Featured Illustrators

Raúl Soria

December 2017

First getting a degree in Tourism, Raúl Soria wasn't necessarily creative growing up—until he changed his scenery and moved to Berlin where this new world was exposed to him. Aren't we glad that happened! We're loving Raúl's patterned illustrations and colourful style. Read on to hear how he made the switch from Tourism to Illustrator and who he's looking at in the illustration world ?

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

I remember drawing a big T-Rex using lots of color markers and also something with ninja turtles, but my childhood memories are very blurry. I only know that I spent all my spare time drawing around, quite randomly, at least until I got my first Sega Mega Drive. From then on it gradually went down. I neither went to art school nor took any special courses, because someone told my mum that it was better for me to find my own path. It took me very long. In secondary school I didn’t draw anymore. Sometimes I’d made caricatures of my classmates but that was it. Later I got a degree in Tourism Management. All that happened in my hometown, Zaragoza, in Spain.

I moved to Berlin in autumn 2004. It was supposed to be a one-year thing, to learn some German, because I was supposed to work in tourism sometime, which I never ended up doing. Instead I got a job as a waiter, which I also hated, and partied hard. I had no further plans, got depressed and started drawing again. Then I met some people who were studying Communications Design and wanted to become illustrators. I was 23 years old and it was my first encounter with design students, ever, and also the first time I considered creative work as an option for myself. They told me they were about to move together and had a free room. I got onboard.

 

One and a half years later I applied for Communications Design at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences and got accepted. Later on I switched to the Berlin University of the Arts, Illustration Class, where I finished my studies.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?

I had inherited some money years before and thought I could afford to take it slow in the beginning. Also, I was in a very political stage of my life at that time. I had entered a left wing political party months before, activism took a lot of my time and energy, and I didn’t want that to change, at least not immediately. I decided I would try to get some assignments from left wing newspapers for my portfolio and see how things develop from there.

But that plan didn’t work out because about one month after my graduation somebody broke into our co-working space and stole all the computers, Wacoms, external hard discs and whatever they found that had a cable attached. We had no robbery insurance, I had no cloud storage. Big drama.

I had just lost all my files and needed new hardware urgently. With the inherited money I bought a new and better computer and a new and better graphic tablet. It was expensive and also the end of my cozy career start. After that I was in a hurry. I had to quit activism and fully concentrate on getting more assignments, making my portfolio grow and earn money. My first editorial assignments were mostly poorly paid, which I accepted because I sort of felt I was doing politics through my illustrations. Most of my little income came from low-fi graphic design jobs. Hard times followed – about one and a half years of precarious freelancing, lots of stress and unanswered emails, very little social life and bad backaches. Easily the worst months of my life.

I had probably never made it without that inheritance, which is a thought I find unpleasant. At some point I had spent almost all of my money and was very worried, but my website was good enough. I showed it around and got some exposure. Then I submitted my portfolio to bigger design websites and got even more exposure. Then things started to work and now I’m quite happy and have an acceptable work-life balance.

"'I tried to keep track of what was being published in the places I wanted to see my work in the future. I always checked if the stuff I was drawing would eventually fit in there.'"

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

 
Right now I’m super busy with two big editorial projects and things are rather stressful, so I’m trying to be disciplined. I wake up at 8 o’clock. Then I shower, have breakfast, check the news and walk the dog, not necessarily in that order. At 10am I should be sitting at my desk, at home, where I work. I check social media, emails and my schedule. Normally, I tend to procrastinate a little in the morning, but right now I’m very busy so I just don’t. I take a break somewhere between noon and 2pm to have lunch and go out with the dog again. Then I go back to my desk, let’s say at 2 or 3 pm and work until 6pm or 7pm, often longer. Before I quit working, I check social media and emails one last time.

Then, ideally, everything is done and my girlfriend has also finished her work and we still have some time to hang out, cook something, go watch a movie, meet friends. Disconnect. That’s not always the case. Occasionally I have to pull an all-nighter. I try to go to bed at around midnight.

 

 

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

 
I imitated others until I didn’t need to do it any more. I tried to keep track of what was being published in the places I wanted to see my work in the future. I always checked if the stuff I was drawing would eventually fit in there. Then I started getting assignments and my style started to change by itself and got more versatile because I had to adapt to different topics, targets, media, etc. I also had to learn to work faster due to super tight deadlines. I started using Instagram, discovered a lot of brilliant people and now input comes from everyone, everyday, which is definitely affecting things. This process never ends, I suppose.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Someone with a lot of talent and experience in the job told me once, in a solemn tone: "It’s not the good ones who make it, but the hardest ones." I don’t agree with the statement because I believe the super talented people have really good chances to make it. However, I was being warned: for the rest of us mortals this job can be rough, especially if your means are scarce. You might end up working a lot of hours for very little money or even for free, too often. It can be like that just for the first couple of months or for a couple of years. It can be very frustrating and even unhealthy. Be ready for it.

Who are your top five illustrator crushes right now?

Five illustrators, in no particular order:
Riikka Laakso
Igor Bastidas
ZEBU
Conxita Herrero
Ruo Han Wang

Whats the big goal in the next five years?

Stability.  

 

Stability.

2017 for you in a sentence.

The best year of my life.

Website:

raulsoria.de

Instagram:

@raulsoria_

Facebook:

/raulsoria.de  

The
Design
Kids

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join our design community of emerging graphic designers around the globe.

The
Design
Kids

Add a job!

Price ($AUD): {{ job.boosted ? job.type.boosted : job.type.base }}

What you get:

  • TDK Job board posting for 3 weeks (website, newsletter)
  • Guaranteed instagram post (179,969 followers), facebook post (15,646 followers) and tweet (10,304 followers)

Please note:

  • The image we’ll use on Instagram will be curated by us and loosely linked to your company to get the best results for you from our audience. Sit back and relax, we’ve got this!
  • Internships are free to post, but please be respectful! This is is not a free design service. Our student and graduate following is of the highest quality and we want to honour their talent. Please respect the students and other commitments they might have time/money wise when submitting your ad. Thanks!
  • We love jobs! And so does our audience. Because our following is mostly students and graduates, the best jobs to advertise are for junior and mid weight roles. Specially graphic design, digital design, typography and illustration. Please note these are paid full time or part time roles, so if you have a one off project to advertise, put it under our Freelance jobs dropdown instead. Thanks!
  • (Please note the image we’ll use on Instagram will be of our choice and no necessarily from your company, but will be loosely linked to your ad, it will be the highest of standards and one which you will get the best results from our audiences with. Trust us, we’ve got this!)
  • Welcome to our new section for freelance one-off jobs! To keep things simple, we want to connect you with the talent by advertising what you need, and encouraging people to email you directly with an example of their work. You can choose who to work with from all the submissions you receive. Everything is done online, and you can expect a designer to be dealing with you remotely. The good news is you won’t be limited to talent locally - this is advertised in each of our cities, meaning you will get a much higher standard of work to choose from. Picking a budget is very hard - we do not encourage work for a fiver like some websites, because you will end up with something worth a fiver!

    Our community is full of the best emerging talent, and a average price should be around half of that of a professional. Our community is full of the best talent, and a average price should be around $65 p/h.
  • (Please note the image we’ll use on Instagram will be of our choice and no necessarily from your company, but will be loosely linked to your ad, it will be the highest of standards and one which you will get the best results from our audiences with. Trust us, we’ve got this!)

  • {{ invalidInput() }}

    Successfully submitted job!

    Your job listing will appear on the site after it has been approved by our team.