guille rancel: the magic of drawing

By Carol Arán

When purpose and passion come together in perfect conjunction, the most genuine and creative work arises in the art of illustrating: works generated by hours and hours of labour; hours consumed by the love of the stroke of the pen, the stroke conquered by sheer force of effort. Contemplating the illustrations of Guille Rancel makes one think that its creator has definitely taken ownership of his own style of drawing, that the magic of his lines and colours is not only the result of a natural talent.

Rancel is one of those illustrators and animators who remind us of the enormous effort behind a child’s drawing: the range of nuances that make the spark of a drawing grow, the amount of pencils spent on paper necessary to master the animation. This ‘Tinerfeño’, despite working with digital media, has never abandoned traditional techniques in the journey towards his characteristic style. His training in Fine Arts is evident in the use of pencil and watercolour in his more personal works, and in the pictorial depth of his digital works, that avoid any kind of technological coldness.

But in the conquest of style, constancy is nothing without a good dose of imagination, and this is what Guille Rancel’s production can boast of too. As a character design specialist, he has given life to an effervescent imaginary which proposes a return to children’s magical thinking, to open the doors to the fantasy world that hides beyond the wild of the forest, far from the tedium of being an adult and from the stereotypes of princesses and knights to the rescue. His characters form a catalogue of sorcerers, explorers and warriors of a fresh imagination, tender and closely linked to nature. Primitive monsters, skull-headed ogres and cartoon shamans ride on the backs of ancestral wolves, beating paths through unusual flora. Creatures that never get bored, who always have adventures to live, screaming that mythology is not just a thing of the past.

The scenes that Rancel illustrates give off a certain supernatural aura that is never scary: a mystery that comforts and invites one to delve with curiosity into its colours. His characters live in tribes away from the mundane noise; although they have no age, they are rarely adults, and they cause us to smile and dream when we glimpse the reflection of a legendary bonfire in their big eyes. They never lose hope, and they harbour a mixture of both humour and tenderness, and an atavistic, spiritual sentiment, as of initiatory journey among totem animals.

In technical terms, an exquisite mastery of drawing stands out in Guille Rancel’s work, in which a curved, precise and carefree line predominates, and a treatment of colour and texture born of pictorial intention. The characters he designs, never static, come alive through countless features and details, and this mastery in drawing figures is the product of constant practice. It is no coincidence that he was one of those chosen to illustrate the second volume of «Masters of Anatomy», a collection of books on anatomy and character design for a specialised audience, where Rancel shares pages with creators of Disney, Pixar and Marvel.

The will of an old school master pulses in all the disciplines that this creator develops: illustration, 2D animation, character design, graphic humour, Art Direction and conceptual art. In his blog “Jaque Primate” you can see and enjoy some of his demo reels and previous works for animation ; concepts and sketches from the retro movement; line characters clear yet naked in colour and atmosphere, which refer us to the trade of yesteryear, when the drawing was all. This sensation is perceived both in his commissions and in his personal work, which floods the publications of busy social networks. Very active in digital media, this promising Illustrator offers his followers a vast sample of his production in all its facets, and an album of untamed beings that seems to have no end.

From their magical and timeless universe, the creatures that populate the works of Guille Rancel are presented to us as the wild children of a talent forged in pencil and paper. Free, clear-eyed characters, heirs of some adventurous ethnicity that does not believe in getting older, let alone abandoning the weapons of their paintbrushes in the battle of fantasy.