Monday, 12 January 2015

Illustrators Arise: Frannerd

Hi there, art lovers! Have you missed this feature? I don't know how it just disappeared into thin air last year. Sorry about that. I promise that I will be more motivated this year. As a comeback, I'd like to welcome a new-and-improved style to this post and our guest, Miss Fran Meneses a.k.a. Frannerd. Frannerd is a Chilean illustrator who now resides in Berlin, Germany, with her husband Ed and her two cats, Hamburger and Cereal. I found her through this adorable LINE sticker set she created and, later on, through her Youtube channel. Her witty personality and incredibly unique style stole my heart in a heartbeat. Now, I'm still waiting for it to come back. Ladies and gents, Fran Meneses!

Hi, Fran! You seem to call yourself Frannerd online. That is a unique name. Is there any reason behind this?

Do you think it's a unique name? Cool! The reason is very simple actually; the name came up when I was studying Graphic Design in university. Back then, I was a nerd, wasn’t cool or anything, because for some reason I’d always enjoyed taking lots and lots of notes during my theory art classes or spending hours and hours at the library reading books about illustration. So, I (in some way) embrace the idea of being a nerd. And, in no time, that idea soon became pride, the pride of being a nerd. Because, if you think about it, there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd: you get good grades at school, you are passionate about so many cool things (pencils, books, comics, illustration, movies…) and once you embrace that fact, everything falls into a great place. That’s where “frannerd” came from.

How did you come to be an illustrator? What made you aspire to it?

I 've been drawing for as long as I could remember. My parents have always supported handmade hobbies (drawing, reading, playing outside); as far away as we could from the TV, everything was cool. So, when I was around 10 years old, I asked my oldest sister if she knew a professional career related to drawing all day and making creative stuff with your hands. And she told me there was something called “graphic design,” that maybe I should try that out. So I did. Eight years later I was studying Graphic Design and it felt good, but not amazing. By the end of the second year I was doing an internship on a local newspaper and for some reason all the designers and journalists knew that I had interests on the illustration field. So they asked me if I can illustrate an article because they ran out of pictures for that particular subject. Long story short: I illustrated that article and the feeling of seeing my illustration published was the most amazing thing. After that I decided to become an illustrator in terms of career, a profession, and I began to work on my own illustration style, while I was finishing Graphic Design. So by day, I was a graphic design student, and by night I was an illustrator enthusiast, trying to learn everything I could on my own. 

Did you go to an art school? What do you think about it, any pros and cons?

No, I never went to an art school. I wish though! I would really love to study and learn more about Theory and Art History cause it has been something I’ve always considered amazing to know. If you are working with colors, and shapes and composition, I think you should know where it comes from, don’t you think? Pros of going to art school: you can learn everything from people who know what they are doing. You can receive knowledge and guides more quickly and in a very personalised way. Also, a lot of future connections you will need are people studying or teaching you in art school, and sometimes that type of connections are really useful for letters of recommendation, scholarships, jobs, projects or even going to another country to keep studying. 
Cons: If you study art or illustration on your own (like I did) everything will take longer, cause you are going to figure stuff out alone. It’s great to move on your own pace, but sometimes is good to have a guide or tutor. Right now we have almost everything on the internet (and free) so I think if you work good alone, everything is possible! 

What kind of materials do you usually work with?

For commissions and illustrations for agencies or clients in general I work with digital tools like Photoshop. But when I’m not working I usually use watercolors, ink and color pencils. 

In 2013 you and your husband moved to Germany for good. Is there any reason behind this?

Yes! My husband was studying Serial Story Telling at the IFS in Cologne. But for economical reasons, he couldn’t continue studying, so we both moved to Berlin to work in our fields: he, as a play writer and me as an illustrator.

What do you do when you’re stuck in an art block?

Go out! Breath fresh air, read some books, not draw for a little while. Watch movies and series sometimes work. Specially Ghibli movies :)

By the way, I enjoy your Youtube channel very much! What made you decide to join Youtube and how has it affected your creative journey?

Oh thank youuu! I first started uploading videos when Ed and I were traveling for our honeymoon. We wanted to show our friends and family the whole trip, and since Ed is really good at editing videos, we figured it will be something really nice to do together. But soon a lot of people were watching those videos! When the trip was over I wondered what I should do with the channel. A lot of people were asking me about illustration (what is it, how to become an illustrator, my favourite pencils and stuff) so I started to talk about illustration. I also realised nobody was talking about illustration, not even in English, and since a lot of people was beginning to follow my work (and I was living in Germany) I jumped into this madness and I started to talk in English on my videos. It was one of those “wtf I’m doing” moments but I think so far it has been a good idea.
It has affected me in terms of talking about my own process and the stuff I like. Usually you know the pencils you like, the books you love and the people who inspire you, but talking about that out loud feels different. It makes you be conscious about what you are doing and why you are doing it. 

Where do you draw inspirations from? Do you have anyone who inspires you?

Yes! I have a lot of things and people who inspire me. Having a window next to me inspires me. Also reading books (any type of book and illustration books) keeps my creativity moving. Right now there’s a few illustrators that fascinates me: Isabelle Arsenault, Kate Beaton and yesterday I “discovered” the work of Fran Krause (with the project Deep Dark Fears) which is amazing! I also feel really inspired when I take a cup of coffee at any small and cozy coffee shop (Berlin has many lovely coffee shops) and take long walks with Ed. 

What does the future look like for Frannerd?

I don’t know! I hope it looks good. It’s hard for me to plan something in advance. Right now I’m working on my book which is a travel journal (Penguin Random House) of the trip we did together with Ed for our honey moon. I’m also trying to put more stuff on my Etsy shop and filming more videos for my youtube channel :)

What was the greatest advice you’ve ever received? Do you have any advice to give all those novice illustrators out there? (including me!)

Do what you love and the rest will fall into place.

A little note from me

If you've watched this video of how she came to build her current style, you would know that Fran - as am I - was influenced by Japanese anime and manga, especially Sailor Moon. Yet she didn't want to draw in that style. I feel like her style journey is rather incredible and something I want to try out myself. Personally, I love how adorable her style is yet it's made edgy with her witty and hilarious ideas. I also admire her soft colours accompanied by her defined lines, giving out an outspoken character in her works without it being far too aggressive. I'm so looking forward to seeing more of her works.

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