Featured Art Director & 3D Illustrator

Muokkaa

August 2019

We caught up with Art Director and 3D Illustrator Alex López of Muokkaa, whose bold geometric work spans print, digital, 3D and TV motion graphics. We chat about how to shape your folio, working on your personal projects, and the best and worst parts of freelancing.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied Graphic Design at the School of Arts of Salamanca, my hometown, a little city in northwestern Spain. After finishing the third year I did an internship in a local studio, where I got my first job as a junior designer. There I created illustrations and designs for museums, the local government, and other institutions. After two years learning how to work with printing houses, preparing files to get the best results on paper, and my first steps on 3D, I left that job and moved to Madrid to grow up as a designer. My first job there was at a TV production company creating motion graphics for iconic TV programs like Big Brother or Fama (I could say many more but only Spanish people will know them!).

What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day?

Let’s start with the worst… I have to be honest: the communication and all that paper work is not my cup of tea. I usually spend a lot of time replying to emails and preparing documents for my consultant to pay taxes. That is part of being freelancer obviously — you are your own boss but also your own project manager, art director, 3D designer, secretary… it is not horrible, but I would just prefer to spend the whole day creating and designing instead.

The best part on my job is when I have finished replying to emails. I always prepare my second cup of coffee of the day, put my headphones on and start playing with sketches on paper or developing any 3D project I have on the go, while listening to some funky beats.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

This is a really difficult question because I really like completely different styles. On my following list on Instagram there is a crazy mix of 3D, illustration, branding, editorial design, photo, animation… I’m going to say these five because I really enjoy it every time I see any new image they share: Six and Five, Plasticbionic, Sawdust, Studio Feixen and Muti Studio.

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What clients see at your site is what they will ask you to do for them.

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What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

More than qualities and skills, I would prefer someone who is really curious about everything related to design and creativity, rather than someone who has good skills technically speaking. Someone who is always asking how to do whatever, who is every day looking for how to improve, and feels hungry to know what it is going on in the design world at the moment. Good taste with colours and composition are always a plus.

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to just show what you want to do in your portfolio. This is very important because what clients see at your site is what they will ask you to do for them. That includes projects that you enjoyed and like the most, it doesn’t matter if those were done for unknown clients or just for personal work. If they are cool, others will want something similar for possible commissions they could offer you.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

I would say travel guys, travel as much as you can. Knowing how things are done in studios in different countries and learning any new languages could help you to get clients from any part of the world. I was always a really bad English student and thought I could never learn it, but when I decided to try studying English again while working at the TV production company, I realized it was easier that I thought it would be. To learn English helped me to get my first commission for The Oprah Magazine and getting a position in ILOVEDUST.

Also, keep doing personal stuff to make your portfolio and skills grow. Personal projects allow to do whatever you want without the restrictions you would have with a defined briefing.

Website: muokkaa.com

Instagram: @muokkaa

Twitter: @muokkaa

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