Heidi-ho, everyone! Sorry I skipped this feature last month (I'm not sure who's reading, though). But here I am again to bring you guys this month's Illustration Arise feature. Never heard of it before? Well, it's a feature where I will interview one of my favourite illustrators once every month. This month, let's put our hands together for Siamés Escalante a.k.a. Sayamis!
A: Hi there, Sia! Thanks for the opportunity, so happy to have you here. First of all, could you please tell our readers a little bit about who you are and what you do?
S: Hi! I'm Sayamis, an illustrator and graphic designer from Merida, Mexico. I am, or at least I like to pretend I am, a children's books illustrator, although lately I have been experimenting with a more fineartsey focus of my work. I've been working on some personal pieces for the past couple of months for some small art shows in Mexico.
S: I love to draw since I was very little. I think colouring books are what got me attached to illustration because that's what I loved to do the most when I was a kid. I could spend hours colouring books and sometimes making my own drawings. I have always been a very introvert child, so I would rather stay home. Since then I just haven't been able to stop!
A: What are your most prized works?
S: Every piece has something special to it. But if I had to choose one favorite it would be my very first oil piece. I struggled a lot with myself to do it because I was afraid of going out of my comfort zone (colored pencils and dry media) but once I got started I really enjoyed it and I think I did a very good job for a first attempt! So, that's why I think that piece in particular is special to me.
A: Do you usually work digitally or traditionally? What kind of tools do you usually use?
S: I started as a 100% digital illustrator because I was afraid of traditional art. Like, if you mess up you can't fix it, right? But I pushed myself into drawing more and more in traditional media and now I feel like I wouldn't go back to digital. I feel more freedom and enjoy it way more.
The medium I'm most comfortable with is colored pencils. I usually draw with softcore pencils but recently I have been playing around with watercolors and gouache.
S: I am very inspired by two french illustrators Benjamin Lacombe and Rebecca Dautremer. I enjoy their work very much because, as a children illustrator, I find the books they make amazingly beautiful.
I also like Stella Im Hultberg, Audrey Kawasaki, Dilka Nassyrova and Ania Tomicka amongst other amazingly talented artists.
A: I knew you'd love Audrey! Have you ever done commissioned works?
S: Now that you mention it, soon I will start working on my very first commissioned work which is a tattoo design! Someone crazy enough wants me to make a design for a full arm tattoo! How cool is that?
A: That is so cool! Speaking of which, if you had to choose between personal projects, commissioned works and competitions, which one would you choose and why?
S: Personal works are always more fun to do because it's what you have in your own mind. You don't need to follow anyone's directions but yours, so it can be as crazy as you want it to be.
A: What does the future look like for Sayamis?
S: Hopefully good things! You know, I've just recently started my illustration career and I have had so many good experiences and opportunities so far that I just hope in the future it just gets better and better!
A: Okay, thanks for your time, Sia! One last thing: What kind of advice would you give novice illustrators out there?
S: NEVER. GIVE. UP. Keep practicing and practicing until your hand hurts and then practice a little bit more. The only way to achieve your goals is to be constant! If you want to be good, you need to work hard!
What I find highly addictive about Sia's style: Her artworks always have this semi-mystical or Tim Burton-y feel to it yet still absolutely adorable. The rough black and white ink, curving here and there to form a face or a body is very raw but not at all messy, that I love it. I love, especially, how she draws the nose and the way she shades every curve of her figures. Her artworks really just remind me of children horror story books - though I'm not sure such a thing exists.
Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to check out her gallery. Also, check out the previous feature here.