César Tafur “Rocoto” is a Peruvian illustrator, who does truly impressive vector portraits.
Illustrator Cesar Tafur “Rocoto” is Today with us in International Salsa Magazine / www.SalsaGoogle.com.
What a tremendous honor and pleasure to tremendous to be interviewed. Thank you very much for the consideration and appreciation for my work.
Let’s begin with the first question: How would you describe your illustration style?
They are 100% vector illustrations marked by an obsession with the details and the follow-up on a realist tendency. Agile strokes with varying thicknesses. The painting is mostly based on plain colors, trying not to use many gradients.
At what point in your life did you start liking the world of illustration?
Since I was a very young child. My parents say I spent a lot of time scribbling on everything I found.
The freedom I got from them contributed a lot since they never reproached me for scratching everything: photos, walls, t-shirts, etc. (laugh)
What did you study, César? Where and what did you learn there?
My dream of youth was to be an architect. I studied Graphic Design, as a consolation at not being able to enter the university. Unfortunately, my training as a designer was not the best one. But all clouds have a silver lining. I met and learned a lot from people who loved drawing and strongly influenced me in this institute. They taught me the proper use of drawing tools and materials.
My tendencies to drawing started to increase. I also learned the software (Adobe illustrator) that I could use to do what I do now.
How were your beginnings in the world of digital illustration?
At the beginning, it was a bit frustrating. I had already seen the work of some illustrators, and by comparing them with mine, well… the difference was catastrophic. What impotence! But the practice is everything. I’m self-taught, nobody taught me how to do what I do now. It is gratifying.
What were you thinking of making illustrations of famous people?
I always try to mix things that I like and make me happy. The characters I draw are mainly characterized by two things: they are either salseros or Football players. Salsa (music) and football (even though I am really bad at football) are things that fascinate me. Besides, when drawing famous people, I test the quality of my work because, this being a public figure, it will be easier for others to identify. If it is not, it is not well-illustrated, and that, for me, is a failure.
Can you enumerate some of the famous people you have drawn? Singers, athletes, musicians…
The list is quite long. Singers like Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Héctor Lavoe, Lennon, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Pavarotti, etc. Sportsmen: Ronaldinho, Zidane, Messi, Ronaldo, Buffon, Rafael Nadal, Jordan, Pirlo, The Rock, etc. Some, I have even drawn on more than one occasion, such as Ruben Blades, Messi, or Roberto Carlos, just to cite some.
Which illustration or illustrations are you most proud of and why?
Not so much proud. I could tell you about the illustrations that make me the happiest. One of them is the one I made of Maestro Eddie Palmieri ho was a salsa legend. It was so well received in the salsa world that many of those spoken to on this subject congratulated me because it was a good image. But the thing that moved me the most was that Maestro Palmieri himself posted this illustration to his Instagram account. Wow! Another one that makes me feel very happy and for which I received many congratulations is the one I made for my mom on her birthday.
What has been the most successful illustration?
That of Maestro Eddie Palmieri, thanks to it I made a lot of friends who love salsa.
What illustration required the most from you?
The one I made of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, ufff, you have no idea the trouble I had making that illustration. The idea of discarding it crossed my mind because of the complexity of its details twice, but I decided to continue it and then… I think it worked out in the end. I love that illustration.
What commissions have you done in the world of illustration?
I made some drawings for a friend who was a promoter of salsa events, with which he promoted his events. I’ve also done some for other friends as a token of appreciation. I do this more for a hobby than generating income.
What material, tools, and programs do you use to make your drawings?
I use a graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos Pro). All my illustrations are made in Adobe Illustrator. I also use Photoshop to modify the image to be illustrated if necessary.
We have seen that anyone who wants to get an illustration with your style, can you tell us about the steps to follow to order you an illustration?
I merely ask one thing: Send me an image with good resolution to my email: [email protected]. The rest is on me.
How far would you like to go in the world of illustration?
I haven’t thought about that. Like I told you already, I do this like a hobby. I feel happy doing this, it pleases me and it fulfills me.
Although (it may sound a bit arrogant) I would like my style to get marked and above all recognizable.
We have seen that all your works are signed with the name “Rocoto”, where did this artistic name come from?
It’s a nickname I’ve had as far as I can remember. Rocoto is a pepper (chilli) very spicy. It turns out that my physical characteristics (according to my father) were similar to those of that fruit of nature in my first days of birth. He made that comparison in front of his friends (which aroused laughter and guffaws) and I stayed with that nickname still today.
What future commissions or illustrations do you intend to do?
Many things go through my head. One of them is to create collections of characters based on characteristics in common with others. For example: World champions, musical legends, sporting legends, etc. Each collection has different graphic styles, but I still keep my illustration style.
What does César do on a normal day?
I try not to be a man of habit, but most of the time, that desire is not realized. Many factors adversely affect. Luckily my job allows me to do stuff I like: drawing and reading. However, I’m surely in front of my PC sketching or planning what to draw in the afternoon.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do besides illustration?
Another of the things I love the most is reading and doing crossword puzzles. And if there’s a salsa concert in the capital, I’m always going there no matter what! I am passionate about live music.
Many people say that everyone draws according to his personality, do you think your drawings are looked like the way you are?
In some aspects. I think the simplicity of the final drawing resembles the way I am: clear and simple. I consider myself a detail-oriented person (it sounds a bit kitschy hahahaha, but it is the truth) and this is something related to my illustration style: I have an obsession with details in my work.
Could you tell us about other illustrators or artists you admire, know or follow consistently?
I follow many illustrators and cartoonists (I would give anything to make cartoons). If I had to mention just one name, I would choose Cristiano Siqueira, a MASTER of vector illustration. My style arose precisely thank to some of his work. In the world of caricatures, I have a homeboy of mine called Walter Toscano and Jean-Marc Borot as references, two real geniuses, I admire (and envy) them very much!
And someone you admire outside the world of illustration?
I admire many, but I’m a fan of is Rubén Blades. A Panamanian singer-songwriter that is considered a reference in Latin music. It seems to me that think the lyrics of his songs are fabulous.
What music do you listen to?
I’m a music lover and I listen to a little bit of everything, depending on the context. But I love Salsa. When I draw, I listen to romantic salsa and ballads. When I’m with my friends while sharing moments between drinks, I listen to hard salsa and cumbia.
What are your favorite movies or series?
I am not fond of the seventh art. Regarding the series, I love and enjoy La Familia P. Luche, which is a Mexican comic series by comedian Eugenio Derbéz.
Any book that you have read lately, or one that you especially liked.
I really liked these two novels: The Boys From Brazil (Ira Levin) and Le Solitaire (Guy des Cars). I recommend them to everyone!
Any person you would like to thank especially for what he/she has given you in the world of illustration.
Many people influenced and encouraged my love of drawing, it is difficult to mention just a few. Friends from the neighborhood, from high school, my parents, I feel a deep and sincere gratitude for all of them.
Is there any person who is special to you and who to thank in life in general?
Infinite thanks to the person who motivates and gives meaning to my life: Trinidad Callirgos, my mother.
To conclude, We would like you to tell us how we can see your work on the internet. What social networks do you use?
I have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Behance. There you can visualize all my illustrations.
Apart from my work, you can also see one or another post of my social life on Facebook.
Date of birth: August 3, 1989
Place of birth: Chiclayo, Peru
Legal Authorization: César Tafur “Rocoto”.
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