The Talenthouse Community is jam packed full of creative excellence. We'll be featuring regular #TalenthouseArtist features to delve into the creative process, inspiration, tools and tips behind some of our favorite work. Know someone who we should feature, or want to recommend your fine self? Pop a note in the comments or find us on Twitter or Instagram @Talenthouse.

This time around we're featuring the work and processes of Luis Moreno, a digital artist based in Miami. Spoiler alert: Luis's involvement and passion for Talenthouse and for artwork has led to him becoming Talenthouse's Social Media Manager, so we're especially big fans of Luis over here! Here's his Talenthouse artwork, and here's a brief intro:

Luis! Let's get stuck in. How did you first get involved with Talenthouse?
I follow all the super-hero Instagram accounts, and I remember seeing a post from the Aquaman account promoting an art content that caught my eye. I actually didnt enter that brief - I made artwork for it, but I didn't submit it. The concept of art contests was very new to me and I guess I didn't feel secure enough to post it after seeing the submissions other people were posting. I did learn from that experience, though; I still created the work and met the deadline. 

What was holding you back from submitting?
Everyone goes through self-doubt, right, and I was just doubting myself so much, thinking that my work wouldn't be good enough or something. But then I saw all the positivity on the platform, and another brief caught my eye.

This was a brief for the movie In The Heights, so for that one I built up the courage to actually post my artwork and submit.

That one was really a test-run for me; I wanted to see what happened after the deadline, how the winners were announced and what kind of work won. I noticed there was a lot of conversation happening in the comments sections of the briefs, and artists were talking to and following eachothers work there.

Then by the time the DC Fandome brief came around in 2020 I was talking to a small group of artists, and we all encouraged eachother to submit. It's so interesting to take advantage of the multiple submission opportunities on some briefs and play with different color palettes, and we were all spurring eachother on and making sure we didn't miss the deadline.

One of Luis's brilliant submissions to the DC Fandome Brief in 2020

How did it go?
Well, I didn't win, and that fact alone nearly changed my entire art style. I submitted work in the cartoon style that I really love to do, and when I saw all the winners they were all in a comic book style. I thought I was going to have to change my style if I wanted to get noticed or to win. I was thinking about that for almost a year, until the next DC brief came along, but then, I thought NO!

No! No, I wasn't going to change my art syle. Creating in the cartoon style makes me feel really happy and fulfilled. I love translating something that exists in real life into a cartoon style, giving it the big eyes and the big smile. I literally find myself smiling when I complete artwork like that, so for the next DC brief, I doubled down on my comic book style.

It paid off, because I was selected as one of the winners!

Luis's winning submission for the DC Fandome brief in 2021

How did it feel to find out that your cartoon style had made it to the top?
It was so emotional for me, as an artist, to then be so glad that I didn't give up. I'd really doubled down on my style and had learnt new skills in the year since the previous contest, and I was so proud. I remember seeing the email from DC on my phone when I was at my day job, and waiting until I got home to open it on a computer and take it all in. I wondered which one of my 10 submissions had won, and to see that it was the cartoon Justice League made me so happy.

It changed my life. I'm never going to doubt myself again.

Your social media shows how you've stayed true to the cartoon style that you love so much. How would say your work has progressed since winning the DC brief? 
Oh absolutely. The cartoon style is me. I'm always going to listen to my instincts from now on. If I feel it, I'll follow it. Since winning the brief I've had the confidence to really focus on that style. There are 3 things that I love - they don't really go together, but I love pro-wrestling, K-Pop, and superheroes. I've focued my work on those areas, and have had so many people reach out to me because of it. I've seen my work stuck on the walls in K-pop groups' dressing rooms, I've met some wrestlers and given them my artwork, and taken my art to signings.  

I used to work solely with pencil and paper, levelling it out and sometimes inking it before scanning it into a computer. It's traditional and I enjoy it, but it's so time consuming. After I won the contest, I decided to take myself back to school and I learnt how to do digital art. It's so much quicker and I've learnt how to make things really glow and shine, which is great for my style.

Which tools or software do you use?
Like a lot of artists, right now I use two programmes. The goal is to eventually be able to do everything in one, but for now I start on my iPad with an Apple Pencil and Procreate, and then switch over to my laptop and use layers in Adobe Photoshop. 

What advice would you give to anyone who's nervouse about putting their work out into the world? 
Don’t get discouraged by low views or engagement. Sometimes it just means the correct audience hasn’t seen your work yet. If you're trying to grow your followers on Instagram for example, try some cross platform promotion of your work to drive traffic from other platforms (like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook groups) to your Instagram. As your audience grows don’t be afraid to reposts some earlier work you feel proud up for your new followers to see and appreciate.

Something else that has been useful to me has been making friends with other artists. The Talenthouse briefs actually facilitated this for me. If you're a young artist, learn what you can from the older artists that have been doing their craft for years and have experience. If you're an older artist, learn what you can from younger artists that are starting out and have new and exciting visions for how to share their work in creative ways.
Art has its own form of communication, it can connect us all regardless of age, language, gender, culture or continent.