Interview with designer and illustrator Anne Cobai
Anne Cobai is an awesome designer and illustrator from Perth, Australia. Her bold illustrations are characterized by pop, tattoo, and vintage culture references. Anne has been awesome enough to provide us with an interview with insights into her work and industry experience.
Hey Anne, thanks for chatting with Vectips! To start, can you tell us a little about you and your design and illustration background?
I studied graphic design at uni, and I now work full-time as a graphic designer. In my spare time I freelance and illustrate. At first, I only did some illustrations in my spare time as a way to keep creative, and I didn’t try to get my work out there. But slowly I started to show my work through my website and then by blogging. I never did any illustration courses at uni, I just kept at it and over time I saw a big improvement in my work. I work mostly in the vector format and I love to create bold and colourful images with a high attention to detail.
Can you describe your typical workflow for an illustration?
Once I have a rough idea, I sketch it out a few times. I then take some reference photos of faces or bodies that I can trace on the computer to start my illustration. I use the pen tool in Freehand to draw all the vectors. I usually spend quite some time on choosing the colours as they are important to my illustrations. Once I’m happy with the colours then it’s usually finished, but sometimes I add some subtle highlights and gradients in Photoshop using the brush tool.
Your work is infused with wonderful pop, tattoo, and vintage culture references. What is your favorite source of these references and inspiration?
My favourite website for finding inspiration for rockabilly and vintage fashion is fuckyeahrockabilly.tumblr.com - I love looking at people’s unique sense of style, and there are quite a few pics of tattooed ladies, too.
How does your full-time design job affect your personal work and vice versa?
Because I work full time as a graphic designer, I can only work on illustrations and personal projects on weekends. This means that it takes me longer to complete a project compared to someone who freelances full-time. But according to Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the time allotted, so maybe I would get the same amount of work done anyway if I only worked part-time.
What aspects of your illustrations reflect parts of your personality?
Whenever my friends see my illustrations, they always comment that the girls I draw remind them of me! That’s probably because I use reference photos of myself to get the pose and figure right, so maybe a little bit of my personality sneaks into the illustration!
If you were to be magically turned into any Illustrator tool, what tool would it be and why?
The pen tool, because I love it and it’s really the main thing I use to create illustrations.
What is your favorite Illustrator tip, trick, or technique? Your least favorite?
My favourite tip is to work in grey colours when I’m drawing the illustration and to add colour at the very end when I’m finished everything else. My least favourite thing would be when I’m doing something very detailed, zoomed in at 3000% working on a tiny strand of hair that probably no-one else will ever notice!
Thanks again for the interview! Is there advice any that you would give to aspiring illustrators and designers?
My advice would be to just keep drawing and creating all the time, and invent your own projects if you don’t have any paid work to do. Also, be persistent in getting your work in front of other people, as the internet is so wonderful for connecting with other artists’ work. Work hard, be patient, and everything will work out over time.
Learn More about Anne Cobai