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Many years ago, back in 1988 when I was still trying to learn how to draw landscapes and scenery, long before the internet my only reference material were the classic book covers of the scifi novels I could get my hands on at the time.
What you see below is my very first attempt to evolve my drawing style. I loved this book cover so much that one day I decided to pick up a pencil and side-by-side try to replicate the original image.


By doing this ( took me 2 days ) I learned a ton of stuff about composition, how to simplify elements and put them together to simulate more details than those which are actually illustrated, learned about shapes, shadows and a lot of other things.
So I guess “Tim White” was “my teatcher”.
Of course no computers existed back in 1988 capable of creating digital art and so all you see here was done entirely in traditional pencil and paper.
After that, I got the courage to try and do my very own landscape from imagination without copying from anywhere else. So about a week after the first “Tim White” cloned image I went and did this scenery below. I used color pencils for the first time here; actually understanding what I was trying to achieve.
Unfortunately I no longer have a good scan of this old image.


I liked the end result as it was also the first time I managed to create an epic landscape Fantasy vista.
Then a few months after that I did my “third” scenery.
This one:


With this one I tried to be more ambitious. Initially I only had the dragon on the left side which was drawn on a A4 size sheet. Then I needed more space for its wing on the right and so I added another A4 and continue to illustrate.
Then I saw a documentary about Easter Island on Tv and I inserted my own Easter Island statue into the scenery; then the landscape grew from there.
I started to detail the island on the left; there was no stopping anymore and I ended up completing everything else around.
Because of the two A4 sheets of paper glued together I had the idea of continuing to illustrate the epic scenery and tried to continue with another panel on the left which is the one you see next here:


The pic above is actually the right side of another two A4 panel illustration.
The left side was to be connected with the right side of the other first dragon pic  but I never added color and just painted this one when I noticed it could work as a standalone image.
This was actually inspired by the movie “LEGEND” by Ridley Scott as Cinema is one of my major sources of inspiration since ever. I have the left side here somewhere…
All these were still colored with simple watercolor-color pencils as it was the only thing I was trying to learn to use at the time and could afford to buy.
Although the original dragon landscape before, was painted over a few years of layered work each time I learned a different skill I went back to it and so the colors for that one do not totally resemble the first painting I tried to do when I did the drawing.

Because I was enjoying learning to create these landscapes out of my imagination I used the same techniques to make a serious try at a more developed comics project.
Below you see three panels out of that taken from a 3 page first test I did back then, around 1988/89.


This story never got much further but I enjoyed creating these epic vistas at the time and although the coloring now looks rather bad to my 2017 eyes, back then I had a lot of fun discovering how to use shadow and light just coloring everything with my color pencils over Rotring inked rough sketches.

Another go I did at starting a comics story heavily based on environments was this one next.


That one is also the first real attempt of mine to color an image based on the fantasy story I had inside my mind forever and of which I had already tried to do some earlier pages back in 1987/88. This story later became my current version for ONCE UPON A TIME ON MARS” which you can download for free and learn more about on this website.
After this test I discover the work of Illustrator Michael Wheelan; bought a book about his artwork and I decided that I also wanted to learn to paint with acrylics and watercolors and so, what you see next is my first ever attempt to use acrylics on a piece heavily inspired by Wheelan´s motifs too.


After this I continued to learn from every book I could get. And from movies in VHS.
I didn´t had the money to go into an art school, and besides those didn´t even existed in Portugal at the time when it comes to Fantasy illustration and so I continued to learn what I could by myself, buying some art books, watching a lot o movies, reading a lot of novels and continue to try to improve my own imaginary worlds.


Then one day, many years later I found myself with enough illustrations in my portfolio that actually were worth anything to show and in 1993 I got hired by a Portuguese company which was creating the first PC Portuguese video game at the time to illustrate for their project and ended up staying with “GAMBYS” the game for about three years illustrating full time for that company and also creating a ton of animations in the earlier DOS version for 3D Studio if you can imagine.


That was my professional start and the end of the first stage of my journey when it comes to learning to create fantasy landscapes by myself.
The traditional illustration phase.


25 years later, I´m now at my Digital Phase.
If you are looking for a children book artist or fantasy illustrator, have a scifi project or just want some imaginary landscapes done as concept art, book covers or simply poster artwork let me know. 😉




If you are a potential illustration client, do not forget to take a look at my illustration portfolio (Fantasy or Childrens Book art ) and I´m always available to discuss future work.
If you have a dream, no matter what your budget is don´t hesitate to contact me and let me see what we can do to help your project become a reality.