Bombarded by the strange characters and fascinating world of video games as a child, Portuguese illustrator Pedro MS says this formed the initial foundations of his artistic pursuit: “At an early age that kept my imagination flowing,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It’s probably the main reason I decided later in life to become an illustrator.” These early interests were quickly followed by a fascination with comic books that led to Pedro choosing to study visual arts in high school and later graphic design at university.
Rarely utilising illustration during his degree, Pedro says he fully invested in the medium only after leaving education. But, because of this, his initial foray into drawing resulted in simplistic characters with no background and only basic colouring: “I realised I was a few big steps behind where I wanted to be at that time… That’s when I started to explore the vintage look of old ephemera.” Influenced by the halftones, textures, errors, overprints and paper stock, Pedro began incorporating these aesthetics into his own work. “My work gained that extra something that I thought it was missing,” he says. “To me, it looked like something that could belong in the past and in the present at the same time and I liked that idea, so I have been exploring this new style ever since.”
Made using pencils, black gel pens, brushes, black Indian ink and Photoshop, Pedro’s bizarre creatures are fascinating and mysterious, bordered by the warmth of old, oxidised paper. Referencing the panelled layout of comic books, Pedro explains that he has learned how to communicate an idea through combining smaller elements in his composition, as opposed to encapsulating narrative within a single image.
It’s the ambiguity of his illustrations that Pedro really treasures, however. Speaking on the dystopian stories of science fiction and horror that he looks to for inspiration, Pedro says that “most of these stories are shrouded in mystery and that is what I truly love – a story not fully explained, a character with an unknown past, a world that is so complex but we know so little.”
Looking forward, the artist says that he is currently working on his own comic book – the image captioned Dead Trees (WIP) is an extract from this – which is still in the early stages. Once finished, this will bring him closer, he hopes, to his dream of being able to live exclusively from his creative work: “That is my only objective."
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