Today we are excited to announce the launch of a weekly Tuesday cartoon series on our Instagram, featuring the work of Neoscape’s resident cartoonist, Diego Otero. Below, Diego shares a look at his process and what we can expect to see as the series unfolds.
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do at Neoscape?
I have been with Neoscape since they opened the NYC studio in 2007. I am a senior digital artist, so I work mostly in the 3D world producing and overseeing the production of renderings mostly for commercial projects. I am also involved in the creative process for some projects that require illustrations or cartoons.
How did you first become interested in and get started with cartooning?
When I was in middle school I would draw comic books and share with my friends. Every Monday I would come to school with a new page of the story and waited for my friends’ reaction and input. Then I went to architecture school and put it on the side burner. After working in architecture for some years, I decided I wanted to devote more time to working on cartooning, so I went back to school for an MFA in Illustration at the University of Hartford and that got me going again.
How have you incorporated cartooning into the work you do at Neoscape?
I have been very lucky to work with many creative people at Neoscape that have shown interest in my work, and we have used them for storyboarding ideas internally, for pitches to clients, for brochures, and we even created two broker characters for a real estate campaign that ended up being printed on a huge billboard in Times Square. Cartoons are a fun way to communicate ideas because they can have serious messages that are masked by the charm and whimsical nature of the drawings.
Describe your process. How did you come up with the characters for this series?
Our NYC studio director, Ryan Cohen, approached me a couple years ago with an idea for drawing cartoons as part of a series of rules for his family Christmas dinner. We had fun working together and we suggested we should try cartooning a broader scope, like a sort of rules for the city in cartoon form. Ryan provided the initial ideas and I started sketching the situations, which slowly began to give form to the project. Neoscape’s New York studio has a great good humour vibe and there are always jokes and comments going around, so it was the perfect fuel to come up with new ideas. This vibe is also reflected in all our work.
I think about the particular situation that we are working on over and over. After I have the picture clear in my head, I sketch tiny drawings with a pen in a small notebook I carry with me. Once I like the staging and the acting of the situation, I scan the sketch and begin drawing, mostly with digital tools these days, because it is faster and more adaptable to adjustments, changes or formats. In the meantime, Ryan and his team work on coming up with captions that can enhance the joke or make the situation more relatable.
What can we expect to see as the weekly cartoon series unfolds?
You will see our snarky comments about living in large cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco, which is where Neoscape has studios. Living in a large city, it’s a fascinating experience and there is a particular culture around finding a place to live, commuting to work, sharing with co-workers, and just sharing your life with thousands of people in the streets. Common traits tend to create these characters with their personalities that are very identifiable, and we see patterns of behaviors that sometimes annoy people and sometimes makes the perfect topic for small talk.
You can expect to have a laugh every Tuesday, which is when we’ll be publishing the cartoons on Neoscape’s instagram.
Looking for more? Find us on Instagram at @neoscapeinc.