Presenting Davi Augusto, a Brazilian illustrator based in São Paulo. Davi has vast education in his field, with two master’s degrees, in both Digital and Editorial Design, from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo and Istituto Europeo di Design, respectively.
With broad experience in editorial illustration, his clients include Folha de São Paulo, Rolling Stone magazine (Brazil), L’Express (France), Financial Times (London), and Wired Magazine (London), among others.
Besides many magazines and publications, you can also enjoy Davi’s art in packaging and POP, animated movies, everyday products such as vinyl wallets, and other commissioned work for companies such as RedBull, Volkswagen, and Adidas.
With a contemporary style, his illustrations with perfectly defined black lines and vibrant color palettes immediately catch the eye.
He is currently opening his own illustration studio location, but he kindly gave us a few minutes of his time to answer these questions. Get ready to be inspired by this amazing artist!
How did you decide to become an illustrator?
Since I was a child I have always loved to create, whether with paper cutouts, pieces of wood, packaging, modeling clay, and paper and pencils. But I believe the first and main influence came from an illustrated encyclopedia from the 60s I had in my grandmother’s house. As it took me time to be literate, I tried to “read” those books only by the images and spent hours admiring those pages. Years later I discovered that the artists in this encyclopedia were legends in illustration and graphic design like Bob Peak, Fritz Kahn, Guy Peellaert, and several other masters.
How would you define your illustration style?
Contemporary, mixing commercial and experimental works.
What are the most significant projects in your career, or the ones you are most proud of?
This is a difficult question for me, I think all projects are important to build my career, from the smallest to the biggest, but I believe that the opening of my studio next year will be an important point in my career.
How much does the culture of your country influence your work?
I see that every artist is influenced by the environment in which they live, and in my case, it is totally influenced by the city of São Paulo, an urban environment with its own characteristics and cultural movements, and different from any other city in Brazil, as a single style of graffiti, its means of transport, architecture and social contrast…
You have done illustrations for both magazines and consumer goods. Are you enjoying editorial or product illustration the most? I really love working with editorial projects because of the possibility and narrative that this medium provides, but I also find it fun to illustrate stories for products and advertising.
How do you get inspired to produce a piece of artwork?
If it is a commercial work there is not always much inspiration, as I have an academic background in design, my illustrations end up being guided in design methodologies and processes such as semiotics, briefing, research…. But if it’s a personal work, the inspiration comes from the things I like, the places and people I’ve known and the situations I’ve been through and lived.
What skills should an illustrator have?
In addition to technical skills, I believe that an illustrator must have the skills to visually translate ideas in an original and attractive way.
I’ve never had a creative block, in fact, I’m afraid of dying and not being able to complete all the projects I have in mind! But a tip for those who suffer from this is to study the theoretical processes of creating graphic design.
What do you like most about being an illustrator?
I believe that visually making ideas come true is one of the most rewarding parts, besides being able to work with what I love.
What techniques and resources did you use to design your last few pieces?
I’ve been using digital resources as always, mostly Illustrator and Photoshop, but I’d like to go back to exploring traditional resources like pencil, pen, and collages a little more.
How do you learn about new techniques and tools?
It’s usually on YouTube or talking to artist friends.
What jobs have you done other than being an illustrator?
I always worked as an illustrator, I started working relatively early, my first job where I signed a contract I was 15 years old, it was for a t-shirt brand, and in the last years of school, I worked in a custom motorcycle workshop drawing on tanks of gasoline from the motorcycles.
Most of my days follow a simple routine: I get up at 10 am, work like crazy from 10:30 am to 12 am and back to sleep at 12:30 am.
What’s been your most challenging project to date?
I believe that lately, my most challenging job is managing people, coordinating and directing teams in bigger projects like animations.
Do you think it has become more difficult to coordinate teams since the boom in remote work, accelerated by the pandemic?
In this case, there were not many changes for me, because before the pandemic I already coordinated most people remotely. One of my partners for motion projects is in a completely different state (800 km away).
How do you handle a client who isn’t sure about what they want?
I try to schedule a video meeting to better define the illustration’s briefing.
I believe that everything around me somehow influences my work, but an artist that I take as my main reference is Katsuhiro Otomo, I remember the first time I saw the manga Akira, it was when I decided that I would really like to work with an illustration.
Do you think it is important for an illustrator to be able to draw analogically, before drawing digitally?
I think it helps in the process, as the digital medium somehow tries to simulate the analog medium.
Do you follow any illustration blog or magazine where you find inspiration?
A lot of the visual inspiration I have comes from books and magazines I find in used book stores. In these places, you can find things that are not on the internet. I’m currently collecting issues of Seibundo Shinkosha’s Japanese design magazine Idea, I have some issues from the 60s and 70s where there are articles and materials that I’ve never seen circulating on the web.
Have you tried drawing typography or including lettering in your projects?
Yes, I really like working with lettering integrated into the illustration. One of my favorite works is lettering.
Davi Augusto is a Brazilian illustrator based in São Paulo. Davi has vast education in his field, with two master’s degrees, in both Digital and Editorial Design.
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Feli Arrieta is a book editor and content creator from Buenos Aires. Tirelessly curious, she is passionate about traveling, living new experiences and learning different disciplines, to be shared through her writings.