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Illustrator interview: Mario García Arévalo

12 Feb 2015

Time to keep interviewing great illustrators! This time we had the great pleasure to talk with Mario García Arévalo, based in Valencia (Spain). As you will read through the interview, Mario has a powerful international projection, and has worked with brands such as Moët Chandon, Coca-Cola, Wacom, Warner Bros or Lipton UK.

Mario García Arévalo

How did you get into illustration? Where did the road to become a illustrator began for you?

I began drawing when I was a kid, but I got everything too diffuse in my life at that time. I enjoyed making all kind of drawings, from comics to portraits which I did never got right. I got into graffiti when I was 12 or 13 years old, I loved that way of expressing myself on the streets. After that, I began looking what happened around me and discovered other forms of expression, artists, exhibitions.. until I got to what I really like doing, illustration.

To be honest, I can't say when I got serious with illustration. It is said that your first paid project becomes a milestone in your life and career, and in 2012 I got to work on my first big publicity project for Moët Chandon.

You went through a lot of fields and diverse projects: illustrated albums, ads for big brands, and even apps and videogames. How was this journey, and what did you learn from each stage?

I sometimes feel amused with the reach of illustration myself, it has got into a lot of fields. We got illustration all around us, and I only noticed that when I began working as a professional. I began as visual developer for TV ads, and then I began to broaden my range to other fields like illustrated albums, text books (where I'm working right now), and the videogame world. The latter I can't now live without! I had never worked with such a team of great professionals, and I feel I now got and advantage from that.

I have felt comfortable in all the fields I've worked on, but I think publicity/advertising can be the toughest one: everything is so fast, deadlines are really tight, and projects are big to develop. But they are also the best paid works, although I prefer to be comfortable working and not dying from trying to reach a deadline (laughs).

Mario García Arévalo

You worked in Switzerland and you also know very well other markets outside Spain, specially USA & UK. What are the differences, and what advantages and disavantadges have these markets?

When you work for other countries you always tend to do comparations between them, but you also have to bear in mind that one country brings different budgets and different ways to see the job. You can really notice that when comparing Spain to USA & UK. Spain may have lower budgets but also wider timing and deadlines, and you'll be more close to your client, to the extent of becoming friends with people in agencies and publishing firms.

In other countries budgets are higher, your effort is much more valued, but deadlines are also way more tighter. I'm very fond of working with clients from UK & USA, they have always been there for me and they always bring new challenges to the table. It's always a pleasure to work with them as they value a lot my style and the effort I put into projects.

What good (and bad) things do you feel the Internet and the new technologies have brought to the illustrator profession?

New technologies keep my work steaming! Internet is key for everything today, the 80% of projects I work on I got through email. We illustrators are also a big family and support each other on social media, which is a a great help.

And last, but not least: any advice for aspiring illustrators just starting up their careers?

I got asked a lot how can I bear with so much and diverse work, and I always like to quote Roosevelt: "Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."

You cannot be idle in illustration: promote yourself in social media, do every kind of project you can, and build a great portfolio. It's the only way to make yourself remarkable among a large competition. Feeling related to what you are working on is the key to enjoy yourself when working.

Thanks a lot, Mario!

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