Interview: Diego Morali Romo

diego morali romo

Name: Diego Morali Romo

Where do you live: Queretaro, Mexico.

Known for:
Illustration and concept art.

Currently working with: 
Right now I am working at an advertising agency doing illustrations for some international big brands here in Mexico. I am also freelancing by my own.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this?
Well, I have been drawing since I can remember. I think it was the influence of my grandfather who was an illustrator and worked for MGM studios making those awesome hand-made posters we no longer see at the cinemas. I think it is clear that my admiration for his work has always been present in my life. But I never thought about illustration as my career, it was because there was another passion for me which at the end it led me to illustration, and it was the music. Back in 2004 I started to study music because I wanted to be a Jazz guitar player, but music never was that natural to me as the way drawing was, because drawing was always present in all stages of my life and it was an everyday habit for me. By 2007, I went to live to France for a year, and that trip was what made me change my mind on the music as my career. I asked myself if I wanted to be a musician instead of an illustrator, so illustration won and I started drawing more seriously.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
I think it would be Montreal in Canada, it is just my kind of city. There is just so many awesome things to do, people love culture, design and illustration, and the weather is very different to where I live, which in fact is the opposite weather hahaha, but that is great for me.

How would you describe your creativity?
I really think it is very difficult for me to answer this question, because it is a part of me and I don’t know if I can answer it objectively. I love to portray emotions on my artworks, I think it is very influenced by emotions or moods I want people to feel. I also think my work is versatile because I usually adapt myself to the projects and “styles” to get more work, but at the same time I have my own graphic language which is also important.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
When I came to Mexico from France in 2008 I started to take this more seriously, so I started to study everyday and practice more intensely.

What do you do at the moment?
Lots of Michelin Ads and storyboards, but I’m also working on commissions and projects of my own.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Patience! Patience! I think that’s an important part of make the business work. It is also important to value what you do, there are tons of people that will try to get you to work on projects for free or for almost nothing. Try to charge the amount of money that you will be happy to work for, and learn to say “no” when you need to.

Tell us how it all started.
Well, it just started when I left music and I started to go to the university studying graphic design. I think it just happened that I was being invited to participate on great small projects because some designers didn’t know how to draw and I did, so opportunities just knocked on my door with time. I know it sounds easy but it wasn’t. By that time I just bought my first wacom tablet and I just sat down every day for like 8 hours after school and 24 hours on weekends, I didn’t even go out with friends on weekends because I wanted to get better so bad so I got stuck on my computer every minute on my free time! With time it just started to pay off because I started to make better things and I got closer to the industry standards – it was all hard work.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Organization and time optimization to be able to work peacefully and more consistently. I think that is the most important thing: Peace.

What is your favorite film?
Blade Runner, it’s just an incredible film – from the story, music to photography, concept art, it has it all!

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
I think that would be my grandfather who was an awesome illustrator for MGM studios, and my main inspiration, because I didn’t have the time to talk about illustration with him as he passed away a long time ago…

How do you like to spoil yourself?
The best way to spoil myself means going on a trip with my girlfriend and/or doing something with her (illustration related) like going for a pizza and draw all day long together…

What is luxury for you?
For me, Luxury is to be able to work 100% of my time on my own dream projects with no worries about money or time, and at the same time having my people close to me…

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
I think the most awesome compliment I have ever received was that Stanley “Artgerm” Lau told me: “I like your work”. In that moment time just froze. I just want to thank this awesome guy for sharing his wisdom and tips with me and the community – he made a difference in my career. It was also very inspiring to see an impressive artist like himself with such a humble attitude, I really admire this man!

What do you fear most?
To not be able to fulfill my dreams and not having enough time in my life to achieve them.

What is a happy life to you?
Doing what I love, with the people I love by my side and letting go what I don’t need in my life, I think that way I’ll make my dreams come true and live a happy life.

What does a regular day look like for you?
I get up, I go to work, then go home and try to do different things when I can. Like going out with my girlfriend, relax a while, taking a cup of coffee elsewhere and then I go home and work on my projects or freelance work until 2 or 3 am… But on weekends it’s different because just working can get you burned out, so I try to have at least one day for me.

Tell us about your dream project.
I have 2 (personal) dream projects:

  1. Making an epic graphic novel.
  2. A video game based on that graphic novel.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
I think I am really inspired by 4 artists: Benjamin Zhang Bin, Dave Rapoza, Stanley Artgerm Lau, and Mr. Adam Hughes.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I think it is versatile like I said before, because I adapt myself to the project and that way I can get more work, because I can solve different kinds of illustration needs. But beyond that versatility in “styles” or languages, I personally like to draw things that belongs to my imagination, things that can’t happen in reality, like fantasy, Sci-Fi or mythological realities and translate them on a realistic visual language.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
My art, family and my girlfriend.

What inspires you?
Characters and their stories (specially female characters), life, music, video games, Sci-Fi and fantastic worlds, urban tribes, urban fashion, color, creatures and things that can only live in our imagination, art and design… And a lot more!

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
In my professional life a book that changed my life was definitely “Figure drawing for all it’s worth” by Andrew Loomis. It really helped me to learn my craft, because it was easier to understand than other anatomy books like Burne Hogarth’s for example which I also like, but Loomis’ is easier to understand and I really made a huge progress with his books!

But in my personal life I think it wasn’t one book that made an impression on me, it was the whole Greek Mythology what was my first approach to fantastic characters and stories which I enjoyed sooo much. I had tons of books about Greek mythology, I wanted to know everything about it! I think I enjoyed it so much because I could imagine the characters the way I wanted, so it lead me to my first attempts of fantasy character design as I drew them from my imagination.

Follow Diego on Instagram
Connect with him on Facebook
Check out his profiles on DeviantArt & Behance

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