Christopher Ventura, better known as CeeVee, is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in Hawaii. His shop contains high-quality art prints, enamel pins, and vinyl stickers available for purchase. He can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. His work is also available at local conventions around Hawaii and the upcoming RangerStop convention in Orlando, Florida in November.
Can you tell us about your personal background and what drove you to become an artist?
Hi I’m Chris, but you can call me CeeVee! 🙂 I am a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer operating out of Honolulu, Hawaii. I grew up reading comic books and thinking the artwork was really cool! From then on, I would try to draw my favorite superheroes.
Did you grow up watching any kind of kaiju / tokusatsu (Ultraman, Kamen Rider) shows or movies? Do you have a favorite?
Well, I grew up with [Mighty Morphin] Power Rangers and I instantly became a fan of giant robots and live-action superheroes. But my proper introduction into tokusatsu was when my friend Ryan suggested watching Gokaiger and Kamen Rider W. I’ve been a huge fan of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider ever since!
If I have to choose a favorite, it might have to be Kamen Rider Gaim (I’m re-watching episodes as I reply to this!). I really loved all the fruit + samurai-ish armor designs.
Since most of your work is tokusatsu or anime inspired, what is it about tokusatsu and anime that inspires you?
I think armored heroes and robots are really cool! I really gravitate towards clean mechanical designs and artwork.
Do you have any formal training or schooling in the arts? If so, what was the most rewarding experience about going through a formal fine arts program? Would it be path you’d recommend to aspiring artists?
I graduated with a B.A. degree with a focus on Drawing. Rewarding experience? I think it would have to be just the learning and development of a skill set base for art.
I would only recommend going to a school or program if you have a specific goal in mind that requires a degree of sorts. I’ve learned a ton by myself (outside of college) through free resources and by studying other artists/artwork.
Since you mentioned free resources, what were some of the ones you used that you’d recommend to others?
YouTube was a huge resource. I follow a bunch of artists on YouTube but I’ll try to list the ones that would be most helpful in building a skill set– The Jetty Jet Show, Sakimichan, and Artgerm would probably be my most noteworthy.
Don’t give up! Skills are built up and mileage matters. As with any skill, the more you work at it, the better you get.
What specific tools do you use for your art?
I keep a medium sized sketchbook on me, but lately I’ve been doing sketches on my iPad Pro (with the Procreate app)
— CeeVee! (@HiCeeVee) September 1, 2017
How did you develop your particular art style and what influences it the most?
Well, I enjoyed mechanical drawing in school and spent some time in architecture classes, so drawing clean lines is what I’m accustomed to. Oh yea, and my constant exposure to tokusatsu of course!
Can you walk us through your process when designing a new piece, in particular, when creating a new t-shirt or enamel pin design?
My initial sketches begin on paper, Photoshop, or my iPad Pro. Once I’m satisfied with the sketch, I finish up with Adobe Illustrator. I sometimes use Photoshop to finalize a piece, if necessary.
What’s the most rewarding experience for you working as an illustrator and graphic designer? What’s the most challenging?
The most rewarding things to me are creating things that I love! I have a great sense of accomplishment once I produce a piece.
The most challenging thing to me is [the] “in-betweens” of completing a project. The beginning stages of a piece can get boring for me, so staying motivated is important– plus coffee!
It’s really fantastic to see so many SOLD OUT pieces in your shop; but will they be back in stock for those who may have missed out? (We may be asking for a “friend”)
Haha, thanks! I’ll try to restock as soon as I can 🙂
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
Expect a whole lot of Kamen Rider pieces, haha!