We’re thrilled to announce our last Illustrator feature of 2017 is the lovely Marisol Ortega! Her color palettes, playful designs, and quirky style immediately caught my attention and I love everything she does! Take some time to scroll through her Instagram feed and you’ll come away feeling inspired immediately. Marisol commonly draws flora and fauna which happen to be some of my most favorite subject matter. Not only is she an illustrator but a designer, pattern maker, and letterer. Marisol currently resides in the mid-west with her husband, daughter, and kitten, Louie! We hope you enjoy taking a behind the scenes look at her artistic process! I’m swooning over her fruit drawings!Continue for the full interview with Marisol Ortega!
Artist Interview with Marisol Ortega
1. How did your illustrative style develop? How has it developed and changed over the course of your career?
You know, over the years I’ve had graphic design positions where illustration or lettering became more of a requirement than a nice to have. I started off doing a lot of vector illustration with the occasional textures to making my own textures. But, before I knew it, I was doing 80-90% analog and just using the computer to compile or edit my work. My previous employment was working for Starbucks Global Creative. I would say that was when my work started to reflect my voice or at least started to look cohesive and stylized in a range of styles. Part of that was because of how much exploration and versatility I needed to have in my position. I’ve always made a point to keep myself curious and learn new techniques or take workshops. I feel like that has kept my illustration work interesting even in the last year or so.
2. What do you doodle when you aren’t making anything for a specific project or client?
I’ve tried to steer away but I just can’t—it’s flora, it’s always been flora. Occasionally I try to doodle something a little more intentional, something on my desk or misplaced trinkets my daughter leaves in the pocket of my jacket for me to find. However, recently I’ve been trying to add color play as part of my daily exercise, and it’s worked out wonderfully. I love discovering new color palettes.
3. How do you stay original, and what tips on the subject do you have for other creatives?
Hmm, good question! I think to some extent everything has been done before, but I think it’s important to keep making art every day, even if you’re having a bad day or don’t feel like making anything. Pulling from your experiences/emotions/artistic voice is what makes you original, and you know, these are all things that I’m still working on to figure out what is next and how I can grow as an artist. I look back at my work quite a bit to see its progress sometimes I rework projects or see a particular piece of art in a new light that makes me inspired to try it again but differently. This is my go-to every time I’m in a rut.
4. Along those lines, how do you react when you sense that other people are copying your work?
I’ve never really paid attention to this until a few days ago. Someone tagged me in an image of a gouache painting and captioned it as being inspired by my work, but it was clearly a rip off of my lines and composition. It made me really upset in the moment, but I tried to see the best in the situation and tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were just learning to paint? Or loved it so much they just wanted to recreate it? With that said, I think if you’re going to recreate a piece of work by an artist and you want to figure out how it is that they did something/add your spin on it, do it. But, don’t share or try to pass it off as your own. I feel like we’ve all been there, the learning part, but sharing with the intention of taking credit for it is just bad karma.
5. Where and how do you get inspiration?
My experiences and environment are an inspiration for sure. I definitely follow some amazing blogs and websites for a collection of visual inspiration. Lately, I’ve been staying away and instead have been tapping into my Mexican culture (I’m first generation Mexican-American), my daughter and nature a lot. My mother has a variety of plants in her tiny home. I joke when I say she doesn’t have a living room but that’s because her plants take over so much of her space that it feels more like an atrium than a living room.
Being in this space of indoor/outdoor is something I have always loved. It reminds me of my grandmother and the many times we visited her house which was full of plants and colorful flowers. My daughter is also my color inspiration, and we make art together almost every day. Children have this tendency of not filtering and just doing whatever—her color choices are always on point, and I make sure to take notes.
6. If you weren’t an illustrator, say, in an alternate universe, what would be your creative outlet?
I’d probably be a florist or a botanist. I really love plants (if you couldn’t already tell).
7. What does your studio or workspace mean to you?
It means being able to co-work with my 5-year-old artist. I like the space to feel like she’s welcome to use anything in the room to create (yes that means my paints). I love that it feels more like a family room than my workspace. I’ll be working on something, and my daughter will be drawing at my side, and the cats will most likely be on the love seat watching us.
8. Do you feel that attending art or design school is crucial for an artist to “make it” in 2017?
No, not necessarily. I think every one of us has creativity we could tap into, and it just takes some time to get to know it. I went to school for graphic design, and over the years I have gravitated more and more towards illustration and lettering. So If you’re passionate about something it’s easy to put in the time to learn it and the same applies to art.
This is the Lars Book Club poster for the month. Download it for free here!