Freshly Laundered 028 / Beto Petiches


Beto Petiches is an illustrator, animator, and graphic designer from Mexico City. Despite spending most of the past four years working on a singular project, he has still found time to doodle some great tees for us! Read on to learn how he turned a life of doodling into a career.

CB: Hey Beto, how did you get started as an illustrator?

BP: Thank you. It is quite an honor to be referred to as that, I personally don’t think of myself as an illustrator because most of my drawings don’t get to that stage where they can be what I consider illustrations. I think of myself as a doodler, that’s where my drawings live happier.

I started pretty young - I was the classic shy introverted boy who drew to express himself. I wasn’t that good, but my family did a pretty good job encouraging me to keep going. My father was a great painter and cartoonist, he drew for some newspapers, I was really inspired by him. I copied the cartoons from the TV shows I liked and started making my own comics. The kids at school liked that, so it was my way to make friends. Soon I was known as the guy who could draw funny stuff. I got interested in graphic design, I didn’t know a thing about it, but I was really into it. Designing logos and posters for school campaigns and friends’ “imaginary” bands (notice that the word imaginary is AFTER friends, I’m talking about their bands, I had real friends) led me to study Visual Communication.

I learned a lot about design, typography and art, not that much about drawing or illustrations, but after that I got to work with a designer I admire a lot, Alejandro Magallanes, he was a great teacher. With him I did make lots of illustrations and animations, it was a really fun experience. I kept drawing and I learned (and keep learning) how to use my drawings to express not only humor, but meaning. That’s why I use that sketchy look, the first intentions drawings are full of expression and are more human to me. Just like my preschool TMNT comics were.   :)


CB: Which do you prefer to do the most of now? Doodling/illustrations, graphic design work, or animations?

BP: I think I have one that I like the most but more than that, I like the fact that I’m lucky to be able to do those three almost all the time. That is because I tend to get saturated or frustrated with repetitive things, I think it happens to many designers or illustrators. For me it is really exciting, because you don’t get stuck, you keep moving and learning. For the past 4 years I’ve been working in a stop motion project, called Revoltoso, with friends and colleagues. The last year and a half I did nothing else than animating, about 14 hours, seven days a week. We were 3 animators, living the most hard but enlightening days we’ve been lucky to experience. The animation process is over now and It was the best thing I’ve done so far, but as you might imagine, it is a relief to be able to focus on design and other things now. Animation is tough, specially stop motion, but the satisfaction is way greater than the effort; it is the one where I feel more comfortable. I really like it, even if it’s just quick animations, that is why I animate a lot of the things I doodle, to see those sketchy lines wiggle.

As I said, it can be exhausting, that is why I’m lucky to be able to do other things, otherwise I’d be really tired. Maybe I would have better animation skills, but I would lose other experiences. I don’t think skill is the defining rule for my work, or at least, it is not how I approach it. My first concern is always the idea, a good concept. The technique won’t matter if you have a good idea. That is what I try to do with my work.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s just what I try to achieve. There are people with brilliant ideas and impeccable skills, and those are the best. If you can achieve both, go for it. I really admire those artists, but I have a personal fascination with the process. To be more clear: it’s not unusual that I like better a sketch in a storyboard, than a final animation product. Something about the expression of quick lines, just gets me.


CB: This is the project you were working on, Revoltoso? This movie looks so cute! How did you get involved with this project?

BP: Yes, that’s it! Well I got involved from the very beginning, or maybe even earlier. The directors of the film are two brothers who started the company Cinema Fantasma in order to do Revoltoso, a stop-motion film about a little boar in the Mexican Revolution. I went to college with them, but even before that, we went to the same high school, junior high and even primary school. So we knew each other and have worked on different projects way before the idea of Revoltoso started.

In the early stages, along with some other friends, we were drawing concept art, characters, sets, soldering armatures for the puppets, etc. We did everything ourselves, even learning stop-motion, because we were all new in this. Then I left for a while, a whole year which I used to work with Magallanes, but returned when the animation began. The animation stage is over now, the film is still missing some sound editing and a little post production, but it is almost ready to start knocking on film festivals’ doors.

Me and my partner, Maira Frappé, are in charge of Cinema Fantasma’s graphic design. We did the logo and all the visual communication for the company. I also did Revoltoso’s logo and even the 2D animation you see at the beginning of that kickstarter video. We have plans for many other projects, but first, we need to get Revoltoso out there, I hope someday you guys have the opportunity to see it. We know that not everyone will like it, but we hope they would at least appreciate all the work involved. Because it was a lot of work, but as you can see from the video, it was also a lot of fun.


CB: That’s fantastic! You must be so proud of all the work the entire team has done to get to this point. How have you found time to design tees for us (and other outlets) while participating in a very focused and intensive project like Revoltoso?

BP: We finished shooting in April, so now I have more decent work schedules. But even when you are shooting, you always find time to draw, because you can’t animate all the time. We have limited space and resources, like lights, cameras and even people. Also, we didn’t have an ideal studio so we had problems with the weather and the materials, and all those things take time to fix and you need everything to be perfect to set the new shots and have all the puppets ready, etc.

About a year ago, I saw an amazing design on Brandon Land’s instagram, I really wanted to have that on a print or something. Some days later he announced that he made it into a t-shirt, I immediately bought it. That’s how I discovered Cotton Bureau and I thought it was awesome, because I had always wanted to have my designs on t-shirts, I had even made some t-shirts myself with ink, brushes and markers, but it was really difficult for me to get some of the ideas I had in mind. So that same night I learned how it worked and decided to upload something to see if it got accepted. It did.

I did the Beary Sorry design exclusively for Cotton Bureau, but I noticed that I could upload some of the designs I had on my instagram, just like Brandon Land did. That’s why I really liked it, I could upload anything that I think would made a great shirt design, that’s why It doesn’t take much of my time, it is what I do anyway.

Sometimes when I have more time, I try to design for specific themes and contests. But in the meantime the doodle nights are just fine. It’s not that I don’t dedicate time to the things I upload because I don’t care, on the contrary, I love to have that freedom, I think all that random doodles are more honest. From the mind to the paper without that many thoughts or filters. Maybe that explains my fascination with sketches and scribbles.


CB: That’s a great point, that what comes out first in our work is probably the most honest. It’s great that you have been able to have success turning your doodles into t-shirts! If you could work on a project of your choosing, with any designer/illustrator in the world, what type of project would you work on? Who would you like to work with?

BP: That’s a really tough one. I have a lot of heroes that I look up to, they just inspire me. I will try to think on some in particular while I answer the first question.

It would definitely have to be really dynamic and fun. I think the best project would be one without an specific goal. Maybe it ends up in a flipbook or a poster or a mural or I don’t know, but the process would get us there. I like it when, by some accident, you end up in a totally different but awesome place. That’s how I try to work, not being afraid of erroring (hehe). For me, the ludic approach is just more fun and interesting.

But if you want a more precise answer, I would really love to make some drawings and designs come to life. I had the opportunity to do that for Alejandro, but I would also love to animate some of James Victore’s amazing posters, Luke Pearson’s characters, Jean Jullien’s illustrations, Jon Burgerman’s doodles, Mikey Burton’s drawings, or Isidro Ferrer’s designs. I’ve got too many idols, and I would love to create something with anyone. I think I would learn a lot, at least that’s what I always try to do. As illustrators, doodlers, animators, etc, we never stop learning. We are eternal students, but some of them are great teachers, as well. So, I love being able to see great work everywhere and learn from that, as I try to incorporate all my learnings in my own work.


CB: Thank you for chatting with us, Beto!

To see more of Beto’s work you can follow him on tumblr or instagram and you can sign up to be notified whenever he releases a new tee on Cotton Bureau right here.