Creator Interview - Joaosdrawing
We have been following Joao for a while now; we initially discovered their art through our Nier Infinite Gi Channel, and were blown away by their 2b fan art. Joao has continued to impress with their later art, and we are excited to have the opportunity to sit down and learn about their journey and process. Joao has some incredible pieces of not just 2b but also Yor (SpyxFamily), Legend of Zelda, and more!
Joaosdrawings Interview -
GI: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your journey. How long have you done fan art? What do you love about it?
Joao: My name is Joao (pronounced joe - ow), I am an artist who was born in California, USA. I have created art my whole life. I began to create art because my mother is an artist and I was always in awe at how she could create beautiful paintings with a brush, which then motivated me to create my own art as well. I have done traditional art for most of my life, creating a lot of fan art of shows like Pokemon, Yugioh, and even celebrities, with paper, pencils, and colored pencils. I had always created art like this, but then a friend showed me his Ipad and the art he created on it, so that motivated me to get one and create my own digital art. As soon as I got the Ipad, I instantly fell in love with the medium and have tried to create digital art non stop for a little over a year and a half now.
I love creating fan art because I feel as if I am able to show others these wonderful characters I have admired through my art, and help them learn about the videogame/show, etc. or otherwise give them something they might like from their favorite franchise, while at the same time helping them look at the other works I have created. I also have a real joyous feeling while creating it, and makes me want to play the game or watch the show it is based on again. Fan art helps me relive those good memories I had while first watching/playing the game or show that inspired me to create the art.
GI: We loved two of your recent and popular pieces include well beloved characters such as 2b and Yor. Can you describe your process for capturing the essence of characters like Yor from Spy x Family and 2B from Nier Automata in your artwork? What made you decide to draw these characters?
Joao: I decided to draw 2B because I am a huge fan of the Nier series. As a matter of fact, Nier Automata is my all time favorite videogame, alongside Persona 5, so I just had to make a piece of art depicting her. As I created my piece, I actually looked at cutscenes from the game and replayed it a little myself, paying close attention to the way she behaved and reacted to her environment. Initially I was going to have a calm background with cool colors, but then I decided a warm background with sparks flying would give that sense that 2B is in a hostile environment and how she would face that situation.
As for Yor, I decided to make a piece of art depicting her because I loved her character design after watching / reading Spy x Family. In my opinion, she is one of the best character designs I have seen in a long time. I really like how she can be so loving and kind hearted to her family and friends, while at the same time being an assassin who kills. When I made my art, I wanted to make sure to capture the expression she would have after getting done with an assassination and give off the mood that something serious had just happened. Spy x Family has also become one of my favorite shows, and I also absolutely love the soundtrack it comes with.
GI: How do you balance staying true to the original character designs while adding your own artistic touch or personal style?
Joao: I make sure to keep what makes them Iconic in whatever art I create. For example, Yor has a very unique hairstyle and rose-hairband she wears while in her assassin uniform, and 2B has very iconic and unique clothing that I made sure to keep when drawing her in my art style.
One thing I do when I create my art is, after creating the sketches and line art I fill in with black to create a “silhouette” of the character I am drawing. If it is still recognized as the character in its silhouette form, then I have accomplished getting those things that make the character iconic to stand out. There have been times in the past where, after doing the silhouette, what made the character iconic did not stand out as much as I would have liked, so I change things from there to make sure the character's iconic traits are present.
GI: What attracts you to characters like Yor and 2B, and how do their personalities or storylines inspire your artistic interpretation?
Joao: When I first played Nier: Automata back in 2017, the whole game just seemed like an artistic masterpiece. I remember I bought a ps4 just so I could play Nier because I was so attracted to the art style it had. (unfortunately I had to sell that ps4 to pay for school less than a year later, but got a ps5 and bought Nier Automata again). Way before doing digital art I remember trying to draw 2B with pencil and paper many times, just because I loved the game and 2B’s design so much. The environment 2B is in, the soundtrack, everything about it was so amazing and that is what attracted me to 2B and the world around her.
I really like the mystery behind Yor. As you watch Spy x family you don’t know too much about her backstory at first, why she’s an assassin, and what led her to the situation she’s in. That compelled me to keep on watching the show, and as I did I learned why she does what she does, which eventually led to me to create artwork of her twice at this point. The first time was because I really liked her design and wanted to create art of her, the second time I wanted to see how much I improved since the last time I had created her.
GI: In your opinion, what makes a compelling fan art piece for characters? Are there specific elements or techniques you frequently employ to achieve this in your artwork?
Joao: Personally, I think making fanart for a character is a lot more meaningful when the art itself tells a story that the character would probably be doing/ involved in. One artist that really inspired my own work, and who I still look up to, is Marc Brunet, a former Blizzard employee. His art has a way of telling incredible stories thanks to the environment, the color, the mood, and what the character is doing. He has made several pieces of overwatch characters that really impressed me and inspired me to tell stories in my own art. He has many tutorials on youtube that show how he was able to accomplish specific settings, and I have tried to incorporate them in my own art.
When I create drafts/thumbnails for my next piece, I think “would this character be doing this? Have their hand like this? Holding this? What would the lighting be like in this situation?” and then conclude that it is right for the character or not. This helps me build a sort of “map” of what the finished piece would look like, and this is what leads me to create compelling fanart.
GI: Are there specific scenes or aspects of Yor and 2B's respective series that you enjoy illustrating the most? How do you incorporate these elements into your artwork to convey their character depth or narrative moments?
Joao: For 2B I wanted to capture the dread and despair that is present in the world of Nier: Automata. By having a warm environment with sparks flying, and having 2B looking at what the world has become, you can imagine what kind of thoughts and feelings she is having at that moment. The world of Nier is one like I had never seen before when I first played it, and I wanted to capture that essence in my art.
Yor has 2 faces, one where she is a kind and caring person who many think is just like everyone else, and her assassin side where she kills corrupt people, in order to provide for her little brother. This part of her really compelled me because even though she does kill, she is doing it not for herself, but for her family, and this to me shows that she really isn’t hiding what she is like when around others, she just uses her abilities to take care of those she cares about, and that means being secretive about her life as an assassin. I wanted to capture this side of her, the side where she is going through these means to care for her brother.
GI: What are some upcoming characters or projects our readers can look forward to? Is there a character on your wishlist you can’t wait to get to?
Joao: There are many projects and things I have in mind that I want to do. Currently, I am working on a piece of art featuring Lucy from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, a short anime that I loved. I have also been trying to get some more practice when it comes to proportions, shading, etc. basically just trying to get better at art. A friend of mine who is a very good story writer, and I have actually been working on a comic, where he is the storyteller and I am the artist. It is still at a very early stage where we are figuring out character designs, the story itself, among other things, but this is one big project I really look forward to working on with him.
There are lots of characters I still want to do, which include D.Va from overwatch, A2 from Nier, 9S (need to draw more male characters lol), Most persona 5 characters, Link, among many other things. I actually was also considering doing another one of 2B to see if I can improve on it like I did with Yor.