BY ALFREDO GUZMAN
The Imperial Valley has been the birthplace of many incredible and talented people. One of these talented people is Noe Leyva. Leyva is a Calexico native who has lived and worked in Los Angeles as a professional freelance concept artist and illustrator for the past five years. He began his post high school education at Imperial Valley College and attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His most well known work was for the video game, ‘There Came an Echo,’ which was released on the Playstation 4 and PC a few years ago.
“I always had an itch to doodle since I was a kid, but I didn’t take it seriously until after high school,” said Leyva, when asked when he began drawing. “Ideas can come from many places. It can be something you saw on your way home, a particular word you read in a book, or imagery you saw on a movie. If it is something less random that I want to work on, I tend to do some research first, by maybe watching a video on the subject or reading an article and browsing images related to it,” said Leyva, after being asked where he gets his ideas. When asked about his most famous original creation, Leyva said, “I do not have a huge following, but people seemed to enjoy my latest Fantasy Aztec inspired personal project that is up on my website. Leyva said. (When asked about his most famous original creation.)
Leyva works professionally creating concept artwork for video games and other creative projects. He specializes in character design. He received his first professional recognitions by submitting artwork to design contests for video games such as BlazBlue, Final Fantasy and Gears of War. “I have not been involved in any self published projects. I have worked as part of teams or for individuals who require a piece of art.
As a freelancer, finding work can come from many places. Anywhere from someone stumbling by your website, or a previous colleague who recommended you. One of the most challenging aspects of freelance work is to always be on the lookout for the next job. Social media is very important for artists, while generating a large audience can be hard. You never know who is watching, so it is important to have your work out there! Participating in art competitions can also be beneficial, even if you don’t end up winning, you can gain new followers,” said Leyva.
When asked if he worked alone or collaboratively on projects, Leyva stated “I have done both. When I work on original content to build my portfolio, I usually work alone, but might at times seek the opinion of other fellow artists. It is easy to over look a mistake if you have been staring at a screen for 12 hours. I always enjoy the collaborative process when I work in-house or even remotely. The phrase, “two (or five) heads are better than one” couldn’t be more accurate!”
When asked what advice he has for emerging artists, Leyva said, “Surround yourself with people who are reaching for the same goal. As artists, it is easy to withdraw to your ‘art cave” and work alone, but motivation can often times come from your peers. Help each other on the way, and in the future they will be the ones recommending you to their bosses! On a more technical level, I would say to avoid neglecting the fundamentals in art. It is easy for new artists in the creative field to jump straight to digital and all the shortcuts that are allowed.”