Above the Fold: Ajo Galvan, Illustrator & Designer
In Above the Fold, we spotlight individual members of Coroflot's vibrant creative community. The idea is to take you behind the scenes and inside the minds of talented Coroflot members who we think are doing exceptional work. Coroflot was created by designers, for designers, and Above the Fold is the place where we can talk to creatives about work that we not only love, but think you'll love too!
Madrid-based Illustrator and Designer Ajo Galvan has been walking her own road as a freelancer for a handful of years now. Her diverse and creative style of illustration lends itself well to being a freelancer, and browsing her Coroflot portfolio reveals an artistic sensibility with her expressive use of bright colors and ability to create quirky, beautiful fantasy worlds. There's a fun, whimsical quality to much of Ajo's work, and often times her projects make you smile. Recently Ajo took the time to talk with us about her creative process, inspiration, and lots more!
Was there a specific moment in life where you realized you wanted to pursue a creative path?
I've always had a thing with art and I took painting lessons as a child. Then I decided to study design and I completed a Master's Degree in Digital Design. I started working at technology consultant firms and stopped drawing for years. On January 1st, 2013, I decided to start drawing daily for a year. No excuses. I hadn't drawn for a long time and I really wanted to. In the beginning, I was thinking about doing very simple sketches (no more than fifteen minutes for thinking about the idea and drawing it) but I got hooked and it became the biggest project of my life.
Who are your design heroes?
I can name five now: Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Moebius, Marc Chagal and Wassily Kandinsky.
Can you share some details about your most recent project?
One of my last projects was a deck of cards with thirty-five superheroes (designed by me) in yoga poses. They didn't have a large budget so I had about fifty minutes to imagine and finish every illustration. I had to invent a new style to make this possible and I learned a lot in the process. In addition, the subject was extremely fun for me, so I had a great time.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I'm starting thinking about an idea for a couple of books I would love to illustrate. They both are in a very early stage yet so I can't tell much more about it.
Walk us through some of your process for creating.
I don't have a fixed process. It depends a lot on client's needs. I do very different stuff (UX, interface design, graphic design or illustration) and they each have a different process. Basically, I try to deeply understand what the client wants to communicate and give back the idea but in simpler and effective way.
Are there any projects (professional or personal) that you are especially proud of?
There are a couple: "Sell a day" those 365 drawings that changed my life, and from the last ones, I have a special love for some illustrations I made for one of my dearest friend's new book "Dias ajenos". He was also my boss a long time ago and I'm always happy working with him when I have the chance.
What tools (physical or digital) do you find yourself using repeatedly?
I try to do a lot of research to get an idea. I don't care much about the tools. I think the idea must be strong enough to accomplish it regardless of the tool. Most of the time the tool is imposed by the technical needs.
Do you have a ritual for getting in work mode (music you listen to, certain exercise, food you eat) aka a productivity tip?
I try to do some exercise first thing in the morning and then take a shower, breakfast while reading the news and email. I certainly listen to music most of the time.
Outside of your professional life, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?
I usually attend to natural drawing sessions. I read almost everyday. I love to go to the movies and I go a couple of times a week. I used to go to concerts but now I prefer to make the most of the day (and concerts here usually start very late).