Fernando G. Baptista

"I would like the students to return to their jobs with the idea of ​​being creative, of wanting to try to do new things"

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Holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of País Vasco. He worked as an illustrator and freelance designer for several years until he started working at El Correo in 1993. In 2007 he became part of the graphics team at National Geographic Magazine. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Navarra and he has taught at many conferences and workshops around Europe, the Middle East, United States and Latin America. Baptista has two Emmy nominations. He is a big fan of Sci-fi and comic books.

Your definition for “infographics”
To me the infographics tell stories that photos and text cannot do it. In my case they tend to be more diagramatic, showing processes and reconstructions and I always work hand in hand with the experts. My graphics are illustrated, but everything has a reason to be, always approved by the experts. In many cases we generate totally new content and that is hard.

Which are your obligatory references?
When I started in 1993, my references were Jaime Serra and John Grimwade, and I do not know how many times I have consulted their graphics. I also followed the work of the Spanish newspapers a lot. Later I have looked for aesthetic inspirations in the concept art, special effects, movies and exhibitions in the museums.

What are we going to find in your Masterclass in Malofiej?
The idea is that people try something new, different techniques for both platforms, print and digital. I want the students to be creative and surprise the readers. I think that is very important to keep the attention of the readers. Sometimes is difficult to try new things because we’re so busy, but if I bring them the techniques and materials I use in Nat Geo, I think it can be a good inspiration and an easy start.

What you would like your students to learn from your workshop?

I would like the students to return to their jobs with the idea of ​​being creative, of wanting to try to do new things and of trying to use something of what I have taught them.

Your work process
This is the process followed to make a graphic about the pterosaurs. These flying creatures lived more than 200 million years ago.

1. I usually start with meetings with the story team, where the focus of the story is discussed and where I proposed ideas for the graphic. After the concept is approved I start with the sketches, the beginning is always pencil and paper, very simple, thinking about the order of reading and composition. In this case the main idea is the evolution of the pterosaurs and a comparison between the bones of the wings of the pterosaurs and modern creatures as birds, bats and, curiously, humans because we share the same bones.

2. For each project I work with a researcher, in this project was Mesa Schumacher. Mesa contacted with the best experts and started to receive the information.

3. Then I closed the design and information in Illustrator.

4. I started with the artistic part. For the reconstruction of these creatures I made several models. Why did I use models?. Because they are made on scale with the exact measurements from the experts, for each bone we had a measure. That allows me to photograph them with the best point of view, without losing the measurements. With the models you also control the light and get a rich texture to paint on top.

5. During the whole process the experts checked the graphic and the reconstructions, normally hundreds of emails are exchanged.

6. A writer, Eve Conant, worked with the texts and two graphic assistants, Daisy Chang and Adrienne Tong, helped me with the secondary graphics.

7. Finally, I refine both the colors and design details.

(Click to see in high resolution)

8. Working with Mónica Serrano for a stop motion animation for this year….

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