Digital Illustration | Genie Espinosa
last updated 04 May 2020
Bright Artist Genie Espinosa creates colourful, bold artwork for digital, editorial, branding and animation projects. Her recent clients include It’s Nice That, Fold Magazine by Moleskine and Digital Arts Magazine.
We caught up with her to ask her about her creative process and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about some of your recent projects
I have some projects in progress with Helen (my agent) that are confidential so I cant talk about them yet (but hopefully we’ll be able to show them soon!), so the ones I want to talk about are the following! Recently I’ve done some illustrations for I HEART COMIX mailing list. The topics have been super fun and different, also they gave me full space for creativity so that makes the experience even better. I got to do an illustration about TIGER KING, the super crazy documentary from NETFLIX which I recommend (it is crazy for the good and the bad stuff)
On a more personal matter I’ve been working on a comic that will be printed in risography by Jumbo Press, its the first time I’m approaching a project by hand and then scanning the work in. I’ve had so much fun working on every panel individually. Can’t wait to see the result!
Another project was a live painting I did for International Women’s Day; it went to a charity and I am always happy to help the people who need it. I had to paint this big canvas with a powerful woman whilst people walked by and danced to the music of the DJ that was playing live. They will print some totes and give 100% of the money to a non profit organisation that help women in exclusion risk, so I can’t be happier!
How do you go about approaching an illustration brief?
It usually takes me a day or two to come up with the concept I want to work on, I always read the brief several times, usually I start to picture images in my head while reading and then work on very loose roughs whilst I’m reading. I sometimes write some names or ideas I think could work with the concept. I’d rather start with 2-3 ideas to send to the client so they can pick one for me to work up, for me it’s very important that we are able to communicate well and we’re are on the same team, this avoids unnecessary amends and changes which keeps the illustration energetic and spontaneous.
Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?
I would say my work comes from almost everything I experience and parts of my personality are scattered everywhere, I draw how I feel at that moment. In terms of composition and concepts I’ve been a graphic designer for more than 10 years and it’s something I naturally look for, so any poster, font, composition, colour palette I find that I like I just stock it in my inspiration folder. I love that I can find inspiration from a variety of things and these all influence my work…comics, music, cinema, sculpture, feelings, colours, nature, furniture – it helps me to focus on a variety of themes and keeps my work interesting.
What are your favourite themes/subjects to explore in your work?
I am very interested in the relationship between technology and human relationships. I’ve been developing a series of illustrations exploring emotions and social media like Instagram. For example, how many feelings are involved seeing those two little blue ticks on WhatsApp. As it’s a personal project, I have total freedom in terms of shapes and colours, and it allows me to let steam off in terms of anxiety. (I’m a super anxious person ha ha!!)
How do you approach animating your illustrations? How did you start animating?
It was something I was curious to try, I just can’t stop working! I’ve got my iPad and Procreate has this super easy animation assistant, and one of my favourite things in that area is Rubber Hose animation, so I thought I could give it a try. I am experimenting but it’s super fun so I’ll keep doing it!
What’s your dream client to work with?
Oh! HELEN KNOWS! Hahahaha! She’s so good to me, I am super happy we teamed up together. I won’t say the names because I want all my projects to surprise me BUT seeing my work in a big screen or in a clothing line, or decorating the outer part of a shop would be a dream!
What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Oh! Keep working, don’t be discouraged! Do your own thing, investigate! Work from your point of view, it’s the thing that you have that nobody else does! Always try to keep your own way of looking at stuff and communicate it!
Can you tell us what to expect next from you?
I am speaking at PICTOPLASMA FESTIVAL BERLIN which is in August this year. I’ll be working on a comic with the amazing people of COLORAMA PRESS this summer too. During the quarantine, I’ll also be live on Instagram with a couple of different studios, and also I was online on April 29th with the lovely people from the AOI as part of Spotlight On Series.
As an artist, why is it important to have a creative community around you?
Being part of a community has been one of the best things that has happened to me as an illustrator, having many friends who are also awesome professionals help me push myself and pass the highs and lows on my career. The things you take from being part of such a wonderful surroundings are amazing, you get support, inspiration for fresh ideas and a different view point that makes you think a lot about your job. I am truly fortunate to being able to call many of my favourite artists my friends.
You can see more of Genies’s work in her portfolio.
Follow Genie on Instagram: @geniespinosa