Shortly after, he took a vector design course to learn how to create digitally, and now most of his illustrations are made in Affinity Designer on his desktop and iPad.
Not surprisingly, Eduard’s main inspiration is travel, and when his vibrant illustrations caught our attention on Instagram, he was kind enough to tell us more.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an illustrator?
As a child and teenager I was always drawing: I drew anything that popped up in my mind. I made up stories for my own comics and participated in colouring competitions for kids. Back then, I dreamed of a future as a professional illustrator. By the time I needed to make a choice about what further education to choose, however, I decided to take a different path and opted for tourism.
After my studies I started working in the travel industry. I have always enjoyed working there, but when I turned about 40, I realised that I was missing something in my life and career: creativity. In the family home, my old sketchbooks and comics that my mother had carefully preserved resurfaced, and I remembered how much fun it was to draw. You could say that after an absence of over 20 years, I started drawing, painting and designing again. I bought art supplies and kind of picked up where I left off. I also took a vector design course, and now I’m mostly focused on digital illustration. I also learned a lot from tutorials that I found on the internet.
“I love the process of creating something from nothing, making an idea come to life.”
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the process of creating something from nothing, making an idea come to life. In your imagination, everything is possible. Drawing takes you to places you have good memories of, or it can even bring you to places in the world you have never been before. That is what I like most about creating illustrations: you get to travel anywhere you want (in your mind).
How would you describe your style?
My current work has a graphic style with a minimalist approach, but style is something that keeps evolving as we move forward, I guess.
It’s clear that you love travelling and that it inspires your work. When did your passion for travel first begin?
I was always interested in different countries, cultures and wildlife for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would always pick books about these topics in the library and study atlases and maps. And as soon as I had the opportunity, I went traveling with my backpack.
When you start a new illustration, what is your usual process?
I usually start with sketching on paper or in the Pixel Persona. Other times I start directly in the Designer Persona by creating very basic shapes based on an idea that I have in mind. I move these shapes around to find a composition that I like, and then I refine them. Colour composition is the next step. Then I start working on light and shadow. For some finishing touches, I switch over to the Pixel Persona. But I like to add vector details too, like some crayon brush outlines to create the illusion of fur on an animal, for example.
During the process, I like to switch between working with a drawing tablet and working with the mouse on my desktop.
How did you first hear about Affinity, and what inspired you to give Affinity Designer a try?
I think I read about it in a forum, if I remember correctly. What inspired me to give Affinity Designer a try? The ability that Affinity Designer offers to switch between the Designer and Pixel Persona and also the price, to be honest. I was looking for something other than a subscription where a monthly or yearly payment is needed. And I’m happy with Affinity Designer. It does everything I need.
What are your thoughts about it? Do you have any favourite features?
It’s the only design program I currently use. So you could say I’m excited by it. I love the fact that you can easily switch between the Designer and Pixel Persona. Obviously, I use the Pen Tool and the Vector Brush Tool the most. Also, during the process I tend to change colours, so I like using the ‘Select Same Fill or Stroke Colour’ tool a lot which saves time. Working with this program has become a very intuitive thing.
“…during the process I tend to change colours, so I like using the ‘Select Same Fill or Stroke Colour’ tool a lot which saves time. Working with this program has become a very intuitive thing.”
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?
I am working on some illustrations about African wildlife for my online shop. But there are many sketches of other ideas waiting to be finished too. Until now, I have mainly focused on wall art, but I can imagine that I will broaden my horizons at some point and open up for commissioned work too.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an artist? And how have you overcome them?
Insecurity. I’m getting much better though. As a child I could be quite shy. I grew out of this in my adult life, but it occasionally resurfaces. I’m still a bit hesitant sometimes to show my work, especially on social media.
There is a lot of time and dedication behind illustrating. It’s like it’s a part of you. My work is not based on years of study at an art school or anything, so I sometimes wonder if it’s any good. I got over this by just taking a leap. At the beginning of last year I decided to start an online shop with art prints and posters. The fact that people like them and actually purchase my prints to hang in their homes is a huge compliment and very supportive. It’s helped me to overcome my insecurities.
“The fact that people like them and actually purchase my prints to hang in their homes is a huge compliment and very supportive. It’s helped me to overcome my insecurities. ”
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
I recently turned 50… and now I’m doing something that I envisioned myself doing when I was a kid. Even if it’s still small; it’s a full circle moment. I also have a part-time job (I no longer work in the travel industry), so it’s a lot of time management. But I am happy doing it. It’s nice that my love for travel and illustration are now coming together in my work.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?
It’s probably the things I tell myself from time to time. It might sound cliche, but it works for me, so who knows might work for others too: Follow your heart. Try doing what you like most. Don’t give up. Practice, keep learning. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make a plan. Be confident and take a leap.