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Maroto Bambinomonkey is a very talented and highly individual Spanish Character Designer, Illustrator and Art Director, who does not only create wonderful characters, he even had one modeled after him. Characters Engage spoke to this true "character" of the Character Design world about his work, his interesting collaborations and about Character Design in Spain.

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CE:  Could you tell us a little bit about how you started out? What did you study and what were your plans after your studies?

MB:  I studied Engraving for a year, followed by three years of Illustration in one of Madrid's public art academies. During the second year, I met a caricaturist who offered me work doing caricatures at events. At one of those events, a comic show, an editor liked my style, and asked me to do mature comics. I’ve always liked drawing girls (haha), so I decided to work and study at the same time. Those were my first jobs as a professional.

Afterwards, when I was just about to finish studying, an internet web page called me to do some illustrations and comic strips as web content. I was really lucky to get into the labor market before graduating and my post-study plans were to stay in the same job, which is never easy.

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CE:  Very early on in your professional career you started working for Zinkia Entertainment, the makers of “Pocoyo”. How did you end up working for Zinkia Entertainment and what did you do for them?

MB:  After finishing school, I worked for a number of different clients as a freelancer for nearly a year. I then saw an ad for a job on a web page, which I thought I’d be suitable for, so I applied.

I went to the interview with polished shoes and a dress shirt (I believe it may have been the only time I have worn shoes in my life). There were some eight or so people there, and they showed me the bible for a 2D animation series they were thinking of producing (it wasn’t "Pocoyo"), which they wanted to sell to Cartoon Network. I liked the feel of the place, so I accepted.

I was the first artist hired by Zinkia, and in the beginning, we were a service provider for internet games and TV promos. More than anything, though, we created a lot of pixel games for mobiles. They got me to do the art and the animation until "Pocoyo" came along. Actually, I don’t know if you know this, but one of the "Pocoyo" characters... "Pajaroto", or Sleepy Bird in English, is based on me. He is the teal-coloured, fat bird who always sleeps. Oh, and I did the voice for him, as well. We also did a series called "Shuriken School", for which I worked in the background department.

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CG:  As a great Spanish Character Designer, could you tell us why so much innovative work is coming out of Spain these days? Are we witnessing the emergence of a Spanish School of Character Design?

MB:  I don’t know if you can say that there’s a new school of Spanish Character Design. I suppose that it’s something that’s always been there. Look at the greats of Animation, like Sergio Pablos, Guillermo Garcia Carsi and Carlos Grange. They’re all magnificent artists, and what’s happening is that we now have the internet, which is a great window on the world. Now your work can be seen from anywhere.

And whether it’s innovative or not, I suppose that there’s something that makes us different. Maybe it’s that Spaniards have other visual references from artists of other nations... different in the same way designs from French or Russian artists are.

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CE:  Tell us a little bit about your work at Trimono.

MB:  Well, Trimono began with two of my buddies, Paulo Mosca (www.paulomosca.com) and Abel Sanchez (www.tricefalo.com)... guys I had shared studios and bars with. It began as an escape valve to do work that was a little less commercial. It was an outlet for some of the more wacky ideas we had. I worked on the art part and on the scripts for a couple of pieces, but most of the tough stuff was taken care of by Paulo (art) and Abel (post-production). They’re both still with the studio, working as the Creative Directors.

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CE:  For the last three years you have been working for Psyop. Could you tell us what you have worked on for them?

MB:  We’ve done a multitude of projects and proposals, and I always work on the Character Design part, or on the Visual Development. To be honest, I’m still doing a fair bit of work for them. The only depressing thing is that, in advertising, very few projects get the green light. But I’m very proud to be working with them. They’re incredible artists.

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CE:  What are you working on at the moment? Is there something our readers can look out for? 

MB:  Apart from collaborating on another pitch, I’m finishing up some graphics for a pair of video games for the iPhone (a sector which is developing rapidly) and I'm working on a series of images that are more personal. I hope to be able to show those to people shortly.

CE:  Thank you Maroto. Please click the links below for more of Maroto's great work:

http://www.bambinomonkey.com/

http://www.bambinomonkey.blogspot.co.uk/

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