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“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

- Joseph Campbell


Manuela Montero, a Chilean freelance graphic designer and illustrator

Manuela Montero, a Chilean freelance graphic designer and illustrator

These last weeks we've been testing our tool in the creative community in Santiago, to help us get a better understanding on how professionals handle the design briefing process and how they communicate with their clients in general. It is a great way to get to know the design scene in Chile a little better and to find some truly talented creatives in Santiago.

Meet Manuela Montero

Last week we met Manuela Montero, a Chilean freelance graphic designer and illustrator. We had the opportunity to visit her home studio that she shares with her husband, who works as a photographer. It was fun to meet this creative family in an inspiring artistic environment, decorated with vintage cameras and lots of beautiful illustration books.

Manuela at her home studio.

Manuela at her home studio.

A few details from Manuela's studio.

A few details from Manuela's studio.

Manuela-montero-studio-3-my-visual-brief.jpg

Style & Techniques

Manuela has been working as a freelance designer from the beginning of her career and considers it to be the best advantage in her job. It allows her to create a direct relationship with her clients, better understand their needs during the design briefing phase, and thus create an original artwork that suits the client’s project.

Her design works span from branding, print to editorial design, but her true passion is illustration. Inspired by the 50's modern illustration style, her designs present a beautiful combination of hand-made drawings and digital features.

The style, defined by the designer as sketchy and limited to flat colors, shows off her vintage influences. Here are a few examples of her latest latest illustrations for a souvenir poster and plates about Santiago:

Plates with illustrations of Santiago by Manuela Montero.

Plates with illustrations of Santiago by Manuela Montero.

Poster illustration of Santiago by Manuela Montero.

Poster illustration of Santiago by Manuela Montero.

Manuela’s Design Process

When working on illustrations, Manuela starts by drawing with ink or pencil on paper. Then, she scans the result to the computer for final editing and composition work. This results in beautiful and unique artworks:

Manuela-montero-working-1-my-visual-brief

Manuela-montero-working-1-my-visual-brief

Manela-montero-working-2-my-visual-brief

Manela-montero-working-2-my-visual-brief

Manuela-montero-working-3-my-visual-brie

Manuela-montero-working-3-my-visual-brie

Inspirations

Manuela loves the research that every design project entails as it is a great opportunity to familiarize herself with new work, find new inspirations and try new things. The designer says she has a weakness for illustrated books, in particular for children’s vintage books.

“I find a lot of illustrations inspiring, from medieval illuminated manuscripts to Arthur Rackham’s “Alice in Wonderland”.”

Illustration from Arthur Rackham’s “Alice in Wonderland”; medieval illuminated manuscript.

Illustration from Arthur Rackham’s “Alice in Wonderland”; medieval illuminated manuscript.

Some of her favorites illustrators include Charley Harper, Alice and Martin Provensen, Taro Gomi and fashion illustrator Rene Gruau. The 50’s modern illustrators, such as Miroslav Sasek and his “This is” series, particularly influenced her work.

From the contemporary designers, Manuela finds the most inspiring those who create their signature work by combining illustration with design. Designers like Milton Glaser, Jessica Hische, Julia Rothman and Sanna Annuka are among her favorites.

Manuela's books where she gets her inspiration.

Manuela's books where she gets her inspiration.

Top left: Illustration by Charley Harper; top right: illustration by Miroslav Sasek; bottom: illustration by Alice and Martin Provensen.

Top left: Illustration by Charley Harper; top right: illustration by Miroslav Sasek; bottom: illustration by Alice and Martin Provensen.

Jessica Hische

Jessica Hische

Sanna Annuka

Sanna Annuka

We found her work to be very authentic and original. One that projects an original Chilean aesthetic perhaps... It is also a great showcase of vintage looking illustration, a trending style these days in the design and art world. We also enjoyed visiting her studio and witnessing her son spontaneously join us for a drawing session while we were all chatting together…

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