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Illustrator Daniel Aubert: ‘sometimes I use dreams as initial ideas’

Daniel Aubert has been following his career as an illustrator since 2014. His main focus is on​ character design and portraits, however, he also likes to work with both 2D and 3D mediums. He joins us to speak about his artistic journey and the inspiration behind his successful 100 Days. 100 Commissions submission.
Tell us more about yourself and your artistic journey.

I am from Maceió, Brazil. I graduated in architecture and urbanism, but I am following a career as an illustrator and 3D artist. I have always loved to draw since I was a child and actually that is what drove me to architecture. But in the middle of the course, I realised there was actually space for illustration, and things shouldn’t be limited to my city. Internet and social media had the power for me to share my work and eventually get a job. Although I always kept drawing and trying to improve as naturally as possible. I didn’t think of it as an obligation, and I guess that was very important for me to keep pushing and learning until today.

Right now I work as a designer/illustrator at the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL), I also do some freelance jobs in illustration and 3D, and I don’t miss architecture at all, haha.

You graduated in Architecture and Urbanism, what drove you in the direction of illustration?

My real passion was always creating figurative art—creating scenes that could take me out of this world even if it was just for one moment—creating characters and caricatures… So I just heard my inner voice, the child inside telling me the truth. And the truth for me is this—drawing, painting and sculpting… The feel of doing these things is amazing, it’s relaxing and therapeutical, and I can make a living out of this. The connected world today has given me the possibility to work from my home in Maceió with someone in another country. Isn’t that amazing?

We love the work you submitted for 100 Days. 100 Commissions. What inspired you to create this piece?

My girlfriend really loves owls, so I wanted to give her another one. I actually promised to give her one thousand owls. I’ve already done around two hundred so there is still plenty to go. But also two other things drove me to do this piece: first I was inspired by Jarom Vogel, and also other artworks that have this flat colours style of layering shapes and then texturing them; and also I wanted to learn more about Affinity Designer because it is an amazing tool for this kind of illustration.

How long did it take to create?

I think around four to six hours of work—it was made within two days of work.

What was your first impression of Affinity Designer?

Finally, a decent software that would take my leashes off from that other vector software that many people use! But then I learned it was even better! With Designer, I can quickly create shapes in vector and jump to pixel persona to texture them. And also the ease of use of the tools and interface—it is really good. If only I could add a feature request here, that would only be for the pencil tool to auto-close the vector shape so you don’t need to manually close it later. There could be a setting to detect when the first and last vertices are close enough so they would merge. But I digress…

What are you passionate about beside your work?

Spending time with people I love, playing video games, watching movies…

What would you say is your strongest skill?

I think being versatile. I used to think this was a problem, that I don’t have a specific style of art. But I think being able to use different styles, working in 2D and 3D opens my mind to new possibilities and opportunities. And it is fun! I never get bored of doing the same things.

How do you come up with new ideas?

I don’t think I have a specific method, but sometimes a song inspires me to work, or maybe a movie. I just don’t let myself block my thoughts in search of a great idea. If something cool pops up, I’ll give it a try. Sometimes I use dreams as initial ideas.

What artwork do you see yourself creating next?

Well, I participated in Inktober—I started late so I had to catch up. But within the Affinity Designer realm, probably some work for my full-time job. I use Designer every day in my work, creating vector illustrations for social media and UFAL’s website, and also to create logos for events and departments within the university. Actually, I must say the software saved me big time, haha. Because my computer went to repair two weeks ago, and I am working fully with Affinity Designer on iPad. It works brilliantly. You can check out some of the work I created with Designer:

Tell me about a project you’ve completed that has made you the proudest.

Each and everyone makes me happy when I finish it. I mean, if I get to the point where I think I did a good job, I am proud of that project. So there isn’t just one that has made me the proudest.

What was the most interesting project that you worked on?

I don’t think I have a most interesting one, but I am really happy and excited about a project for an album cover I am working on right now. I really liked the music from the artist and it’s just amazing to keep listening to the songs, getting inspired and drawing at the same time.

What has been your most challenging project so far and why?

Definitely “O Poeta do Barro Vermelho”. It is an animated short movie, on which I made the entire animation by myself. You can check it out here:

What would you say would be your dream project?

Probably creating a world by myself, like an animation or a graphic novel, where I can really make characters from my head come to life. I have some ideas from dreams that someday may come to the surface. But I think I am already living a part of my dream, I want each next piece to be a part of it. That is what the five-year-old Daniel was dreaming, to work doing drawing.

What was the project that you feel you learned most from?

I think “Fallen” because it made me create different elements in an environment, getting out of my comfort zone of creating just characters. I learned more about nodes setups for textures in Blender, lighting, composition, etc.

You can check out more of Daniel’s work here and on Instagram.

Artist relations

Amy is part of our artist relations team here at Serif. Amy loves going for walks with her little boy and going to the gym, which she offsets by drinking tea and eating biscuits. Get in touch with Amy if you have work you have made in Affinity apps to share with us, she always loves getting great creative work in her inbox, or tag your work with #madeinaffinity in the usual places.

Credits & Footnotes

All images copyright © of Daniel Aubert and used with permission.