Hello Diego, Thank you for joining us on Talking With The Pros, can you please gives us an introduction about yourself and how you got started in the design industry?
I’m an illustrator from Spain, living in Madrid at the present time, hungry everyday to keep creating and doing what I like.
I started to do digital graphics several years ago and it changed my life and professional perspective. Before that I studied Cinema Production, I wanted so bad to dedicate myself to the audiovisual field, specially music videos and commercials. Then I decided to start Publicity at the University to complete my knowledge on advertising. Two first years were the less creative thing I’ve ever experienced, so I started looking for alternatives. After having my first professional experience in the U.S, I felt that I could do better things by myself, so I passed everyday developing graphics with the computer. That was the key of everything I’m doing now.
Two years ago I decided to run away from the University and take an opportunity to work in Mexico; since then I’m freelancing.
You have a unique and very impressive vector style to your designs, how did you become so good at this style?
I feel very comfortable doing vector now, but I have to admit that It was never my thought at the beginning. Photoshop was my vice and my favorite software to do everything related with manipulation, retouching and experimenting. I barely used Illustrator but It changed within the time. I wanted to achieve something different, I felt that I was doing nothing special and my ideas were not working together with the graphics.
Let’s say that I like to center my work on characters, faces, portraying, shapes, mess, destruction…and I really like the free-hand drawing tools and the aesthetic look of the lines and strokes that you can manage in Illustrator. It took a lot of hard work, practice and disasters to get to the point where I was satisfied with the outcome.
But It never ends, hours later of finishing something I start to feel not satisfied at all, so it’s a constant fight.
When would you say was your breakthrough moment in your career?
I didn’t have one yet.
However I had good moment a month ago when I was contacted to work for some big company. Unfortunately I can’t say any name yet, but the sensation was like “ok, you’re doing something good here”. And all that time spent learning stuff turns to be essential now. Let’s see in the next months if that project changes my career or not.
Can you give us a brief walk-through of your process? and how long does an average piece take you to complete?
Client work process tends to be very similar.
They come already with an idea (more or less developed) and with some imagery to use as reference; sometimes with some color palette already chosen. I start to visualize the artwork along this back & forth of ideas with the client, and once I have everything very clear I start to work on the composition and the illustration. I don’t use to sketch a lot on paper, I prefer to play with a basic linework in Illustrator. Once the illustration is done, I end the work in Photoshop if I want to include textures or playing with masks.
I like to breath when it’s client work and It takes some days to complete, for a total time of 12-15 hours. It depends also of the artwork’s complexity.
Personal work is a different world.
I can pass in front of the computer hours and hours, I listen a lot of different music, in the meanwhile maybe something calls my attention and the artwork turns to something totally different…It’s a very unique process. However, both (client and personal) are really challenging and I enjoy a lot doing them.
How do you promote your individual pieces when you finish them?
I use different creative and social networks to impulse and promote my work (twitter, facebook, behance, curioos…). It’s incredible how numbers talk in favor of them and how many people can access to visualize your work.
At the same time, there are some occasions where blogs contact to promote your work and that’s clearly a big door to get new viewers and sometimes new clients.
What do you think is the most challenging part of your job?
Clearly, learn to accept that you have to do some stuff that you don’t like at all, because you need to survive, and not fall into despair. Client work It’s a double-edge weapon, you have to simplify every feeling and be as much effective as possible.
But at the end we love challenges, right?
Also strategy. Thinking about promotion, get to the client, be competitive, convincing yourself that you’re part of a business, patience. That other side, learning to enjoy it as well.
How often do you get approached for design work and what type of jobs do you generally get asked for? (web, print, advertisement?)
Not very often, but lately I did some typography treatments, together with print and clothing as well. Also some logotype work, but I don’t use to consider this last one as a priority, I prefer to focus myself on stuff that I feel comfortable creating.
What would you say is your favorite illustration you have done to date, and why?
I don’t have a favorite illustration, seriously!
To me, the viewer is the one that I want to talk about my work.
How do you deal with design blocks? What advice would you give for designers to get past them?
Daily exercise, pushing yourself to be open mind, vivid, creative.
Read, watch movies, listen to music. Don’t stop learning and open your eyes for new stuff everyday because everything changes: ideas, fashion, people; even your preferences tend to change a lot.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In other country, city and creating something totally different. I’m very confident on this, I’d like to install myself in other places…but specially I want to live some years in California, and try some adventure in Asia.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you, do you have any final words for our readers?
To the readers, enjoy what you’re doing. I think is a very important key on this field. Try to make the most of your time and believe in your ideas.
Thank you as well, peace!
Have a look at more of Diego L. Rodríguez work at www.paranoidme.com