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Artist Spotlight

Nino Navarra

Learn to Draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles



What's one valuable way to stay inspired as an artist? Surround yourself with art, and look at it everyday. This organic approach is telling of how Nino Navarra views his work as an illustrator.

nino navarra, artist

He has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and enjoys drawing literally anything and everything—from scenes in a local coffee shop to designing video game characters. With a wide-sweeping artist's eye, he loves searching for the interesting element in every potential piece.

"There is somethingto appreciate and learn from in every subject if you know how to look at it correctly," Nino says.

Nino's approach to composition includes allowing the image to progressively emerge on the paper, and relying on fundamental illustration concepts to help find the most dynamic representation.

"I let my mark-making go wild along with my imagination. This part of the process is probably the most fun because anything is possible—the artist can discover the potential image along the way, even from a chaotic mess of scribbles," Nino says.

These days Nino works mostly with digital tools, especially for professional projects. However, the satisfaction of working with traditional pen and paper will never loose its magic to him. After becoming enamored with art and the creative process at an early age, Nino immersed himself in cartoons and comic books, and over time self-trained his hand to draw from copying what he saw.

"I was that kid who constantly got in trouble in school for not paying attention because I was too busy drawing in my notebook!" Nino says.

nino navarra

He credits a vast number of artists who have influenced his career from an early age, as well as studying a wide range of different mediums; from classic illustrations and painting to comic books and animation, and eventually digital art and graphic design. Today, he is creatively influenced by his work environment sharing a studio space with a group of professional artists, where each person can benefit and grow from the others.

Over the years, Nino's work has evolved to include a wide range of styles as well as mediums. He's learned to appreciate the diversity in having a variety of influences, and believes the more well-rounded the artist, the stronger the visual impact.

"In my opinion, all art is related in some way, and every artist can borrow from the visual language of each different medium," Nino says.

Outside of art, Nino enjoys staying active, spending time with family and friends, and simply enjoying life.

Nino's advice to aspiring artists involves persistence and repetition: to keep drawing as much as possible, and never give up. He views the art world as broad and filled with possibility, and has learned to appreciate the growth process inherent in every creative journey.

"I've learned to never be satisfied as an artist. The trick is to accept that there is no real end to your learning and growth—I don't allow myself to get complacent; I'm constantly working on personal art, participating in galleries, or teaching an illustration class," Nino says.

Nino also believes in staying positive and driven as an artist, and accepting constructive criticism as an aid to development.

"Just don't forget whatever attracted you to art in the first place. The answers are out there, and it's up to the individual to be resourceful enough to make it happen. Keep your passion alive, stay focused, work hard, and good things will happen!" Nino says.


Jennifer Gaudet

Jennifer is Associate Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. Lover of the written word and strong coffee, mostly anti-domestic, lifelong journal-keeper. Collector of anything striped. 



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Leonardo da Vinci

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