Illustration is one of the oldest skills in the creative toolbox and it’s truly incredible what the latest generations are able to achieve with the medium through a combination of traditional techniques and cutting-edge technology.
Jhonny Nunez is just one such illustrator; a Columbian native who has spent half of his nomadic life travelling the world who has finally set down roots in a Moscow suburb. From here, he weaves his tapestries of colour for a variety of heavyweight clients such as Adobe, Microsoft, Victorinox, Piaggio, University of Cambridge, as well as many exciting start-ups and entrepreneurs.
I caught up with Jhonny to discuss what drew him to the industry, how technology has emboldened his work and what his incredibly unique creative process looks like.
How did you get into the industry?
Since I was a child I felt a positive attraction to images and drawing. I felt my vocation from a very young age, so when it was time to go to university I already knew very clearly what I wanted to study. After college, the creative industry seemed like the most logical step.
JOURNAL ERRRATUM Nº19
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I currently live in the Russian Federation in a suburb of Moscow. I offer my services to brands, products, and people from all around the world, especially from the USA and Europe. In recent years I have tried to get into the Asian market too. Fingers crossed!
Can you explain your creative style and process?
I’m currently doing a deep investigation on the current state of the creative professions, one of the conclusions that I have reached in my research is that many inaccuracies and errors are being adopted and accepted as rules. For example, the term “style” is (I feel) incorrect. When describing the visual configuration of a creative's work, the way I like to refer to it is as an “illustration system."
I call my illustration system DICOI, which is an abbreviation that I built from the words: “Contemporary Digital Illustration” The characteristics of this style are a subtle mixture of organic and straight lines, high contrast in the use of colour, limited expressive resources and maximised format usage. The result is ‘me’.
Please provide one sentence about your work on Creativepool
Sharing to inspire others and finding new clients by showing off my talents.
How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?
Technology always has a positive face and a negative face. I was personally fortunate enough to begin my career in 2008, at the cusp of the digital revolution. The positive aspect of technology in my time has been the ease with which I can offer my services to any part of the world at any time.
The negative part is that increasingly “family-friendly" tools are being created that degrade the profession to entertainment status. For example, you don't have to go to university to be a professional illustrator, you just have to buy an iPad, download an app and to buy thousands of likes to become a famous artist.
Victorinox "Swiss Army Knife"
What software do you tend to use daily and how do you feel it affects your workflow?
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are all I need. Thanks to these fantastic tools I can do in one week the work that would have taken me several months. All I get from them are great benefits; they have fundamentally changed the way I work for the better.
Who is your greatest design inspiration?
All the people, agencies and studios that I follow in my social networks are valuable sources of inspiration for me on a daily basis. At a deeper level, I have to confess that cinema is a source of inspiration to me as well as books and music.
Wayland "The Ancient Olympic Games"
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
It would definitely be to eliminate the so-called ‘artistic representation agencies’. They are a fraudulent business model and a blight on the industry that exploits and scams creative newcomers who just want to be able to make money from their work.
Can you tell me a little about the pieces you’ve chosen to highlight in this interview?
They represent the best of me because this is what I can do right now. Maybe tomorrow I will invent a new concept, technique or system, but right now these six projects represent the zenith of my experience, knowledge and skills. Just by taking a look at them, I hope they will realise that this is the work of Johnny Núñez.
Finally, what advice would you give to other aspiring creatives in the industry who are looking for commissions?
Learning to identify and avoid toxic clients is of vital importance when it comes to laying the foundations of a successful career. Also, never be afraid to say “no” to a client who does not want to pay a reasonable price for a professional piece of work. Unpaid work should never take your sleep away.