We enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Natália about her work and how she got to where she is today.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative background?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing since I was very young. I’d create colourful characters, often anthropomorphic animals, together with a story or just a context for them. When I was twelve, I realised I wanted to do something related to animation. I was obsessed with a 3D cartoon called Action Man, the story and the graphics captivated me, and I wanted to learn how to do something like that.
How did you get to where you are now?
I feel like I’m narrowing down my work each time to more of what I like doing. I graduated in Graphic Design and started working as a 3D generalist in an animation studio because it was what I wanted to learn at that time. Then I left and began pursuing a freelancer career in the 2D animation industry because I found out I preferred the process and the aesthetics of 2D more and the flexibility of working from anywhere. Today most of my clients keep being animation studios. I’m expanding it to editorial and children’s books publishers, as well, because I see different ways of experimenting with illustration styles.
What inspires your work?
Mainly the feeling that I’m moving forward. Everything that gets my attention can be the next subject of an illustration. It can be a trip, a situation, a person… and it’s usually combined with a goal, something that I’d like to accomplish with it. It can be simply using a new pack of textures, exaggerating character proportions or perspective, drawing an appealing composition, etc.
“Everything that gets my attention can be the next subject of an illustration. It can be a trip, a situation, a person… and it’s usually combined with a goal, something that I’d like to accomplish with it.”
Could you talk us through your creative process? How do you turn ideas into finished works?
If it’s for a client’s project, after discussing the briefing with them, I’ll research visual references to get some inspiration. They’re usually photographs and illustrations. Having my mind filled with all the material, now I start sketching very rough sketches. I try to create a nice composition by arranging the main elements on the canvas. Then I clean up the options I like the most, adding colours and some secondary elements. Depending on the project, there is a round of feedback at this stage or after I deliver the final illustration.
The next step is to vectorize. When I have everything in vector, I’ll work on the shapes, palette, light, shadow, and texture (if applicable), all at the same time, trying to make the composition appealing to my eyes. And when both client and I are satisfied, or it’s enough for the project, then it’s finished.
How did you first hear about Affinity, and what inspired you to give Affinity Designer a try?
I bought an iPad Pro and installed all the illustration apps I wanted to try. I probably did some research on which ones to test. Or, I saw someone that I follow on social media recommending Affinity. But I found Affinity Designer to be the most sophisticated vector app to use on iPad, and I love using it. It has a good number of features nicely arranged on the interface.
“I found Affinity Designer to be the most sophisticated vector app to use on iPad, and I love using it.”
What do you like most about working with the iPad version?
I like how easy it is to modify multiple cloned objects by making changes in only one of them. Or that you can still move a joint of an object while having the corner tool applied to it, and its shape will adapt around. Also, having vector and pixel personas combined in one program makes your workflow smoother.
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?
Currently, I’m working on filling my sketchbook with parts of the human body. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn on paper, so I’m having some fun. A few months ago, I bought an anatomy course to improve my drawing, and now I can finally start it.
Is there a favourite project that stands out that you most enjoyed working on?
There is a project I participated in this year with an incredible team in which I was responsible for designing the characters for a big series of videos. I needed to draw hundreds of characters of different ages, professions, ethnicities and body shapes. And we had to figure out a workflow that made the process smoother and clear for everyone in the team. It was a challenging and exciting experience for me.
If you could have your work published anywhere, where would it be?
I guess I never thought about it, but I’m glad when I get asked to be featured online or invited to go to an event. I try to participate and show my work in these cases. I think it’s valid whenever there are people interested in seeing what you do.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
One of my other passions is playing tennis. I can say that I’m very competitive on the tennis court!
Lastly, what would be your advice for would-be illustrators?
For me, when you’re enjoying the process and focusing on how/what you like drawing the most, it pays out. Personal projects are good opportunities for experimenting and attracting the clients you want. When working with clients, solo or as part of a team, it’s nice to be organised and adapt depending on the project needs.
“For me, when you’re enjoying the process and focusing on how/what you like drawing the most, it pays out.”