Today, we are joined by Nicole Martinez , she is an Illustrator. You can view her portfolio here.
FIRSTLY, I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW. WE’D LIKE TO UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR INTEREST FOR ILLUSTRATION STARTED SHAPING UP. TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT MADE YOU GO THIS ROUTE!
Thank you! It’s my pleasure. I’ve been a doodler as long as I can remember. When I decided to go to school for art direction, I was primarily using Photoshop. At first i didn’t have a pen tablet, so I was pretty limited. Once I discovered the Wacom, things got real. Then I learned the magic of vector art, and it was game on. Illustrator has been my favorite program since. And it’s only gotten cooler and more user friendly since I was in school. Knowing how to draw pen-to-paper is really helpful for knowing how to illustrate digitally. But I believe knowing how to draw can be learned by anyone, so if you aren’t there yet, fret not. These days you can learn to draw on a computer before you learn to use a pencil.
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT HOW YOU LEARNED IT ALL. WHAT CHANGED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS IN TERMS OF EASE OF EXPANDING YOUR SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE?
My favorite way to learn is to know the end goal of what I want to create, and to let go of my pride and know that I don’t know how to do it, yet. For example, “I want to illustrate a turtle swimming in a murky pond with a vintage vibe”. (random example) I usually start by gathering inspiration of what I’d like it to look like and then find tutorials on how to achieve certain facets of the design, or learn by sheer trial and frustration with the program. There’s no one way to do anything with art, and the end usually justifies the means (unless you steal it). So keeping the desire to learn and not being too prideful to seek help from the online world has been huge for allowing me to expand my skill set.
WHAT DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
A tornado. Sometimes a really dense tornado that comes in with major inspiration and tears through a project. And sometimes, it’s a really weak one that take a really long time to rip through shit, but I eventually get there. Don’t let anyone tell you creativity is a linear process. And all these books that help you concept are great, but the best way to get new ideas is to make random connections between things that excite you. Then it’s up to you to execute to your best ability.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS IN TERMS OF GOOD BOOKS, PROGRAMS YOU USE, OR MEDIA CHOICES YOU’RE WILLING TO SHARE WITH US?
As far as design-related sites go: Behance, siteinspire.com, Dribbble, and found are great. But I love looking at fashion and interior design blogs likewww.missmoss.co.za and Design Sponge. When someone has an aesthetic you appreciate, it’s great to see it manifest in different forms like photography and interiors, even food photography. Anything can be art directed. Movies are also a great source of inspiration. I can watch the same Michel Gondry movie over and over and find new ideas that spark my mind each time. I was also really inspired recently by the Beyonce/JayZ concert. I wasn’t expecting the graphic design and visual effects to be so
sophisticated and cinematic. It was my favorite part of the concert.
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE OR OBJECT THAT BOOSTS YOUR INSPIRATION AND HELPS YOUR CREATIVE DRIVE? WHAT IS IT LIKE AND WHY DOES IT HAVE THIS EFFECT ON YOU?
Coffee is my object, and the place varies depending on my mood and the weather. But I’m Cuban so coffee is essential. Cuban coffee always makes me put my game face on. Music is also huge. If i’m working on a particularly moody brand I try to find music that matches that mood. The Velvet Underground is great when you’re working on something with a delicate color palette and fine typography for example.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE HOW A PRODUCTIVE DAY WOULD LOOK LIKE FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW? WHICH ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT HOURS FOR YOU?
I’m nocturnal, but I work within the conventions of corporate society. So I wake up early and start working in the morning. But I get really good at like, 3pm, and I can keep moving until really late. Makes for a tough morning though. I’m Grendel in the morning.
WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON TODAY’S EVER GROWING OPPORTUNITIES ENABLING ARTISTS TO TAKE ON REMOTE DESIGN WORK?
It’s so great. My fiance works remotely as a developer for a web hosting company and he wakes up, signs in, and gets to work. It’s a sweet life for someone who doesn’t mind not seeing people all day. The flip side is not being around people. He’s on skype all day video conferencing, but sometimes a walk to get coffee with a fellow creative can lead to a great idea. You can’t vibe off people as easily via the virtual world. I’m more of an in-person person.
WHAT WOULD YOU PREFER: A STEADY, WELL PAYING JOB IN A LOCAL AGENCY, OR THE FREEDOM AND OFTEN STRESSFUL LIFE OF A FREELANCER? WHY?
Well i’ve done both, and they both have their pros and cons. One gives you the freedom and the autonomy that a contract life provides, but the bi-weekly paycheck is a beautiful trap. Not having little mouths to feed keeps some of the stress off of being a contract-by-contract worker. Job security is one of those things that you don’t need when you have the confidence to survive on your own. But once other people’s lives are in your hands, a steady paycheck is key. Being able to work from any wifi-providing coffee shop in any part of the world allows you to travel and be productive, which is the most kickass part of being an off-site freelancer.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE “THE IDEAL PROJECT”? DID YOU HAVE ANY RECENT OPPORTUNITIES TO COME CLOSE TO THIS?
The ideal project, if it were for a client, would have to be for the ideal client. An entity that’s adventurous, and isn’t afraid to be weird and different, and trusts you. It doesn’t have to be a sexy brand necessarily. You can create amazing work for the dullest of products. Sometimes those are even better. Otherwise, the ideal project is a personal project that allows you do your thing, and let your creative freak flag fly. In either case, it has to be inspired and inspiring.