Not only is Omar Alvero the art director for video game apparel maker Eighty Sixed, but he designed the popular Mega Man 11 "Diagnostic" t-shirt, shown above. It shows the inner-workings of the blue bomber's head, right down to the ceratanium shell.
I had the chance to sit down with Omar to talk a little about this piece, his history as an artist, and other odds-and-ends that you might find interesting. Grab an E-Tank, pull up a chair and join us below!
Protodude: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you introduce yourself?
Omar: Hello! My name's Omar, I'm the art director for Eighty Sixed.
PD: Who are some of your favorite artists and sources of inspiration?
Omar: Oh, there's a pretty wide variety of places I look for inspiration, but Capcom's 90's and 00's artwork, spritework especially, is definitely some of my deepest rooted sources. Bengus and Haruki Suetsugu being the biggest sources of wanting to get into artwork in the first place.
PD: What kind of tools do you use to make your illustrations?
At this time, the vast majority of my artwork is done entirely in Photoshop, though some of my work does utilize Illustrator.
PD: How familiar are you with Mega Man? Do you have any favorite games?
Like I mentioned with the inspiration question, the Mega Man series, in particular the Mega Man X series, is one of the biggest reasons I started drawing in the first place, I wanted to create my own characters set in that world. My first Mega Man game was Mega Man X, though I really started to get into it during the PSX era, bought every title on launch day starting with X5, and that does include X7, which I still own. But as far as my favorite titles in the series, it's a bit of a toss up between X and X4, but I think I would have to give the edge to X1.
I have played a fair amount of the classic and Mega Man Zero titles as well, 2, 3, 9and 11 being my favorites of the classic games, and Zero 2 being my favorite of the Mega Man Zero titles that I have played.
PD: Can you tell us a little about the design process behind your piece?
Omar: I have done a lot of designs, but I generally start by asking myself a couple of questions when I start on any design.
Is this something that faithfully encapsulates an aspect of a series appeal?
Is this something fans of a series may like?
And if it's a shirt, is this something I would wear out in public?
A pitfall I really want to avoid is with a lot of licensed merchandise is how impersonal and non-thought out designs can be, where they grab a couple of ore-existing assets, throw on the characters name and logo and call it a day. I know I hate it when something I personally find important gets treated in such a cynical way.
PD: Do you have any favorite Mega Man characters?
Omar: I am pretty biased for X and Zero, though I have a soft spot for Roll, she's always fun to play as in all the fighting game spin-offs, though for completely different reasons in the Marvel vs Capcom and Tatsunoko vs Capcom.
PD: Finally, can you share a message with all of our aspiring artists out there?
Omar: Absolutely, it's important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, try out new subjects, styles and disciplines. It's something I truly grew to appreciate once I started work designing merchandise.
Also, a second lesson that I really am trying to internalize, that being, finished is better than perfect! You only got so much time, you don't wanna get stuck working on the same piece of art for weeks, or even months.
Thanks for your responses, Omar!
We'll have interviews with all the artists behind the Eighty Sixed Mega Man 11 line soon! Look forward to it!