Digital artist Hugo Marques: ‘drawing is my way of escaping reality’

Hugo Marques, aka Fake Face, is a freelance digital artist and 2D/3D animation teacher from Portugal, who combines classical drawing techniques with doodles to create intricately constructed works of art.

In this interview, he talks about his creative background, how his brand name Fake Face came about, and why Affinity Photo and Designer continue to be his main tools for creating digital art.

Could you tell us a bit about your journey into animation and digital illustration?

Since I was a kid, I’ve always liked to draw. I graduated in Visual Arts and started teaching kids that same year. As an extra income, I started freelancing and felt the need to upgrade my skills in animation, so I took several courses mainly in 3D and 2D animation. The work kept growing, so I created a company and really upgraded my knowledge and my portfolio. Sometime later I also started teaching animation, but in the last couple of years I felt the need to go back to my roots and started sketching with new tools—digital tools—and I immediately understood that this was what I really loved to do.

Where does your artist name ‘Fake Face’ come from?

When I started drawing again, I felt the need to show people what I was doing, so I started using social media to promote my work. I had to create a brand, and as one of my favourite motives are strange faces and masks, I searched for a cool name. My son was very young when he looked at some of my works and told me that they were like masks—like fake faces. I loved the idea, so I’ve been using the name Fake Face since then.

How would you describe your creative style?

Don’t really know how to reply to this question. The thing that drives me is to have fun experimenting, and in the digital world, you really can do that. I divide my work into collections and try to add more to every one I start. I like to mix classic drawing techniques with doodles and see where that gets me.

“The thing that drives me is to have fun experimenting, and in the digital world, you really can do that.”

How do you feel it has developed over the years?

It has been great! The feedback I am receiving is so positive, and the journey has been amazing.

Monsters and skulls are two recurring themes in your work. What is it about drawing those subjects that appeals to you?

Who doesn’t like monsters and skulls??? It is a lot of fun to sketch these two themes, and they look so good together!

You’ve been using Affinity Photo and Designer since the early days. What first impressed you about the apps, and why do you continue to use them?

The user-friendly layout and tools, the speed the software gives to your workflow and the amazing learning curve once you start working with them. Finally, the ability to start working on the iPad and end on the laptop; the full compatibility between devices is brilliant. Both of them are the main tools in my workflow.

What features do you use most/couldn’t be without?

The amazing way you guys developed to create masks, the persona philosophy and the tools in them, the simple way you can create and edit a brush…there are so many features.

What is your work set up like?

I normally start working on my iPad, then sometimes move it to a mini Mac and work the rest of the illustration with my Wacom Cintiq.

Talk us through your workflow; how do your designs tend to develop?

I always start with a search for references so I can build the composition in my mind. The second stage is to start drawing the main elements freehand with quick strokes and after that, I start lining it up in black. The next stage is to create shadows and lights to give volume to the objects. After all of this is done, I start the colour process…in this step layers also have light areas and shadow areas. The last stage is to pre-compose the whole scene.

How do you come up with new ideas?

I guess the fact that I am a teacher has this advantage: I spend all day talking about creativity and ways to reach new ideas. Discussion and constant listening to different points of view take us further; I always come home with a bunch of new ideas and projects.

You create designs for apparel and homeware, how did that side of your work develop?

I started producing lots of work and decided to post some of the designs to print on demand sites to see how it worked and the feedback has been very positive.

How do people typically react to your work? And what do you hope they take away from your designs?

The feedback has been amazing and there are several people with my drawings tattooed on their body. I guess this is the maximum achievement an artist can get; for another person to be willing to look at your creation every day for the rest of their lives!

What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

I can’t answer this one…I confess that drawing is my way of escaping reality. When I am drawing time stops; it is my meditation I guess. What really gets me going is the process; when I am developing it, experimenting, changing it, I always think that this is the one, the best. Then after I complete the work, I start again on the next one.

“What really gets me going is the process; when I am developing it, experimenting, changing it, I always think that this is the one, the best. Then after I complete the work, I start again on the next one.”

Are there any dream projects that you would like to work on in the future?

Just to live off my art and dedicate my full time to doing what I love—drawing!


To see more of Hugo’s work follow @fakefaceart on Instagram.