Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Manu: I’m Manu, a Bucharest-based freelance illustrator. I studied Graphics at the National University of Arts George Enescu and I was an Erasmus student at Facultad de Bellas Artes, in Spain.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Manu: I was an introvert as a child. Mostly I liked spending time drawing and reading about art history. I wasn’t great at making friends because I felt that most of the people around me didn’t get how mesmerized I was about every little thing that had anything to do with illustration, art history, or animation.
Manu: My mom noticed that I had some talent ( as they say) and invested in my little hobby from a young age. I think she is the main influence I had and the reason I decided to take the leap and be a freelance illustrator. She is a great role model and she gave me the courage to be myself.
Subsign: What you wanted to be as a grown-up?
Manu: I wanted to be a private investigator or a combination between a witch and a vampire.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Manu: That is tough to answer because I’m changing the placing of my desk more than one person should have. Depending on my mood and what work I have to do, I’m moving the desk from the window to the dark side of the room or from the dark side to the part of the room that has more light and rearranging the books and supplies as needed.
Manu: Usually I put around myself a lot of references and illustrations so that I would get in the zone. Here is how my workstation looks like right now.
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Manu: I don’t like to say that I have a style when I’m talking about my work. I like to think about it this way: I’m constantly changing, so my style should be in constant change. I’m too young and too fresh in the art industry to say that I have one style. I’m experimenting and improving my skills every day. We’ll see in 10 years if my answer will be the same.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Manu: It depends on the project I’m working on. Sometimes it flows out of me like it’s natural and other times I start crying in frustration because I don’t have inspiration.
Manu: I usually read the brief about 5-6 times, after that, I think about some ideas and I write them down and never use them, because, in my case, the first idea is the worst. After I take my time and allow myself to create the universe of the project in my head, the idea hits me. It takes about 2-4 different illustrations to settle on the right one.
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Manu: I don’t know why, but this one was my favorite since the day I illustrated it. Maybe it’s because of her hoop earrings ( I don’t leave the house without my hoop earrings) or the fact that she looks like another version of me.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Manu: I’ll try to name just a few of them because I have a really long list. Some of my favorites are Karolis Strautniekas, Malika Favre, Ferenczy András (duajisin), KITRĂ, Dragos Botcau, Bianca Dumitrascu, Sorin Traistaru, Ioana Sopov, Marian Surducan, Jean Jullien, Tuan Nini, and Igor Hofbauer.
Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Manu: If you wanna take a chance on yourself and start a freelancing career, make sure you have enough money saved. Therapy is really important for a person that works in the creative industry. Take care of your mental health and make a lot of friends in the industry.
Manu: We can only succeed if we grow our community and cherish every piece of advice that someone offers you because you need it and there will always be people that have more experience and skill than you. Networking is the most important.
Subsign: If you would have a superpower, what would it be?
Manu: Probably I would have the power to heal trauma.
Subsign: Can you recommend for our readers a book, a song, and a movie?
Manu: A book that made me happy: The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Carlos Fuentes.
Manu: A song that I always come back to The War on Drugs – Pain.
Manu: One of my favorites movies: Her (2013).
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Manu: Probably a party like a festival ( Electric Castle) in a really fancy palace with a huge pool in the summertime. With water slides from the windows to the pool and Silk Sonic singing in the background.
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Manu: Definitely Karolis Strautniekas, Malika Favre, Theodore Twombly, Kenny Beats, Post Malone, and Donald Glover.
Thank you Manu for being a part of our Spotlight!