Embracing the ordinary: how illustrator Jhonny Nuñez found his success - #MemberSpotlight

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"There is nothing extraordinary or magic in my creative process," says illustrator Jhonny Nuñez. If one were to believe his own words, Jhonny is a completely ordinary person with a completely ordinary story, one he himself would be keen to judge uninteresting. And yet, there is much to find in Jhonny's story and there is even more to learn from his successes.

Jhonny has had the chance to work with global brands and clients, finding his own success outside of Colombia, his home country. Having worked from Russia for some time, he is now looking to expand and open the first South American office for his studio. his ambition has led him far. But Jhonny is still aiming to reach his biggest achievement.

For this Member Spotlight, we are getting to know a talented illustrator gifted with uncomparable determination, and one of this year's Annual 2020 Illustration winners.


How did you get into the industry?

There is nothing interesting to tell about this, origin stories are usually quite ordinary. The taste for illustration, images and design was instilled in me at home since my childhood, that taste was fostered in my high school years, and finally I turned my taste into a career when I decided to study at university. The jump to the world of work was a matter of time.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I am Colombian and I currently live in Russia. Here I have my Studio and soon we will open our first office in Latin America. I currently work for large multinationals and leading companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Microsoft, Savage Interactive among many others. But not only do I work in the big leagues, I also receive many requests for the provision of services from startups and small local companies. These projects are usually very enriching for me.


If you weren't in your current industry, what would you be doing?

That is a very interesting question. Apart from drawing, what I liked to do the most as a child was open up electronic devices, take out their components and create toys with that, something like the cybernetic version of Dr. Frankentein, so it is very likely that I I would have been an electrical engineer or something like that. In my mind I also flirt with the idea of being a filmmaker. I love cinema and I think I would have been a great Hollywood director if I had taken the time to get to know that world in my teenage years.

Can you explain your creative process?

This question also has an ordinary answer since there is nothing special in my creative process either. What I do is as simple as gathering the information about the problem that I must solve, devise a solution, take a pencil and paper, make sketches, digitize them, study which one can be the best solution and deliver the result to my client. Of course that is a simplified way as in the action field there is much more work to do, meetings, lots of impressions and prototypes... etc. But as I said at the beginning, there is nothing great, magical or extraordinary to tell.


How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

Like everyone else, I am now overloaded with information. The temptation to do something I have already seen is much greater and my pocket has become like a leaky faucet as software companies have managed to convince the creative community that to pay for life for a software package is the best decision of your life. On the other hand, the visibility that is achieved through social networks is extremely valuable, as is the use of digital telecommunications tools that allow you to be in contact with clients from all over the world simultaneously. Let's just say I'm happy to have technology in my work life.

What is your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I think it is not a secret, it is rather a formula: I stay well informed, I watch movies every day, I read graphic novels and books every week. Those are the sources that keep me inspired. What keeps me motivated is the ability to work with larger clients each year.


What is the work achievement of which you are most proud?

I am very proud of everything I do, but I believe that I have not yet managed to achieve the achievement that makes me feel incomparable pride. That may happen when I write a successful book or create a character for pop culture, but meanwhile I just focus on making more money exponentially and working with the best brands in the world.

How do you recharge outside the office?

I am glad that I am wondering, many creative professionals do not pay much attention to this important and necessary point. I have a bad habit of eating huge amounts of food when I am stressed and blocked with a project, and that is why I always do my job. Let me go running as much as I can, the feeling I feel in my mind and my body after running a few kilometers is always energizing.


What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work? 

Don't keep your college diploma, keep learning as much as you can, update your knowledge, focus on earning money you don't like, and stay away from illustration agencies.

If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be? 

I would eliminate design apps for smartphones, they are ridiculous and ineffective.

What is your only great hope for the future of the creative industries? 

Tomorrow anything can happen to this planet. The only thing I hope is that independent creatives learn not to depend on illustration agencies, as it can be important to know how to negotiate directly with large clients.

Find more digital illustrators here!


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