Published on September 10th, 2018 | by Andrew Bistak
Juan Pitluk Interview (Bringing Heroes to Life)
We catch-up with super artist and sculptor Juan Pitluk who brings the characters from the world of comics to life in the digital world in some truly spectacular ways.
So tell us Juan, how did you become involved in modelling and digital sculpting?
A friend of mine introduced me to Zbrush ten years ago and at that time I was working for an insurance company. I have always been interested in sculpture and started a career at Fine Arts which I couldn’t finish. When I first saw what Zbrush was capable of doing I immediately fell in love with it as it allowed me bridge business with my passion for sculpting.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I get my inspiration from classic sculptures, comics, illustration, movies, collectibles and everywhere. Inspiration may be everywhere and might catch you at any time.
What’s been the most difficult model that you have made?
If I have to name one it would be “Tom Judge/the Rapture”. It consists of a lot of pieces and sub-characters and also the base is very detailed. It took three month from start to finish.
But each new statue has its own challenges and my pipeline keeps evolving with each new one.
Also I try to push myself with every new model, looking for a better composition, a better pose, better anatomy, silhouette or more accurate details.
Can you explain the process of digital modelling?
First thing you need is a clear idea of where you want to get. You can change it later if needed but having that will help you start.
Then you start blocking the general shapes and the pose, getting your proportions and composition. After that my next step is to define the anatomy, generally big muscle shapes.
Then the process goes from “big to small”. Use simple objects as your props to check if everything works: composition, rhythm, all the general aspect of your piece. Once you are satisfied with the result you keep refining the shapes and adding all the details needed.
Be aware that a lot of details won’t make your artwork better if your composition, proportion, rhythm and silhouette are wrong.
Okay…how did you become so damn good at it?
Thank you! I don’t consider myself that good (laughing). I am always pushing my skills with each new model and I’m always learning, watching new tutorials, practicing anatomy, etc.
I am always looking at other artists that I consider much more talented than me. Each of Daniel Bel’s new piece always amazes me. Also Romell Chopra, Marthin Agusta, Martin Canale and of course the entire classic master like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bernini, etc.
How does the process from digital to real-world modeling go?
After the 3D sculpt is finished which also includes cutting it into different parts for further printing, the file is sent to the factory that will print the statue. After printing there is a lot a manual work to do such as sanding, fixing errors that might appear during printing and cleaning. Then silicon molds are made from the printed version which then will be used for casting the final product in a different material. After that all the painting is done by hand.
What’s the coolest statue that you have made?
Green Arrow, Thor and Dr. Fate are my favorite ones so far. Each one represents a key point in my evolution as an artist in the collectibles industry.
Green Arrow is a model on which you can see my evolution as an artist.
Thor was my first piece under Marvel’s license. I also had the pleasure to work with the great Mufizal Mokhtar as my art director.
And then Dr. Fate, which has a more careful composition. I used golden ratio for setting the pose and all the elements.
Tell us what you are currently working on?
Right now I’m working on a new Spider-man statue inspired by a picture made by Mike Dodato Jr.
I am also working on a few other characters but I can’t talk about them now. I’ll post pictures as soon as I am allowed to.
Where did you get the inspiration to create Dr Fate from?
I’ve realized that in the collectibles world there are a lot of Supermans, Batmans, Wolverines, Magnetos, Spider-mans… but there are many other characters that fans love which never had the chance to be treated as a collectible before. Dr. Fate is one of them.
So before starting a new character I take some time to search for those characters.
Tell us where people can find out more about you and to buy your merchandise?
You can always contact me via Facebook sending me a private message, Artstation or email. I´ll try to answer all your questions as soon as possible.