A true artist lets his creative energy flow like it’s nobody’s business, dances to the rhythm of imagination, and free-falls under the celestial pull of craft. Daniel Hincapié is one such artist, hailing from Colombia, who believes in individuality and creating characters from his interpretation.
Daniel Hincapié is a Visual Development Artist and Illustrator with previous experience in TV Animation, Videoclips, Mobile Games, and Boardgames in the past. He has been involved in many projects with different visual styles and narratives where he was in charge mainly of Visual Development, Storyboarding, and/or Storytelling. Daniel is always interested in emotional narratives and visual challenges.
I am drooling over your character designs, especially Obscure and The Loop Series. Show us the way to how the idea for these characters came in the first place.
Daniel Hincapie: Most of what I draw for personal work or leisure comes from previous experiences or interest in exploring a concept I feel attracted towards. In the context of Obscure, it was mere explorations of darker tone imagery. While The Loop Series is for a short film I’m working on based on a previous trip to the mountains.
If you have to describe your freelance journey so far, what will be those three magical words that you would use?
Daniel Hincapie: Unexpected, challenging, uncertain.
A character design is both research-driven as well as a self-interpretive process. After a long haul of going through creative motions, which path do you often choose?
Daniel Hincapie: Self-interpretive.
I usually start with what I feel or think about a specific subject and then, I put the process in order with research and documentation. Preferably, I am inclined towards personal exploration more – (I) relish the accidents that occur at that stage!
You have a series of freelance rep sheets for this year for multiple different projects – from Daniel Cuervo to Tunjayork. Which of these freelance projects was the most challenging for you?
Daniel Hincapie: Ironically, keeping freelance projects aside, what has truly been most challenging this year was working on my short film! Personal projects are usually more taxing since I am the one responsible for everything. The pressure of accountability is comparably higher to freelance projects as I don’t have as much feedback as I have in client-based projects.
Having your own freelance setup is the new destination for most talented beings these days. How do you prepare for this? What was the groundwork for launching yourself as a freelancer?
Daniel: Unlike the popular norm, my freelance journey started due to necessity, not because of choice. I learned my way through these years in this industry. There is no route to prepare for this. Usually, people may advise you to save up some money before you dive into the freelancing sea, but that wasn’t my case! I just jumped into it and now it’s been over five years.
Tuning into your experience section, Board Games and Mobile Games Illustrations are one of your niches. If taken from a wide angle, how different are these two kinds of visual illustrations?
Daniel: I’d say not that much; The outcomes and requirements for art pieces are different for sure, but it all boils down to solving problems visually. And, I believe this is why I have worked on such varying projects and product designs; I like solving problems visually, regardless of the medium of access!
Which app do you frequently use for your designs?
Daniel: Clip Studio Paint.
Can you take us to your headspace where the storyline brews and show us the process of how a figment of imagination comes into existence as the final draft?
Daniel Hincapie, being an introspective buddy: It is an assortment of varying ranges. It starts with a random doodle, a thought, or a memory. If that idea keeps circling in my head, then I know I have to do it.
Call it obsession or intuition, but I, immensely, pay attention to what is constantly going on in my head. As soon as I capture the idea, I start planning on implementation. Once I’ve concluded that idea or made it reach its destination, I, generally, practice never reminiscing about it again.
You create “emotional narratives”, can you teach us – as a Visual Illustrator, how does the concept fit into your storytelling style?
Daniel: I like working on story-driven projects. It is my ultimate goal to make people feel something. I started drawing because of this purpose and I like being able to produce art that connects to my audience.
Does music impact your visual arts? Any musical artist whose creativity inspires you the most?
Daniel: Extracting inspiration from music is not that crucial, but being able to convey or recreate it in my work is something that I have not done yet. Music is, still, so abstract to me.
Though, I do get inspired by all the Trap and Rap (Reggaetón) happening in Latin America, especially Colombia and Argentina. The story of these artists, who came from nowhere and yet, with an utter desire to speak out loud using their unique voices gained great success and popularity, inspires me.
There is huge competition in the industry of illustration, which also reflects how challenging it is to have your unique identity. What is your unique identity – a quality which brings you closer to your authentic self, as an illustrator?
Daniel Hincapie: My personal experience is the most prominent unique identity I possess.
Daniel Hincapie: Uno– Trust your gut. Your gut feeling decides your action which goes on to become your identity. Art is not about the industry; it is rather about your voice.
Dos – Be professional, easy to work with, and deliver on time.Tres (from background conscience)– Being an artist from Latin America is quite hard. It is a relatively different experience as opposed to other places. Just keep this in mind.
Keeping in mind that you are acknowledging yourself as a freelancer, is it too soon to state that you have found your own style? How would you describe your style?
Daniel Hincapie: I believe any style of art is a constant process of questioning and answering your identity. It changes over time. Nevertheless, I have never entertained the idea of drawing and approaching a similar kind of imagery over and over again. I do not have a brand-like style and I am okay with it.
Artists often have an alter ego that they channel through their art. Do you have an alter ego of your own? Is there an anime character you like that can also serve as your alternative artist persona?
Daniel Hincapie: I’m currently exploring different aspects (referring to anime characters) during my free time. I hope I can share it soon!
Curious to know, was this career a lifelong dream of yours? Or, was it conceived along the way by an accidental introduction to the world of visual art?
Daniel Hincapie, on the dominoes, cascading in a line: It was all by accident I even was not drawing that much when I was a teenager. I started growing immense interest while being a student at Design College.
What is your favorite pastime? Any TV series that you have hooked on, lately, that you would love to turn into a storyboard with an exciting twist?
Daniel Hincapie: I like being at home watching animation or cooking. I’d love to mix those eventually.
What does the storyboard of 2023 look like for you? Any exciting project that you are looking forward to?
Daniel Hincapie: Working on more short animated videos would be amazing!