A Q+A with our new thank you card illustrator, Claudia Curto.

We discuss design processes, influences and inspiration with the Spanish illustrator whose work will soon accompany each Yaccomaricard London order.

Please tell us about your background and what led you to illustration.

I am a graphic designer and freelance illustrator from Spain and now based in North London. Back in Barcelona, when studying for a Design degree, most of the lessons were focused on helping designers illustrate their ideas, so drawing became part of my creative process very early on. Even though I've always doodled in notebooks as a kid, meeting one of my favourite illustrators, Flavita Banana, inspired me to start an illustration career. She taught me how to inhibit my drawing and focus on creating a message and a concept that really talks to people rather than creating artwork that the audience might find beautiful. 
When the pandemic started in 2020, I found relief and comfort in digital illustration, which I have tried to incorporate into my graphic designer roles.

What are your influences and inspirations?

As an art student, I was always interested in the classics. I tried to take details with me, like Monet's colour usage, the dynamism of Joaquin Sorolla, or the strong concept behind Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, or Pollock's work. However, my main inspiration came from social media. As printed artwork was decreasing, many emerging artists from the Spanish comic scene had to get creative and explore new supports and channels to engage with their audience. That's how I discovered artists like Moderna de Pueblo, Flavita Banana, Marina Capdevila, Laura Alejo and Gazpacho Agridulce. However, after moving to the UK, I found many amazing illustrators like Jemima Ruby.
What do you love about illustration? What's not to love about illustration?

I vividly remember the constant need to bring coloured pencils and paper everywhere as a kid. I strongly needed to recreate my own version of the world around me. And I still carry that need of expression with me. Illustration is such a passion of mine because I use it to communicate with myself without words and reach emotions that might feel confusing in the hustle of the daily routine.


What is your creative process?

My creative process always starts with an analysis of my surroundings and elements that call my attention for any reason. From there, I create a story to help define the little universe in the illustration. I like the composition to be neat and steady, so it brings a sense of security to users; I want to create a safe space for them that makes them want to stay in that fictional universe and try to appreciate details. That's why creating a composition I'm happy with is my first and most crucial step in the creative process. After composition, I attach a lot of importance to colour. Some colour combinations can evoke certain emotions in users, so I make sure that the colour is cohesive and supports the composition. From there, I use digital illustration as if I were working with pottery: building shapes and defining them.
What tools do you use?

I've grown to be a big fan of digital illustration. Over the last five years, and in my graphic design experience, my most used tools are Adobe software such as Illustrator and Photoshop.
Procreate is the tool that best matches my hand-drawing style, so I'm also trying to expand on that software. However, nothing beats pen and paper for crafting an illustration idea.

How did you design the Yaccomaricard card? What was the thought process behind the image?

I was clear from the start of the project that I wanted to focus on the texture and feel of the garments. Yaccomaricard draws inspiration from elements of nature, so there was plenty of room to explore that. I wanted to bring that hand-drawn effect to the illustration, to place an emphasis on the delicacy and softness of Yaccomaricard pieces. The main concept was to bring these elements of nature into a peaceful atmosphere that framed the feeling of comfort of wearing high-quality clothing.

What is coming up for you in the future?

I've recently started a new position as a Graphic Designer. I'm willing to take on this new challenge with energy and to bring illustration to every new project.

I want to explore new creative ways and I hope to never stop learning new skills and methodologies. I'm keen to keep exploring my own illustrative work, to see what my style looks like as I gain more and more experience.
Where can we explore your work further?

I am creating a social media page to showcase all my upcoming projects and commissions as a freelance illustrator. You can find me on Instagram at @ilustraclau_10.

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