Denis Medri Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study?  What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today? 

So I was born in 1979, in Cesena, Italy in the quite wonderful region called Romagna. Cesena is where I still live and has been ever since my first memories.  I wished nothing else than become a drawer, a comic artist.
When I begin to read, when I was kid, I discovered comics. I decided that was what I wanted to do, and it fed my passion. My goal, and isn't easy in a small town where no one of your friends care about comics.  But for me it wasn't a problem.
At the High School I frequented the "Institute of Arts" of Forl√¨.  After the diploma my parents gave me the great opportunity to do the School of Comics in Milan. For me it meant a lot. Because my parents were simple workers, and for them it was a huge sacrifice allowing me to go to this school. It was very expensive and far away from home, so was the rent and bills etc... But they helped me realize my dreams.  It isn’t so normal for a working class family, so I will always be grateful to them.

I've only been in school for 2 years at the school of comics, because at the end of the second year I had to come back home for what is call here in Italy the "Servizio Civile" (the alternative to the Army).Months after I've begin to work for the Comics French market becoming a professional artist and so finally after a "roller coaster career” I’m here...

How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end? 

This is kind of difficult to explain.  I think there are different kinds of approaches on how to work. When you have to work for a client, a publisher etc, or you have already a script to follow, I think that you have to put together your artistic side and your rational side, where sometimes the rational part is more important than the other. Because when you work on a comic story means to take in consideration a lot different things, not just a nice drawing.
When you draw just for yourself it's different of course, you can be guide by your instinct, by the moment of course without losing the main "rules" of the drawing. That's why I like to take a lot of time to draw what I like, what inspire me etc…
But you know, this is the difference between being a professional or just an amateur.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

I have the studio at home, so I wake up, have a breakfast and I go to my studio to check emails and start to work.  I work alone, I like it, I prefer to stay alone, feel more concentrated and free, and I can listen to music and take breaks when I want.  Sometimes I work hard till night, sometimes I have a lot time for relaxing or messing around.

What are some of the things that you have worked on? (Books, Movies, Games, Comics)

I work especially in Comics industry. But I do work also as illustrator, concept designer, and other things. I will be working in the game industry too in the next couple of months.

Is there a design you have done that you are most happy with?

I really don't know.  In last year my re-designs of Rockabilly Batman Universe and the Star Wars 80's high School had a really huge success.  It was a great surprise for me, especially the Batman drawings. Those seem to have generated a sort of viral response. Tons of websites from all over the world talked about, and many of them would like to see it as comic or animated series. There were a lot of people dressed up in Cosplay as some of my re-designed Batman characters. There was also fan art being produced and even an action figure that was made.

Here the Facebook fan page to show you what I am talking about:

My 80's version of Star Wars gave me some satisfaction but I think there are also other designs that I’m happy with. And of course I hope in the future to do other things better and better.

What projects are you working on now? (if you can tell us)

Actually I'm working on various projects, many projects.  Some of the projects are written by me and some in collaboration with other writers with different kinds of styles and for different markets (USA, France and Italy).  One of these will be on Kickstarter soon. The title is "Atlantis: the last survivor" and is a sort of interactive comic for IPad and iPhone.  It is written by Arin Leviti and colored by Paolo Francescutto.  So yes,  I have many projects that I'm working on but for now some of this I can't reveal .

Who are some of your favorite artists out there?

There are a lot of artists that I like or that inspired me.  When I was young I remember that I was inspired by artists as Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, Chris Bachalo and others.  But now the artist that inspired me more is the Italian Massimiliano Frezzato.

Now days there is various artist that I like, example Sean Murphy , Rafael Albuquerque or Dave Johnson, but also Cyril Pedrosa, Jorge Gonzales or Corrado Mastantuono and many others.

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

 So, usually I prefer to color with traditional tools, mixing various things as pantone, ecoline, acrylics, colored pencils etc..   I'm a very new at Photoshop; I've tried to find my way around the program. But I am teaching myself.  I am using it as instinctive as possible by using as few colors and no effects. I think I like how it turns out and I prefer it this way too.

What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?

By my side the easier and fun for me is for sure to work on characters.  The character design, create characters, costumes ,atmospheres etc , is something that I like a lot and probably is the thing that I'm more comfortable with.  And I think is something in which I can do best
The most difficult thing for me is to work on architectures etc…

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

I think there is no rule to be creative.  I think artists have always been  angry of inputs , info , each kind of inputs by my side I take inspiration about everything around me, in my life, in what I listen or watch, and what I breathe.  For example I like to listen to a lot of music, watch movies, but I think to feed our own creativity needs many things that are not specific part of an artistic.
I think that the inspiration and the spark can light also just by looking at a tear of water fall on the ground or listening to an old man speak.  By my side, my mind has always been moving and the creative side like to put different puzzles pieces together and create something brand new and personal.

What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?

There is a lot, It is difficult to say.

What is your most favorite subject to draw?  And why?

As I said earlier, for me working on characters are probably my favorite things I like to do.  Maybe it’s because I've got a naturally predisposition to catch the characterization of people.  I think derives from the fact that I assimilate information by just looking at people in real life.  

What inspired you to become an Artist?

Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to be an artist. When I was younger I discovered comics, and fell in love and with them and decided to become a comic artist. Maybe one of the other inspirations was my brother, he is older than me.  I remember when he was younger he  was a very good drawer, but he never cultivated the passion for drawing , and he stopped drawing after the secondary school .

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
I think that one of the secret of this work is to always be curious, always try to improve yourself, always look around, and always be ready to catch the moment.  What I’ve also noticed while working in this industry, is that usually the great artists are also the most humble and most available.  No one needs divas in this industry.

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

I think there's no specific recipe for being an Artist.  I think we need to start first inside our soul, start by finding the need to express yourself through a way that can be seen in your drawings, or music or something else.  After that, I think this spark has to be fed with the work, with the passion and the determination.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted? 

You can see some of my stuff here:
Or you can contact me on my Facebook account.