Illustrator and designer Lia Tafolla creates simple and effective line drawings inspired by the world around her. Working as a freelance designer in Austin, Texas, Lia has recently shared with us some of her insider tips – including how she learned to spend less time in classes and more time in the studio.
Be sure to head over to Lia’s shop to support and check out her work.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]”I realized that I didn’t need such a formal education to be successful in my profession.”[/tweet_box]
I realized that I didn’t need such a formal education to be successful in my profession. I stopped taking classes and filled my time focusing on my freelance work and learning from experience in the world around me instead of in a classroom or lecture hall. Not going to school also gave me more time and money to develop my brand. I’ve been making so much art to include in my portfolio, I’ve been able to create a website for myself, and now I’m in the process of creating my own apparel company!
On her medium:
Linework has just always been my thing. I was never driven towards realism (though I definitely tried) -- they would always end up including some sort of line work. Pen started out as my goto medium; I always had a pack of Prismacolor black ink felt tip pens on me at all times. I actually still carry them around. They’re very good pens. In high school, I would draw small watercolor illustrations with very detailed ink outlines.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]”Stress your creativity to make something out of nothing.”[/tweet_box]
On advice for other designers:
Stress your creativity to make something out of nothing. I wish someone told me back in high school that creativity and skill were entirely separate things. That drawing something isn’t always creating something. Someone may have the mad skill level to paint or draw a spitting image of some celebrity, but can’t for the life of them create something from their imagination. I always thought back then that it was skill that made an artist great, and it was so discouraging. It came to the point where it was almost exhausting to make any new designs, cause I didn’t feel like I could even compare to my classmates. But now I know that its a good thing to not be comparable to anyone else.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]”Come rain or shine, sick or well, make art, make art, make art!”[/tweet_box]
On the 100 Day Challenge:
The best exercise I did to build my portfolio was the 100 day challenge. Rules are: you’ve got to do one piece of work every day, all of which has to have been thought up and created within those 24 hours. Just start off with day one: bust out a design every day no matter what. Come rain or shine, sick or well, make art, make art, make art! Other good portfolio builders would be to do contests! Redbubble always has fun challenges to their artists.
On the rules:
I do follow principals within my designs for logos, such as: contrast, balance, and harmony. But thats a given for work like that. It’s not like I am consciously thinking about all the principals while designing, it just happens. Like stopping at a red light, you don’t have to think about it. I’m sure everyone knows red means stop, right?
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]”People inspire me. And I know that is the most generic way to say it, but it is as basic as that.”[/tweet_box]
People inspire me. And I know that is the most generic way to say it, but it is as basic as that. I’m an observer. I get fascinated easily. I notice the little details in someones face or a slight sense of their being and I get inspired. Sometimes, I won’t even be able to pinpoint what it is I like so much about them, but I will get fixated, and just have to draw them. I will sometimes sneak photos of people in public so I can draw them later- it’s so creepy I know, but it’s like, an artist’s burden I swear, it’s completely out of admiration! Austin has definitely done well for my creativity and path as an artist. The people everywhere here accept you and support your ambitions. Especially artists.