Artist Spotlight with Helena Perez Garcia

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you're not creating, what was your journey like into the world of design and illustration?

I studied Fine Arts and a Master in Design and illustration in Spain. I’ve always loved drawing so, for me, studying Fine Arts was something natural. When I'm not working I spend my time reading, going to exhibitions, watching films, travelling, going swimming

When did you first figure out that you want to be a designer and illustrator?

I loved art and drawing since I was a child so, for me, studying Fine Arts was something natural. I decided to be a designer because I wanted to work in the creative industry and to me graphic design seemed the best choice. It was later on that I decided to be an illustrator too. For me illustrating means having more freedom and creating more personal work as it's much closer to art that graphic design. It's also a way for expressing myself.

What are your main inspirations, what influences your work?

As an illustrator I’m influenced by art, literature, cinema… Since my trip to Rome a few months ago I've been very influenced by Italian art, specially Pre-Renaissance and Renaissance art. I also admire artists like Magritte and Boticelli, filmmakers like Jean Cocteau and writers like Virginia Woolf and Albert Camus.

We really love this image below, please talk us through your creative process?

I usually get ideas for my personal work while reading. I didn’t get the idea for this illustration from any book in particular, but I remember the idea came after reading and thinking about the self and how personality is formed. I forgot about this for a while and then I was suddenly struck by the idea for the illustration when I was in the tube and I did a very quick sketch on my pocket notebook.

What does the future hold for you? Do you have any goals you’ve set yourself for the year?

I'll be participating in some shows and working on personal projects. I also planned to dedicate some time to self promotion. Internet is great for that but nowadays it's important to use other media too.

What advice would you give to the younger you? Is there anything you would have done differently on your journey?

I think I discovered illustration very late, at the end of my University degree. I always loved drawing but I didn’t really know I could make a living out of it. So I would say to a younger me that I could focus on that. That way I would have started working and finding a personal style earlier.

Breaking into the industry can be difficult, what advice would you give to emerging artists?

Create a strong portfolio, build a professional website to showcase your work and contact the right clients where your style and work would fit. Be patient because making a living out of illustration is a long run. And work hard of course!

Why do you think making a career out of your creative passion is so important? 

We spend very long hours of our lives working, so for me it's essential to work on something I love. I’m at the very beginning of my career but I hope I could dedicate the rest of my life to something I’m passionate about.

What obstacles and hurdles have you encountered on your creative journey? How did you overcome them?

At the beginning it's very hard to get comissions. The only thing one can do is being patient, working hard to evolve and creating better work and investing time and effort in self promotion. And never give up!

You once lived in Spain, published books in France and now living in England. How does living in various different countries affect your journey as an illustrator and designer?

Living abroad has been a very enriching experience for me and it makes me grow both personally and professionally. It's great to get to now people from around the world and travelling really broadens the mind.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

I would be in Cadiz (in the south of Spain) sunbathing at the beach, swimming in the sea, eating delicious food and admiring the breathtaking sunsets. The city is so beautiful at this time of the year! I’ll be there in a week for my holiday and I can’t wait!

Mathieu Ajan