Meet the Maker: Mateusz Napieralski

17th November 2020

Hear from the minds behind the work

How did you get into illustration?
I was always drawn to graphic shapes and geometry but didn’t know that illustration could be pursued as a career. When I started my studies in graphic design and motion graphics, I started to get introduced to the illustration world. I dabbled in it during my spare time and slowly started building my portfolio. After graduating I worked for an animation studio for 2 years, and then decided to jump into freelancing. That’s when my adventure with illustration as a career choice began.
Describe your style in three words.

Graphic, dimensional, playful

How did you find your style?

I always feel that it was the style that found me, not the other way around. I think of my style as a mixture of all my graphic design and illustration influences, seen through the prism of my life experiences, interests and things that are important to me.

What tools/programmes do you work with?

I do all of my sketching in Procreate on my iPad. Once I’m happy with the sketch I export it to my desktop computer and jump into Adobe Illustrator to start turning my sketch into vectors. Sometimes that’s the end of my process, other times I finish my compositions in Adobe Photoshop where I add gentle shading to all the layers.

Who or what inspires your work?

When I started some of my biggest influences were people like Kate Moross, Mike Perry and Janine Rewell. They were my inspiration that you can make a living being an illustrator. Lately, I find myself referencing my own experiences, interests and values in my work. I’m trying to dig deeper into questions like “what experiences have shaped me?” and see how I can feed the answers into my work.

What excites you most about a project?

The infinite possibilities of creativity at the beginning of the project, when nobody knows what the final illustration is going to look like. :D

When you’re briefed on a project, how do you begin the creative process?

I usually find a quiet spot in my apartment and digest the brief. I then do some research into the topic of the project and make mind maps. I then move to very rough sketches to see where I can take the brief and how it will solidify as a visual. Once I’m happy with the rough concept I fine tune it and turn it into a detailed sketch which will form the foundation for my digital illustration.

Is there anything you’d like to do or experiment with in the future?

I love exploring depth in my digital illustrations and would love to experiment with some woodcuts to create small physical sculptures where I could actually, physically play with depth and layers of my compositions.

What one bit of advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?

Look inwards, not outwards when trying to figure out your creative voice and how you fit into the landscape of illustrators out there.

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