Based is São Paulo, Brazil, Mariana Coan has been working as a professional illustrator for over 4 years now. All that started when she sold her first illustration to Capricho, a magazine very popular among Brazilian teenagers.
I wish I could tell that I was one of those kids who draw since kindergarten, but things were different for me. Of course I’ve always liked to draw, but, born on a really small town on the outskirts of Brazil, I could not imagine I could make a living out of it. So, in college I’ve studied Publishing. At first I thought I was going to spend the rest of my days editing text and copywriting books. But after some years doing that I was really fed up with publishing, and I tried to make some illustrations just for pleasure. Sometime later a friend of mine saw the images and told me they were worth something, and that I should show them to some designers and art directors. So I did. But it was only one year later that I got my first commissioned illustration; I had to wait some time to get things going for me. Since I have started illustrating, though, it became more than a merely job. I can truly say it is the best thing that happened to me, I love what I do! :D
I don’t think I have a particular style, but I can say I like collage and drawing the most. On the last couple of years I started paper crafting, and soon I became more and more in love with that. If I had to define my style, I would say I like mixing techniques, mediums and everything else.
My inspiration and goal is discovering something new in every project – I mean, learning how to do something differently, even if it’s something really tiny. And, of course, there are a bunch of people I admire out there, and they inspire me also. Just to name a few: Fabiano Silva, Robert Weaver, Andy Potts, Benja Harney, Robert Sabuda, Pieatari Posti, and few more.
As a personal thought – even though it’s more universal than personal hehehe: do what you love, and love what you do! :D
I’m so full of praise for the Latin American art and design that I wish to go there and actually spend some time. I admire it not because I like it or have built a taste for it over the time but because it is genuinely inspiring, mature and unique. It has its own flavour, whether it is typography, illustration or graphic design, I always came across something stunning from that part of the world.
Dado Queiroz’s work is a statement of brilliance in terms of its style, identity and potential. Born in Curitba (Brazil) in 1980, he currently works at DDB in São Paulo.
So, let’s talk about you. How it all started?
I studied ‘Architecture and Urban Planning’ for one and a half year, until I drop it to start doing freelance illustration projects. It didn’t work out quite so well, so I started studying Graphic Design in 2000, finishing in 2003.
After that I started a small solo studio with only me and occasionally my wife at that time (I got married in 2004). Then the studio got a little bigger, when I invited my good friends Anderson Maschio and Beto Janz to be partners. It was called ‘estudiocrop’. Later on, Renan Molin joined too, still as an intern, and became a good friend of all of us.
In the end of 2006 Renan had to focus on his graphic design course’s final project, Beto had some issues with his personal life and so did I, as I got divorced, so it seemed like we should take some time off. A time from which we never got back, as we decided to end the studio. Each one of us took a separate path: I ended up coming to DDB Brazil, from where I was laid off about one year later. Me and Renan then tried to get estudiocrop back together, but it didn’t work out as we expected. So a few more months down the road I came back to São Paulo and rejoined DDB once more.
What keeps you going?
What keeps me going on in my personal life are the good times, the laughter, some Seinfeld episodes, good beer, greasy food, learning how to play the guitar, music, travelling and stuff like that. Professionally, it is almost an addiction to that feeling you get when you finish a piece that you think is good. This and some nice people you get to know along the way, the evolution of the work, the expressiveness that any graphic piece can carry, the money (yes, the money, why not?) and, more recently, a new pleasure giving lectures and conducting workshops.
Your unique style – how it evolved to what it is now?
I wouldn’t call it unique, although I tend to get feedback from people talking about ‘my personal style’. I guess it came along when I started focusing more and more on what I like to do when designing something or making an image, and not so much on what people expect or what is trendy or strategically correct right now. I figured, since I’m going to spend some 75% of my waking hours working or doing work related stuff, I might as well do what I like. After all, it’s my life going down the drain and I don’t want to spend it feeling frustrated or angry or whatever.
So, as it turns out, I like to draw letters, to try expressive compositions and to shade stuff a lot. So this ‘style’ is really just a natural development of what I like to do. There were no big plans to build a style. Or, rather, a ‘personal’ style just started to surface when I stopped caring about having a personal style – which to me makes perfect sense. If it’s your style, it’s something natural… it’s not something you can force to happen, right?
In technical terms, at this time, it is all basically Photoshop and my Intuos3 tablet. From sketch to finish it all happens there, including the vectors, that I started doing directly on Photoshop (but of course I still use Illustrator for all vector or for more complex vector work). And I say ‘at this time’ because the techniques I develop usually evolve from time to time, not really to get better or more efficient, but much more to avoid getting so damn tedious to do the same thing over and over.
Sort of a cliché question – what’s the source of your inspirations?
My inspirations are 95% out of the realm of design or illustration. And again, it’s not a noble pursuit like ‘I just want outside references and blahblahblah’. It’s much more because I find it a bit boring to see the same design/illustration pieces over and over on the internet or books, all very well done, but basically all the same. You see 300 images that are essentially the same, just done by different people for different purposes. I find it very boring. And not only that, I find it harmful to my own work, since it can influence me rather than just inspire. What I usually like to see is architecture, furniture, product design, photography, microscopic and other botanic/organic related photography (great for forms and natural patterns) and some type related imagery.