Lucas Santos was born in sunny Lisbon and moved to his new U.K. home just a year later. Then came the years to follow filled with Disney shows and Pixar films that formed the explosive creative mind of the illustrator we know today. “I was always collecting bugs and storing them in these bug containers. I’d spend full afternoons just drawing bugs, monsters and animals, stuff like that.” The observant kid seems to have grown into a young man with an eye for detail as you'll see through his colourful art that always tells a little story when you look closely at the quirky attentive depictions. Chatting to Lucas is like running into a ball of energy - it's almost hard to imagine the enthusiastic artists sitting still for hours to finish a piece and yet he's got a whole lot of art to put to his name already. I guess all that energy just transfers into his full-of-life illustrations.
What would you like people to know about yourself?
“My top 3 cartoons right now are Steven Universe, Tom & Jerry and Gravity Falls. I’ve had the privilege of meeting one of the animators from Monsters Inc. and since August 2016 I’ve had the pleasure to design/illustrate for a variety of artists including Rich the Kid, Migos, Famous Dex, KsNS and Sega The Producer. As well as collaborating with one of my favourite artists CartoonBoomin.”
If you could choose a film and track that describes you, what would they be?
“For the film I’d say Jungle Book because my parents always compared me to Mogli as a kid and I can kind of see how Mogli venturing into a jungle full of animals parallels with exploring the garden in search of bugs and frogs”
“For the track, I’m gonna go with Tyler, the Creator / Parade. Pretty much cos I like how brash Tyler is on this track when he’s talking about being young and living in your own world. I guess the overall message is to enjoy life and gravitate towards what your passionate about.”
Why do you create?
“I create because it’s legit what drives and fuels me. It’s like I’m the bridge between what’s in my head and the artwork. And I like the fact that I’m able to create alternate worlds and characters. I think that’s why I love cartoons so much, anything can happen.”
Name one place where you feel most creative?
“One place where I feel most creative is in the forest. There’s a collection of forests that are pretty much a 5 minute walk away from my house and I find it so peaceful there. It gives me the space and time to think about the projects that I’m working on. And I’m always taking pictures when I’m there because there’s always the chance that I’ll reference it for a graphic or an illustration later on!”
What accumulation of influences made you the artist that you are now?
“My influences are: Disney, Pixar, Tom & Jerry, Eiichiro Oda (One Piece) Akira Toriyama (Dragonball Z), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Tite Kubo (Bleach), Beatrix Potter, Gastón Pacheco, Jake Parker, Marek Jarocki, Violaine Briat, Erin Hunting, Maruti_Bitamin, George R.R Martin, Terryl Whitlatch (her book Animals Real and Imagined is a great read), Anna Cattish (her book Cattish sketchbook is bliss), E.B. Hudspeth (his book, The Resurrectionist is dark and brilliant) Tyler, the Creator and Steven Universe. There’s definitely more people that I’m forgetting to mention. But pretty much anyone who has sharpened their craft and use their talent to create something distinct and unique.”
Choose any era you like - what would you bring back from that time?
“If I had to choose I’d say most of the cartoons that were made in the 90’s/00’s because they were insanely good as a collective. Like there was, Dexter’s Laboratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Hey Arnold!, Ren and Stimpy, Spongebob, Invader Zim and Chowder. They’re a few shows that stand out to me as cartoons that I can still watch today and find just as funny as they were back then. I’d also love to bring back the 16th cent. style of paining. I just have a sheer respect for the painters from that era, mostly because of the amount of time, energy and craft that went into a lot of the art of that time.”
What would you like to see next for your career?
“I’m setting my sights on galleries. Having my work on display has always been a dream of mine. I know I’ve got to keep focused and keep the coffee flowing because there’s a lot more hard work to do in order to reach Mt. Olympus (galleries). I’ve also got a few ideas written down for comics that I’m planning to materialise and take shape so that I can distribute copies digitally. And there’s a small collection of apparel that I’ve been steadily crafting which is now looming.”