Palloma Barreto is a freelance digital illustrator and painter from Brazil who loves all things comic books, horror, and science fiction.
Can you tell us more about your history with art? How long have you been illustrating and how has your art evolved through the years?
I’ve always been into drawing for as long as I can remember, I used to get in trouble a lot in school because all of my notebooks were just filled with drawings instead of actual school notes. I’d trace VHS box art and magazines from Pokémon and Dragon Ball and moved on to superhero comics when I got a bit older. When I was sixteen, I got my first digital tablet, and fifteen years later I’m still at it, only with a different tablet.
I went to college for Video Game Design thinking I wanted to be a concept artist for a while, but I dropped it after a year, and I found myself just really wanting to draw poster/cover illustrations and comics instead.
My art has definitely changed a lot through the years, I went through a lot of phases like every artist with comics/manga, a very long realism phase, dropped drawing completely and started on a graphic design kick for a bit, and now back full circle into comics.
Your work with pop realism is impressive, and so is your comic-like lineart style. Do you have a favorite? Which one is harder to work with?
These days I enjoy more the idea of realistic painting than the actual process of it. A lot of my paintings back in the day were “studies that went too far” and I got stuck in that mindset for a long time where I could only draw something if it was as realistic and photo-like as I could.
While I do still appreciate realism when I see other people do it, these days I gravitate more towards bold lineart and inking for sure. I think that as I got older, I started to appreciate solid lineart a lot more, which is something that I’d always avoid doing with realism and now I just really love it, oftentimes it’s my favorite part of the drawing.
As for which is harder, that’s hard to say really, but as far as time consuming, I’d say that to me painting takes longer! It depends, but since I haven’t been too much into it anymore, I think today realism would definitely be harder for me.
Your main focus is digital art, right? Tell us more about your process, from sketching thumbnails to finishing a piece. Do you also work with traditional art?
I own a few sketchbooks, but I don’t really do so much “drawing” necessarily in them. You know when you’re half asleep, have an idea and type some bonkers nonsense on your phone so you won’t forget the next day? My sketchbooks are kind of like that.
Very rarely I do any traditional drawings, but I do tend to sketch thumbnails on those sketchbooks a lot, because I just find it quicker to get the idea out of my head on paper than to wait for a program to open, pick a canvas, brush etc. I admit I’m not one to do a whole lot of thumbnails for a single piece before starting it (which has caused me to completely change them from the original idea by the time I get to actually making it more than once), but once I get satisfied with the sketch then it’s pretty straightforward from that, I go on getting my references and polishing the sketch so I can move on to the lines and everything else.
I met you and your art because of Star Trek, a passion we both share! How is your relationship with the franchise, and which one is your favorite series?
I feel like every year I just love Star Trek more and more to be honest. Star Trek is one of those things that I may not think about it every single day of the year, but I promise you I will rewatch at least three of the series once or twice a year and if you get me started, I won’t shut up about it for a good hour, you know? Which is funny because it’s not like I really want to talk about episodes or characters in particular, I just want to discuss why doesn’t anyone listen to the Led Zeppelin in the future, but can quote Shakespeare from memory, you know what I mean?
When we met forever ago I was only into the Original Series and starting on The Next Generation and Voyager, I remember that everyone on message boards and on LiveJournal from back then would say how bad Deep Space Nine and Enterprise were, but then I ended up watching DS9 and it was you who talked me into watching Enterprise, and today both of them are my favorite series lol.
Deep Space Nine particularly, it’s probably my favorite piece of television ever honestly, I just love and appreciate it so much more deeply than I can say, it means the world to me.
Speaking of Star Trek, you recently made a Deep Space Nine comic, and have a zine about it in the works. Can you tell us more about it?
So that started because in 2013 I drew a little “comic strip” which wasn’t really a comic, it was a couple of panels that didn’t mean anything and I just wanted to play with heavy black shadows. Even though it was nonsense it is still probably one of my favorite drawings from back in the day and I really wanted to redraw it with my current style, so I combined my infinite love for Deep Space Nine with the fact that I really wanted to draw a comic and it kind of snowballed from there. It ended up being eight pages retelling the Deep Space Nine series finale “What You Leave Behind” in a moody, abstract kind of way.
The DS9 Zine is still in the works, I plan on making an artbook of sorts in the future that will include that comic as well as a lot of other art! I don’t have a timeframe for it just yet, but it’s brewing.
Besides Star Trek, what are your favorite speculative media to do fanart of, and which fictional franchise would you like to do official art of, if you could?
I still do Dragon Ball fanart occasionally, I had a lot of poster designs I was working on for it and haven’t got around to it just yet, as well as DC Comics, FromSoftware games, and Assassin’s Creed.
If I could officially do something for Star Trek it would be a dream come true to be honest.
What are your favorite comics? Do you have any sequential art project in the works?
I started reading comics when I was eleven with Marvel’s X-Men and moved on to DC Comics when I was thirteen and have been a fan ever since. Despite the many issues I have with DC Comics I still love it dearly, particularly the Suicide Squad. The original from 1987 by Joe Ostrander, Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad from 2014, and Tom Taylor’s 2020 Suicide Squad are my favorites by far. I love the Flash and Green Lantern as well, I’d go as far as say that early 2000s were peak comic books and DC was killing it back then, I can account for so much of it as being favorites.
As for me making my own comics, I have actually just started a comic project with a friend (@darkmotifs), there isn’t much I can say about it just yet besides it’s going to be a sci-fi/horror-ish mesh, but there is something to look forward to!
Anything else you wanna share with us?
For now I am only working on the DS9 zine and on this comic. I got a few projects on the back burner, but nothing else concrete. You can keep updated on my Twitter!