Interview With

Jerico Santander

Hi Jerico and welcome to TWTP. I would like to thank you for doing this interview, let’s start by telling us a little about your background and how you got started in the industry?

Thank you for reaching out to me. Back in the 90's I first saw Photoshop in my cousin's computer. Since then I got hooked to digitally imaging and the passion for it haven't faded. When I finally convinced my mother to buy a computer and to get an internet connection, I discovered, an online community for visual artists. I decided to upload some artworks there, to get feedback and reactions. This really helped me to grow. I also got in some online art-groups where I kept refining my techniques. Quickly after, project offers from agencies and studios started to pop out.

Can you walk us through you typical day as a freelance illustrator and CGI artist?

Early morning walk and breakfast in a random coffee shop. I'll read news, check mail and then head back home to start working. If there's no client work to do, I'll just do some personal projects. Lately I've been practicing with acrylics on canvas. But I still need to improve before publishing these artworks without feeling embarrassed! :-)

Describe to us a bit about your creative process when creating a new piece.

It really depends on the type of project I'm working on. If client comes with an idea and a brief or if they give me a lot of freedom. Sometimes I will start doodling ideas on paper before jumping into the 3D modeling stage. If project is rather abstract I'll just play with random shapes and textures in 3D until 'happy accidents' happens. Anyways, I usually model in Modo and polish details with Zbrush. Once modeling phase is done, I'll go back to Modo and work on the shaders and lighting with the Octane renderer plug-in. When the 3D image looks fine, I'll add final touches in Photoshop.

Where do you see yourself heading in the future and where do you see trends in CGI and illustrations going?

It's hard to predict where trends will go. New software and hardware will for sure open new paths of creating art in ways we never expected. About me, well I would like to see me being able to paint on canvas and murals as well someday. You know, just to don't sit in front of a screen my whole life. :-)

You’ve done amazing work for huge brands, is there any project(s) in particular that you feel most proud of? and why?

Thanks. Honestly my own favorite projects tend to be personal ones. Those with no feedback given, as I feel it's completely my vision with no external influences. I'd say 'Mush' is my best pick since it brought me back some artistic confidence I had lost after some years of exclusively creating for clients. It felt good to do some personal artwork after so long, in a new style for me and to get positive reactions from it. It took me a long time to realize that it's very very important to never leave you personal projects aside. Otherwise you will be stuck doing the same type of work again and again. Or even worse, clients will no longer come to you.

As an illustrator and CGI artist in today’s age, what are your go to tools digital and physical?

If I'm allowed to talk techy hardware stuff, I'd say I need a computer with multiple, strong nVidia GPU's to run Octane (Did you hear that, Apple?). A fast clocked CPU, a fair amount of ram, a large Wacom Tablet and a good monitor. When it comes to software, I use Photoshop (who doesn't? :-) ) and for my 3D I use Modo, Octane and Zbrush.

What are your thoughts on using the iPad with the Apple Pencil for creating illustrations and digital art?

Sorry, not for me. If I had to go mobile, I would actually wait until November and get a Wacom MobileStudio Pro. I find Wacom products way more appealing as you can actually run 'real world' apps.

Thanks for joining us, do you have any final words for our readers?

Many people tend to ask me which 3D package do I use, as if that made any significant difference. It really doesn't. Any major 3D software now days is capable of rendering stunning images and you can get very similar results between them. Just stick to the app you're already using and master it. Once you know what you are doing, you may want to switch to another package or not, but you will know why you are doing it, rather than because you heard someone saying 'X is better than Y'. Thanks for reading. :-)

To check out more of Jerico work head over to his website at