Up close and personal- Q&A with illustrator, Diego Blanco

Diego Blanco

Meet illustrator & animator, Diego Blanco.  Diego is a Spanish queer artist and designer based in Valencia, Spain.
Diego’s style focuses on the strategic use of colors to represent his everyday and not so everyday ideas about the world. He is a lover of illustrations with large compositions of many diverse and varied characters where you can get lost but he also works on pieces composed by simple figures, colourful flat shapes and isolated characters that explore the world of icons, logos and small animations.

Learn more about Diego in our Up Close & Personal Q&A bellow.

What are your pronouns?

He/ Him

How do you define your identity? Do you identify with (or advocate for) any marginalized communities?
I identify myself with the LGBTQ community.

Where is home?
Home is in between Tudela and Valencia (Spain).

Describe your style in one sentence
Fun, colorful and curious

What lights your soul on fire?
How the world works. I am an observer of reality, of people and objects. I try to understand both the workings of human emotions and the mechanisms of the objects and structures that surround us.

What themes do you enjoy exploring?
Funny human and animal situations. Architecture. But above all people and more people.

What techniques do you use?
Normally digital illustration, although the first steps are always done with pencil, coloured markers, gouache… I am currently practising more with analogue techniques to create illustrated albums.

How much of yourself and your own story can we see in your work?
Quite a lot, actually. I feed a lot from my personal experiences when I create. It’s true that my feelings tend to interfere more in personal projects than in professional commissions, but there is always something of me.

Is there an unmistakable thread in your creative work?
It is difficult for me to say. Perhaps someone looking at my work from the outside might say the variegated but balanced compositions, the striped jumpers, and the colourfulness and lack of delineation in the shapes.

What do you want to be known for?
I want people to look at my illustrations and smile or laugh. I don’t care so much about my technique as about my ideas.

Which projects excite you most?
Where I am allowed to use my own color palette.

What is your dream gig?
Like many other illustrators I would like to do a cover for The Newyorker, but first I aspire to publish my own illustrated album.

Where, when and how do you best create?
When it comes to coming up with ideas that I can then illustrate, being away from home helps me a lot. Public transport, the train, a park or sometimes the shower itself.

How has your style evolved since you started?
I feel that now I am more methodical in the work I create, also that I have refined the information I give in each illustration and for example I use less and less lines to delimit the shapes. Now I use contrast between colors to define and leave the lines to add details. I am also reconciling myself with the textures that I think they add more depth to the work.

What do you find most challenging in your practice or in the industry?
Get a steady flow of commissions in order to survive.

How as being an illustrator changed your life?
Being an illustrator has always been my dream. The fact that the way I make a living consists of communicating concepts through drawing makes me feel very good. I feel part of the visual system of the world, I know that a well done illustration will be equally understood by a Spanish, Chinese or American person.
I feel that I work with the most powerful language of all!

Name a tool you can’t live without!
Each and every one of my fountain pens. Sorry, I can’t choose one, they are like my children.

Tell us about a project you worked on that was meaningful to you as an artist.
To create an illustration for a metro station in my town.
I feel that now I am more a part of my city than ever.

What influences or inspires your art?
Conversations with my friends, day-to-day situations, other artistic disciplines…

What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell him to be patient and to keep creating. That it will all come together in the near future and that he is doing great.

Why do you think art speaks louder than words?
Because drawing is a universal language and the communicative possibilities of each element used in an illustration can have dozens of interpretations.