We chatted to him about his creative background, how he developed his style and what he likes most about working in Affinity Designer.
Duarte, tell us a bit about yourself and your creative background?
I grew up in Sintra, Portugal, which is known for its monuments and landscapes. I think being surrounded by so many beautiful things shaped my character. Studying graphic design and visual arts was a natural consequence of a long-standing interest in images and books.
“I always knew I was going to be involved in drawing. It’s an activity I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.”
Did you always know you wanted to be a graphic designer/ illustrator?
I always knew I was going to be involved in drawing. It’s an activity I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. I started by studying graphic design and then fine arts. When it was time to find a job, I chose graphic design after becoming a little tired of the hermetic language of fine arts.
What inspires your work?
I can’t answer this question very clearly, because even I don’t know the answer. I have so many different interests that my ideas seem like a cocktail of them all!
You have quite a distinct style. How did you develop it, and what advice would you give budding designers trying to develop theirs?
When I started, my style was more realistic/naturalistic. Over the years, it became more synthetic. I think it’s due to the fact that I’m a graphic designer professionally and spend too much time looking at monitors :) My advice is to draw a lot, whenever possible, every day.
“My advice is to draw a lot, whenever possible, every day.”
We love your use of colour. How do you choose colour palettes for your designs?
I try to avoid a naturalistic style and dedicate more and more of my time to researching alternative chromatic environments and trying to adapt the colors according to the theme and audience. If the audience is children, for example, I use a different palette from editorial illustration.
Talk us through your creative process; how do you develop your ideas into final illustrations?
I always start on paper—I really like to scratch. I need that pencil rhythm to help me come up with my initial ideas. After a first sketch on paper I make another one in Procreate, which is cleaner and more detailed. To finalise, I use Affinity Designer.
When did you start using Affinity Designer, and what are your thoughts on it? Do you have any favourite features?
I think it was at the very beginning of Affinity Designer’s appearance on the market. I tried the beta versions and liked it, so when the first commercial version appeared, I acquired it. I like the possibility of jumping between the Designer Persona and Pixel Persona; it makes work more fluid without wasting time opening and closing software.
“I like the possibility of jumping between the Designer Persona and Pixel Persona; it makes work more fluid without wasting time opening and closing software.”
Which artists do you most admire?
Picasso. I know it’s not a very original answer, but I admire his ability to work with styles that are so different from each other but that together work as a whole. I also admire the work of Sebastião Rodrigues, a Portuguese designer from the 1960’s who created wonderful graphic works full of expressiveness.
Is there an illustration or project you’re particularly proud of that you created? Could you tell us about it?
I’m proud of my first book. It was the winner in the illustration category of the 7th edition of the “Pingo Doce children’s literature prize competition”, which is an important competition in Portugal. All the illustrations were made in Affinity Designer and Photo. It also served me to develop my skills in these softwares.
Are there any dream projects you would like to work on in the future?
I would like to publish more books and maybe one day be on the cover of the New Yorker :)