help but continually expand my knowledge in multiple medias.
What was your first impression upon hearing about the DRAVN project?
I was really excited! This was right up my alley, as it’s a great mix of steampunk, teenage drama, sci-fi, and history. I couldn’t dream up a better combo. I really liked Jesse as well, his enthusiasm and creativity were infectious and I was on board immediately.
As the character whose segments you are illustrating is in many ways the focal point connecting the assorted stories through time together, does it feel like you’re fronting a band? Was she your preference, of the diversive cast?
Britney was the first character conceived in the DRAVN project and the one that Jesse brought to me, so I do feel, in a way, that I was at the forefront of the project. I didn’t have a choice who I would draw, but that doesn’t matter because I feel very attached to Britney and her story.
What was the most challenging aspect for you, in your contributions to this world-building?
To create a character that was average but that stands out. Britney is limited by her circumstances, so she can’t have movie star hair or an outfit that was striking and truly harajuku or even remotely well put together. She’s a poor kid, in a small town, without the kind of lifestyle that lends itself to beauty. Unlike the other comic heroes out there, Britney doesn’t have the perfect look, so it’s refreshing, but challenging because people want to be attracted to their heroes, they want someone to aspire to be. Perfect body, perfect hair, perfect fashion. I think creating a world and characters outside a metropolis of fashion is great and refreshing but also challenging.
DRAVN creator Jesse Negron is new to comics, but not at all new as a writer or storyteller. As large as the premise is, and considering the creators involved reside all around the globe, was it the slightest bit surprising to see how everything came together like so? Is this the largest project you’ve thus far worked on?
Jesse’s mind is boggling! He has an absolutely incredible vision and I think he’s done a beautiful job bringing it to life and factoring in all the various layers to the DRAVN world. It is definitely one of the biggest projects I’ve ever worked on, but I also work in the gaming industry, so I’m used to projects with large worlds. It was definitely a ride to see DRAVN come together, just when you thought Jesse had finished, he’d throw in another layer that would expand and bring the world to a new creative turn.
I will work on this project until Jesse doesn’t want me anymore. I’ve been there since the beginning and I hope to continue to work on it in the future. But realistically, it also depends on the other projects that I am working on, sometimes it’s all about the timing.
Where do your interests lay outside of the Arts? How do you unwind?
I love movies and audiobooks, it’s a great escape from reality. Sometimes all I want to do is step into another world and experience life outside of our own reality. I love to obsess about certain characters and stories, but at the end of the day what I use to unwind is actually my own project Tanpopo. Since Tanpopo is based on literature, and I’m a lit nut, I can spend hours reading through poems and plays and project my characters into them.
Do you have your own magnum opus in mind?
I do, its called Helmetgirls. This is an idea that began with individual paintings in which I depicted a girl with a gargantuan headgear. I love these girls, and I want to create a graphic novel based on one segment of their universe. It’s a project that I have been conceiving for the past six years and I hope to get it underway once I complete my initial series Tanpopo.
From what I’ve seen, your visual style is very unique, with it being a bit difficult to figure your points of influence. Is originality a virtue in your world view? What tools of the trade do you make work?
Absolutely, originality is a huge point in the artistic world. It’s okay to emulate in the beginning, but to be creative you have to create what’s in your own head, not what’s in someone else’s. I have experienced the occasional oddity, when two people in two different places come up with the same idea. It’s so strange and rare, and it’s happened to me. There’s really nothing you can do at that point but high five and move on.
I use non-repro blue pencils to outline my comic work then I use bic pens to do the inking, as well as a few other pens I randomly buy at the art store. I’m in love with the look of a bic, it’s sketchy but solid, and allows me to create really organic line work. And I use water soluble oils by Holbein to do my paintings- it’s an amazing medium that I highly recommend.
If you could collaborate with any artist of any medium, living or dead, who would it be?
Raphael, hands down. I’m in love with his portraits, with how he saw the human form. He’s one of the great masters, and he only lived to be 37, so can you imagine what kind of mindset he had? I do. And I would love to spend a day learning from him.
Does the future feel like a positive place, or should we all stock up on duct tape?
If you mean the future of mankind, well, I’ve already got my zombie kit ready to go. I would love our species to wake up and realize just how destructive it is and learn from the mistakes that were made to better ourselves and take care of our planet, but it seems humans just can’t help but be consumptive. There are a lot of organizations doing good in the world, saving ecosystems and animals and I support them as much as possible, I have monthly charities to help support them, and help spread awareness.