Artist Interview - Jingo de la Rosa

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jingo M. de la Rosa, and I’m a commercial illustrator, art educator, community artist, and urban sketcher. It’s so difficult to describe what I do since I tend to do a lot in my artist portfolio.


Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because it’s the one thing I know I’m good at. I can be good at other things, but art is definitely where I can be the most confident in myself. Sure, there are times of uncertainty and self-doubt, but for the most part, being an artist is one of the few things in my life that I’m 100% sure of.


You use so many vibrant colors, do you have any that you favor?

Like most artists, I like all colors! But I do tend to lean towards blues and violets a lot. I think these cooler tones add a lot of mood, especially when it comes to my urban sketches.


What inspires your art?

Everyday life inspires me. I truly believe that real beauty lies in the everyday and the mundane, especially in things and places that go unnoticed. Sure, there are a lot of magnificent things in the world we can seek out, but we do forget that beauty is just within our reach: cans of food in our cupboard, the clutter in our garages, and even neighborhood alleyways.


How and when did you get into art?

Like most artists, I got into art when I was really young. Growing up in the Philippines in the late 80’s, we had rolling blackouts every single day for a summer. It was too hot to be outside, so I would just draw. I’d draw anything and everything--from made-up superheroes to recreating what I see on TV.


How has your practice changed over time?

My practice has definitely changed a lot. When my career started, I exclusively made art for the commercial world--licensing, publishing, marketing, and promotional materials, etc. But over time, I realized that I needed to evolve in order to grow as an artist. At the time, Urban Sketching was more of a hobby to me. I then saw its potential in becoming a facet of fine art that I can add to my repertoire. Nowadays, aside from my commercial work and teaching, I show my urban sketching work in galleries.


What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?

Picking a favorite piece of art that I’ve created is like picking my favorite child--it’s next to impossible. The one that does stand out the most is a mural I made for the NCAA. It meant a lot because they gave me total creative freedom, and I was able to infuse some community work into it by involving school-aged kids and gathering their input on what a dream means to them.


What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?
I’ve been fortunate to be around artists with a wealth of knowledge and experience, but probably the best piece of art advice I’ve ever received is that I need to allow myself to make mistakes. My natural tendency is to be accurate, which is pretty common among a lot of artists. I’ve learned that every now and then, I need to let go of that mindset and allow the process to take over. That way, I can make room for error, and let those mistakes teach me valuable lessons. After all, failure is probably one of the best teachers.


What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?

One art tip that has been really helpful to me in urban sketching (or in art, in general), is avoiding using pencils and erasers. While these tools are mostly helpful, I found that I rely on them too much that I treat them as a crutch. Going straight to a liner pen helps me to commit and to be efficient. Most importantly, it gave me more confidence in what I can do, which is what all artists need.


Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?

The only tip I can give is: keep going! Ignore that mistake for a minute and move on to a different part of your piece. Did you mess up on perspective? Add that first pass of paint first and go back to what needs to be fixed later. Making mistakes can be incredibly frustrating, but I’ve learned that walking away from them for a little bit can help you cool off and start fresh.



What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?

I have a lot of favorite types of Strathmore paper, but the one that I tend to use the most is the ready-cut watercolor paper. I tend to work smaller, so having a ready-made 5x7 piece of paper helps a lot with efficiency. Its quality also withstands several passes of watercolor and brings out the vibrancy of the pigments. A recent favorite would be the 3x9 travel watercolor travel journal. Its panoramic layout allows me to rethink composition in ways I’ve never thought of before. It makes for a fun challenge!


What art materials could you not live without?

For now, it would have to be my liner pens. They just offer so much versatility and stability to any sketching that I do. But I’m also slowly trying to let that attachment go because like pencils, they can also turn into a crutch. But for now, my liner pens are a must-have!


What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?
It depends on the process! For the initial underpainting, I like to use yellow ochre because it gives the final painting a warmer tone and mood. For cast shadows, I lean towards blues like indigo, since it gives the warm underpainting some contrast.

Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?
Growing up, I was heavily influenced by some of animation’s heavy hitters: Glen Keane, Eyvind Earle, and Mary Blair. I just think animators are some of the best artists in the world. They work fast because it’s the nature of their jobs, but they also make beautiful work while being efficient at it. Some artists whose work I’ve recently followed are Maru Godas, Santi Salles, and Pascal Campion.


What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?
I always used to get asked what materials I use. Nowadays, I try to remember to include my materials list on every social media post I make.


You can see more of Jingo's work on his website & his Instagram!


Go back