Jingo de La Rosa
Interviewed by Paul Ingold
Paul: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Jingo. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Jingo: Sure thing! I'm a freelance illustrator, and I typically work with commercial clients. Some of the companies I've worked with are Penguin-Random House, Duncan Toys and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. I'm also a teaching artist, which means exactly as it sounds: an artist who teaches, and it's actually a growing profession. Though I'm not officially employed as a teacher in a particular school, the job is pretty much the same as an art educator, minus the formal university training. The big difference is that it allows me the flexibility to teach anywhere based on need, whether it's a year-long residency in a private school, or even a one-and-done workshop in a church or community center. Lately, I've found myself being more involved in community-based projects.
Paul: Why do you sketch?
Jingo: I sketch for different reasons. Number one, I do it because I enjoy it and it's somewhat therapeutic. It's a nice escape from my client work, where I can just sit somewhere other than my studio, sketch something that interests me and just zone out. Second, it's a great way to stretch my observational skills, which is very important in my line of work as an artist.
Paul: I know that you do a lot of digital work for your day job. As a professional illustrator, does urban sketching help or play a role in this work? If so, do you have a favorite sketching tool or medium?
Jingo: Apart from sharpening my observational skills, urban sketching provides an outlet where I get to revisit sketching with traditional tools, since I do work digitally a lot in my day job. I typically sketch with pencils in varying grades, but right now I'd like to venture out and use other mediums. In fact, I just bought a set of oil pastels, which I plan to use for sketching once the weather gets consistently warmer.
Paul: How did you first hear about the Urban Sketchers community and what made you decide to join Urban Sketching Chicago?
Jingo: The life of a working artist is often solitary, so I was pretty desperate to find a community of artists that I can relate to when I first moved to Chicago. Thanks to a quick Google search, I found the Urban Sketching Chicago Facebook page, and without any hesitation, I sent in a request so I can be included in the group. Thankfully, my request was accepted, and I started to join the sketch meet-ups whenever I was available. Even though I now live in Indianapolis, I try to make an effort to go to the events since it's only an easy 3-hour drive. Plus, the meet-ups are just great fun. Everyone is genuinely nice and very supportive.
Paul: What is your favorite place to sketch?
Jingo: When I lived in Chicago, I loved sketching on the train. I just love the feeling of being among strangers, and sketching faces I'll probably never see again. I like making up stories in my head about the people I sketch, and to me, that is half the fun. I still do it whenever I visit Chicago, since I'm there a lot for conventions and conferences that I attend. Now that I'm in Indy, I sketch in my favorite coffee shop, because sketching is so much better with caffeine!
Paul: You sent us four really cool urban sketches. What inspired them? Why are these scenes special to you?
Jingo: (Sue) This one is special to me because of the many times I've visited the Field Museum, I was never able to sketch Sue. When USk Chicago did their meetup at the Field in February this year, I thought it would be a mortal sin not to draw Sue, so I did!
Jingo: (Repeal Restaurant) I decided to completely jump out of my comfort zone for this one. I normally sketch in pencil, so I got rid of all my fears and just sketched with an inking pen and markers. Also, architecture is my weak spot, so this gave me the opportunity to work on that.
Jingo: (Two ladies chatting) When I first started sketching people, I was more focused on their likeness, so my sketches appeared more "realistic" in a sense. The more I did that, the more I realized that I was losing the subject's essence, which I really don't want to do. So for this one, I wanted to capture what makes these people interesting, rather than pinning down an exact likeness.
Paul: Thanks again for participating in this interview Jingo! For those that would like to see more of Jingo's work... here's his website and social media links:
Here's a recent "Indie Creative" short film of Jingo