digital art

The Samurai Lives on in These Dazzling Digital Drawings

The Mexican American artist incorporates traditional Japanese folklore and American animation in these kick ass character designs.
June 14, 2017, 6:52pm

Since he was a child, digital illustrator Jor Ros loved to write stories. He grew up moving back and forth between Mexico and the US and would spend his free time making up characters and creating fictional universes though his drawings. Today, the artist has developed a portfolio of digital illustrations that imagine the contemporary urban samurai warrior, borrowing the motifs and aesthetic hallmarks of traditional Japanese folklore and American cartoons. His idealized character designs incorporate streetwear with steampunk-esque accessories and Japanese weaponry, all through a warm, eye grabbing color palette.

Ros considers his most valuable asset to be his capacity to observe, analyze, and absorb, which is part of the reason he treats his work as a living thing, one that evolves and transitions over time. "That keeps it exciting, for me. I don't want to be comfortable," he tells Creators. Ros was born in 1987, a year that was shortened by one second in order to adjust to the Gregorian calendar. He says he's lived his whole life feeling like someone or something owes him that second, a notion that has gradually made an impact on his work and creative process. "I think everything that I've done since then has been an attempt to find that missing second. This sense of 'being in a rush' is permanent for me, I always want more and different, so I make time to experiment and try lots of different things to then incorporate them into my work." The artist explains that he tries to use digital as well as analog processes as much as possible. "I think that's the intersection where fun things and happy accidents happen. Paul Smith once said you can find inspiration in everything, and if you can't, you should look again. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement."

Although he loves to read, Ros says he can't deny the impact TV has had on his work. He never got into comic books when he was younger, but loved cartoons and animation. 90s shows like Johnny Quest, Tom & Jerry, Secret Squirrel, and Space Ghost are today major influence son his use of color and preferred style of lettering and type design.

Ros was later on introduced to Japanese animation, which became a huge import, especially in Mexico. His work makes reference to shows like SilverHawks and Thundercats, which were American as much as they were influenced by Japan. "The way they designed characters, narratives and how they all convey such emotion would also permeate completely into my work," he tells Creators. All of that later transitioned into the whole Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network era, with Genndy Tartakovsky's work, for example, and it hasn't stopped.

The artist says, "Some say I'm an artist, an illustrator, some say I'm a designer, some say I make the best sandwiches and tacos in the world…I say I'm all that and much more yet to come."

Learn more about Jor Ros on his website and be sure to follow him on Instagram.


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