It is difficult not to smile when talking with illustrator Antonio Uve, because he is super friendly, gratifying and was always checking that we were ok and having a good breakfast in Verbena, a bar that he recommended to us in Madrid which was very nice.
We went to see Antonio’s work in Madrid, but now he will already be living in Amsterdam, where he was about to move when we saw him, to dedicate himself exclusively to what he really likes, illustration. His drawings must be analysed, as they express many things.
He is now involved with Atelier des Jeunes, where he has a sale of a several of his illustrations that you see here
and is also participating in the design of a t-shirt collection organised by Atelier des Jeunes.
Antonio conveys to us his enthusiasm for doing what you love and conveys many things through his drawings, you have to experience them to see what it is that is expressed through them.
We leave you with Antonio’s interview!
Antonio, we like your illustrations and want to know more things about you and your work! You combine your work as a director of art in a public agency and your personal work in illustration.?
I often say that I am a director of art by day and an illustrator by night. Nowadays, I dedicate more time to illustration than art direction, but there are stages in which it is difficult to combine the two things. Although, well, its all organised. The truth is I love illustration because it relaxes me and it makes me happy, I always try to make time to do it.
What is the process that you make the illustrations, design by hand, and later work on the computer or work directly on the computer?
I always start drawing by hand and while I do, I come up with ideas that allow me to make a first draft. After I sit in front of the computer and search for reference images, colours, compositions… and when I believe I have everything well assimilated, I can work on the illustration.
What would you not do now that you did when you started?
Although it is something that I have been doing almost since I was a boy, I think I am still beginning. It’s the only thing that has changed in my mind is that now I think about illustration more as a profession, than a hobby.
Could you have imagined this 10 years ago?
No, definitely not. 10 years ago I was starting advertising and public relations and I did not know where to focus my professional life. I suppose I knew to choose things that I like more and that is why I am doing what I am doing now.
Who do you design for? Do you imagine the final client?
I try to design for me, although I always have the client in my mind because, more or less, you can make an idea that they will like or not. Normally I give a lot of thought to my works and that is why I believe that I am very self critical. The truth is I am the worst client.
How has the internet changed the world of illustration?
The internet is a source of inspiration, thanks to the internet we are bombarded with images everyday that in one form or another influence us, and all these influences are seen in each illustration.
How does this benefit your work?
It is a great platform when you need to become known, because if you aren’t online you don’t exist. I started uploading my illustrations to Instagram, without much thought, it amused me and it suddenly without awareness, I was self-promoting.
Now through Atelier des Jeunes other opportunities arise, with the work that they have.
What do you think makes an illustration successful?
I wish I knew. I believe the important thing is to do things with care and dedication. You have to have fun with what you do and enjoy each one of your works, so if you don’t achieve the success you expected, at least you had a good time making them.
Which illustration has been your greatest success?
A couple of years ago, I made an illustration of a verse of a song, “La cara noroeste” by McEnroe which said: “it’s a strange way to live to be thinking always of you” I put it on my Tumblr and today, it has more than 6000 comments and continues being shared, they have even written to ask me if it was on sale.
How much time does it take to create an illustration?
There have been illustrations that have taken me weeks or months and others that I finished in one day. I like to take my time and to make things calmly with care, although its always dependant on the time you have been given to finish, and the mood you are in.
How do your ideas come up? What are your sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are my friends, my family, the city that I live in, music, Instagram, my travels, my neighbours, conversations I hear at the gym… I have a younger sister who is 12 years old and she inspires me a lot, her way of seeing the world amuses me and I try to learn from her, in fact I like to share what I do with her, she is always the most sincere: if she doesn’t like it she tells me point-blank.
TWhat are your favourite webs and journals?
My favourite webs are:
Can you make a living from your illustrations?
It is very difficult, particularly in Spain. I have the feeling that this profession is not valued much, even though we are supposed to be living in a time when creativity/handmade goods are becoming more appreciated. However, there are many clients that ask you for drawings as if they were easily done in half an hour. Even so, I think it is possible to make a living from this, but it is necessary to stay active and to know how to do active searches. I hope to earn money from illustration someday, but right now I am just trying to survive.
Which would be your ideal project?
Any project where the client gives me total freedom for doing whatever I want, without suggestions, external opinions, doubts, final changes,…
Tell us about your regular day at work.
I have a coffee while I’m surfing some design, advertising and illustration blogs and listening to the radio. Later on, I start working on a drawing and when it is almost finished, I let it stand for a while. I try to clear my ideas up, go for a walk, and having switched off, I open the file again, continue with it in order to finish it, change some things, add details.. The best of all is that my working days are hardly ever the same.
Which have been the best and worst aspects of your professional life?
The toughest aspect is organising my timetable by myself and what I like the most is the fact that my work is more like a hobby from which I am starting to make a living.
What is your dream for the future?
Being able to professionally dedicate to illustration completely. I would love to have a nice co-working space where I could go everyday, working by sharing my job with my lifelong friends with whom I share the way of living.
Any advice for someone who has just started?
In fact I am stating as well and besides, I am not very good at giving advice. However, I will say that believing in someone’s work and standing up for oneself make things go smoothly.
Antonio will tell us about how is everything going in Amsterdam, but for now, he is already part of our mood board….