Luis Royo was born in 1954 in Olalla, a little city near Teruel, Spain. When he was young, he move with his family to Zaragoza, where he goes at school for the first time, and where his first drawing reminders came back to him. In those reminders, he sits down under the big windows of the school, then draws…
His handy side, which he got from his family, led him to study technic drawing. He discovers quite fast that geometrical shapes will not satisfy him entirely.
He begin to study painting, decoration and interior design at the “industrial school” and ” hardworking arts school”, and combine this with different works in interior design and decoration studios, between 1970 and 1971.
Meanwhile, he combines his activities with painting. Biased by May 1968, he paints large format paintings with social themes, which he shows in expositions in 1972 and 1976, followed by a serie of expositions in 1977.
When he discovers adult comics, from the artists ENKI BILAL and MOEBIUS, in 1978, Luis Royo begins to draw comics for different fanzines and show them at the “Angouleme Comics Festival” in 1980.
In 1979, he let off his work in design studios, to dedicate him entirely to the comics. In 1981 and 1982, his work is published like “Comix International”, the “Rambla”, and sometimes in the “El Vibora” and the “Heavy Metal”.
In 1983, A meeting with RAFAËL MARTINEZ, at the “Zaragoza Comics Festival” will fix his professional future. He’s commissionned by MARTINEZ to product five figures for the Norma Editorial, marking the beginning of a new born professionnal cooperation between them.
His work isn’t limited into the national territory; he’s also published in foreign medias. His work is also published in USA, in United Kingdom. and in Sweden, where he has made covers for glamorous publishing houses like “Tor Books”, “Berkley”, “Avon”, “Warner”, “Batman”, and others !
American magazines like “Heavy Metal” and “National Lampoon” ask Luis Royo some more covers.
Also European magazines ask so, like “Cimoc”, “Comic Art”, “Ere Comprime”, “Total Metal”, and others. Anyway, his work isn’t reserved for magazine covers, he’s also asked to make covers for videos and video games.
In 1985, in paralel with his work as an illustrator, he publishes a comic in the “Rambla” serie and, a year later, in “Ikusager Ediciones S.A.”, he publishes a comic named “DESFASE”.
In 1990, when established in a privileged position on the international market of the figure, he improves the amount of his own worh, by opposition with commissionned works. The major amount of his own work is bought by different medias, or included in compilations.
In 1992, thanks to a proposition made some years earlier by the man who has discovered him, he publishes his very first compilation work : “WOMEN”, an album which gather all his best works up to now. With this compilation, he’s already identified as a great illustrator and his leaning to draw women began to emerge clearly. It was an astonishing book for the comics’ lovers, covering a wide range of series, which were published by “Editorial Soleil” in France and “Ediciones Comic Forum” in Germany. Based on this compilation, he made his first exposition of original figures.
A year later, his comics pictures bring a collection of cards using his figures, under the name of “FROM FANTASY TO REALITY”.
Following the success of his first compilation, in 1994 “MALEFIC” is published with the most part of Luis Royo‘s figures, establishing a large wide of worlds and colors. In “MALEFIC”, the entire illustrator is named – An illustrator not only able to depict worlds coming from imagination, but also to create an story and a shape around the personnality which gives the title of the book.
In the same year, “WOMEN” is to be published, and in the USA, “PENTHOUSE” write an article on his figures.
In 1995, new editors begin to be interested in Luis Royo‘s works : “Ballantine”, “Naw”, “Daw”, “Doubleday”, “Harper Paperbacks”, “Zebra”, “Fasa Corporation”, “Pocket Books” (Star-Trek series), “Penthouse Comix” and “Fller Ulta X-Men” by Marvel. Since that year, Luis Royo‘s works are published in many differents formats, and in many countries : calendars, posters, T-shirts, CD Jackets, mouse rugs, collectable cards in cooperation with others artists, like in “THE ART OF HEAVY METAL” or individually, like in “THE BEST OF ROYO”.
The imagination and the great quality of Luis Royostart to take place into any type of medias, and his name begin to be well-known. In 1996, he makes a cover of “Penthouse” in USA and Germany. Same year, many reports about his works are published. He also receives the “SILVER AWARD SPECTRUM III”, the BEST award for contemporary fantastic art in USA.
Following the success of “MALEFIC”, his third album, “SECRETS”, is published in 1996, showing women and magic in the central roles, and the basic presence of beauty and the beast. This work is being edited by NBM for English-speaking countries. But he surprises his fans, in the same year, with the brochure “WARM WINDS”, published by “Norma Editorial” in cooperation with “Heavy Metal”.
In 1997, the interest given by Heavy Metal to Luis Royo is showed in a large amount of covers and calendars, and also in his galery, which is entirely dedicated to Royo. This interest result to a commission for the cover of the twentieth birthday edition of the magazine, and series of figures on the character of F.A.A.K. (Julie Strain) by Kevin Eastman.
In the same year, two new collections of collectable cards are being published : “ROYO SECRET DESIRES” and “ARTISTIC CHOICES” (in common with other artists). Eventually, “WOMEN” and “MALEFIC” are published in the USA and the last one is re-published in Spain.
A year later, his next figure book is published : “III MILLENIUM”. In this book, Royo replaces his color palette and gives us his own particular vision of the end of the century. furthermore, in 1998, he presents his Tarot card collection, the “BLACK TAROT”. In 1999, he products the calendar for Heavy Metal and his fifth collection of cards under the name of “III MILLENIUM”. It was a year when Luis Royo showed a clear evolution to audacious models of figures.
To fit together with the “Barcelona Comic Fair” in 1999, Royo exhibit a new album “DREAMS” – A compilation of all his commissionned figures for the past ten years. What is impressive in this album is the versatility of the artist to adapt himself to different subjects and models.
The artist offers us, at the end of the year, a more audacious and honnest work than ever : the publishing of the first volume of “PROHIBITED BOOK”, with astonishing erotic contents in which the tale of “Beauty and the Beast” has an major importance. This deluxe publishing, smaller than previous albums, offers us pictures as sensual as handsome. “EVOLUTION” remind us the big format album, containing more personnal works. The choice of figures are marked by the clock’s-hands, time and sci-fi and are described with the all-presence of the women, which one’s expressions became more confident and dominant. This album is accompanied by a study of the personnality of “MALEFIC”.
In the beginning designed as a trilogy, “PROHIBITED BOOK II” is being edited in 2001 – A book in which sensations are transfered to the reader by the strength of the characters. in the continuity of the first volume, he offers us a different view of the sensuality, nearer of dreams and secret-forbidden desires.
More and more focused on his own work, his best female figures are reproduced by “Fournier” in poker-cards pack.
In 2002, Luis Royo exhibits some of his secrets in “CONCEPTIONS” – A book which is describing the creating process and also exhibits a collection of figures of the artist and patterns allowing us to appreciate personnality studies, the conception of illustrations and the numerous replace solutions that Royo considers before doing his final job.
“VISIOS” is being edited in 2003. It’s a compilation introduced by Kevin Eastman, creator of “Ninja Turtles”, in which one pictures are dominated by Luis Royo‘s skills and imagination. He develops new details and a wide range of colors, including dragons which are occupying a privileged position with woman.
“PROHIBITED BOOK III” is the last of the serie “Prohibited books”. In this tome, the reader is confined in beauty, tenderness and desire pictures. – Pictures in which one sensuality can be seen as monstruosity.
Fall 2003, the artist open his work with a serie of figures and drafts for the illustrations in his compilation books, accompanied by texts in order to enhance reader’s experience. With “CONCEPTIONS II” he goes further than the first tome, in exhibiting patterns of colors so as to be contrasted with pencil’s drafts.
“FANTASTIC ART” is the biggest compilation so far. Edited in may 2004, it gathers most complete collection of illustrations of the artist. Edited in two high-quality formats, the Deluxe limited edition is a good example of the importance of the compilation. Imagination and reality comes together in the pictures, in which one’s Royo exhibits his own particular point of view of the world, myths, legends which have formed it.
It’s a vision of reality where future must assume its own challenges.
Luis Royo moves to Barcelona, where he finds a very beautyful place, the Gothic quarter, in which he creates his works. This residence change means a change in his way of working, in the vision of his work and a wish to come back to canvas painting.
“PROHIBITED SKETCHBOOK” is the last edited work by the artist. In this one, we can appreciate the colorless sensuality and desire of the “PROHIBITED BOOK” in his earlier steps. He includes original drafts in which one’s the strength of the pictures is already obvious. As an special charm, he includes drafts which, defiantly with their incredible strength, doensn’t appear in the previous publications. In his last period, in combination with other works, Luis Royo spend four years on developping a work more personnal – “THE LABYRINTH : TAROT”. This production of Tarot Cards show the without-limit-perfectionnism of the artist.
This is a package in which each picture has been carefully and fastidiously studied and shows a titanic level of documentation.
“THE LABYRINTH : TAROT” is the very first completely unpublished work of Luis Royo, where no picture were previously published. He’s being edited in december 2004 in two formats : a exclusive card package and a book containing all the pictures and explaining texts, written by the artist himself, explaning the hidden meaning of each card and their power to control the destiny of a person. Because he begins to work as an illustrator, many groups of Heavy Metal from different countries (like Germany, Italy, Spain,…) adopted pictures from Luis Royo, using them for their CD Jackets. Between those works, the most recent has been dedicated to two cd’s of a spanish group “Avalanch”. His work came to the design of fantasy pool cues since 2001 to various puzzles, Zippo lighters, flags, posters, calendars and many other new products distributed internationally.
His book Subversive Beauty is published in 2005, offering a feminine universe that takes us to different mythologies customized by the author. In this book, the images are accompanied by short stories and provocative and challenging beauty is adorned with a profusion of tattoos and piercing. Later WILD SKETCHES collection is published, three books with 600 small-format quick drawings without planning, which shows a processing capacity of the figure.
In 2006 Luis Royo along with Romulo Royo paint a dome in a castle in Moscow (Russia) of more than 80 square meters, the greatest work accomplished so far by the author. This work is published in the book DOME, which meets the process and the paintings of the dome. This colossal work addresses the creation of a fantasic and sensual world where scenes are divided in various sexual myths which reinvent classical painting, a dome with more than 40 large female figures moving on an architecture full of vanishing perspective. Later he published DARK LABYRINTH a book that tells us about his vision of the dark world of creativity. And the prestigious Japanese company Yamato launches its MEDUSA’S GAZE figure.
In 2009 he publishes the book Dead Moon in collaboration with Romulo Royo again, this is an ambitious book with an epic and intimate story at the same time, with a tragic and apocalyptic ending, where the images display a range of different techniques, from graphite, a precious illustration or large format paintings. Precede the release of this book, Dead Moon’s portfolio.
We have clearly been speaking here of one of the most popular and professionnal illustrator worldwide, to who the fame – Instead of ourtun him – bring him to a permanent process to find new challenges or propositions, experiencing colors, textures and finding new forms of expression outward the illustration itself. He’s an untirable worker which have fans worldwide, with a magic vision of imagination of whatever surround him, experiencing, evolving, and justificate his privileged position on the international market of illustration.