Tommy Castillo – a Mentor, and amazing artist.

Tommy Castillo was a comic artist who I admired for years, but someone I was completely scared of. Since my dad said the huge booth at C4 belonged to an amazing artist I should see, I wanted to talk to him and ask him for advice. But, for the longest of time, I was so scared. He seemed to be such an intimidating guy, loud and so sure of himself and his work. He was everything I wanted to be, honestly – sure of myself, my work, not caring what others thought of me, just wanting to be the best me.

One year, when I was still in high school, my two friends tried to talk me into talking to Tommy. Well, they weren’t really. They wanted to see me be tore apart by my favourite artist, to see how I would react. I was so close to talking to him, we were at his giant, amazing booth with all of his prints, with other artist talking to him and asking for advice…

…And here is Tommy – he started talking about digital art, of how it’s making some younger artist forget or not learn the fundamentals, of how it make a lot of artwork feel cheap…And I chickened out. I turned on my heel, and left my friends behind – claiming I needed to do more work before I could ever show The Tommy Castillo my poorly drawn, anime work.

It took me years to even talk to him, and even longer to him my work. Tommy Castillo was a person who I’d never dream would accept me as an artist.

It was around the time he began doing a lot of streams. I was so excited – they were the highlight of my day, everyday they happened. I would watch him do art, talk to him and his wonderful wife Sammy – both who became people I admire oh so much – and we started talking.

When I started my job, and while at my job, I spent 300 USD on a Godzilla painting Tommy did in stream. My mother wasn’t impressed with my impulse, you’re-supposed-to-be-working purchase, but I honestly didn’t care. He painted Godzilla, by my suggestion, and I wanted to have it in my life.

It was also thanks to those streams, that my study under him began. I started off “sneakfully” asking him questions (they weren’t so sneaky), asking him and Sammy various of questions involving art, life…Anything I’d think he’d answer. I remember one conversation, where I was asking on if my drafting table should be spotless or showing the previous work I’ve done…

Tommy agreed on my stance, that the table should be covered in ink, spills, and tender caring love I had for my work.

It took me a while to even half-ask if he could ever consider teaching me, and it was because of my need of writing him and Sammy a sappy email, thanking them both for streaming and creating art and streaming for us all.

My first assignment was to draw a skull fifty times, on printer paper with a normal, yellow, HB pencil. I did this assignment more than once so far, and I’m still uncertain if I’m doing it right! Knowing me, I’ll do fifty more until I’m happy with how I do skulls…

There’s so many things that he did, in stream and in life, that I can’t write down in this blog without rambling and crying and wishing to God, or whoever there is there in life, didn’t take this amazing human from us all…

My thoughts, prays, and positive feelings are with Sammy Castillo – a woman who became one of my role-models almost as instantly as Tommy. I wish her all the world.

Also, Sammy, please smile – if not now, then in the future. Don’t lose hope, and don’t forget that we’re all here for you. The Buote family is here for you, even if we’re all the way in Canada. You’re family, at least to me, and you’re one of the strongest woman who I’ve ever had the pleasure in meeting.


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