Roberto1977, this week's featured contributor, is a self-taught illustrator in love with photography who likes to draw the world happy. His favorite and main subjects are children and seasonal holidays which he turns into successful stock with a few inexpensive resources but with a lot of passion. His microstock trajectory falls into the classic pattern of read, learn, try-it-yourself, grow and this is exactly what he advises new comers to do. Roberto1977' style is happy and serene, as he confesses his life to be as well. His hope is that his children illustrations will make children color the world happy and later on, turn childhood colorings into reality. Let's find out more...
When did you start uploading to microstock? Can you make a comparison between the microstock you experienced years ago and microstock as we see it now?
I started at the end of 2007. Initially I was attracted to the site because of my passion for photography (which I have always preserved), but at that time I had neither the equipment nor an adequate stock culture. I began to learn how to use graphics software and it became immediately very fun and exciting.
The differences between 2007 and 2012: with regard to the world of the illustrations, except for a greater quality of the images and thus a more restrictive policy of the site, I do not see many differences. Of course now the database is much larger than 5 years ago. We live in a period of transition, poor and not very productive from the point of view of the Culture, but the microstock world is young, technologically advanced and modern. Of course it can only improve. And that's what I hope.
Which softwares do you regularly use to create your illustrations and you would recommend to fellow illustrators? Give us some advantages and drawbacks of the softwares you use.
I use almost exclusively Inkscape (to draw) and Gimp (to create the JPG). They are free, intuitive and easy to use. I certainly would recommend them to those who start now without a solid background in graphics. You can find a lot of tutorials on the web, with suggestions, examples, etc. And here at Dreamstime, there's a forum for the Illustrators with lots of great artists. In particular, Inkscape is almost at the same level of more famous (and expensive) softwares, but it's free. For those who want to learn, it is definitely a great starting point.
Were you formally educated or are you self taught? Do you think it matters? If yes, why?
I am self-taught. In the first few months I looked for information and explanations several times, here and on the web. There are always a few people willing to help those who know less. And I hope, in my small way, to be able to do the same with those who decide to start now this wonderful adventure. What matters the most is not from where you start, but the path you want to take.
In your portfolio there are lots of children's illustrations, is this your favourite subject? Any particular reason for this preference?
I don’t know. I like reading a lot (especially History books and Classics) and I'd like to think I draw for children books, coloring books for example. So when it comes to illustrations, children are my favourite subject. The thought that a child somewhere in the world, even here in Italy, can spend 5 minutes to color or play with one of my drawings, gives me a great satisfaction. I myself have no children.
Is microstock your main job or just a hobby?
It’s a hobby, very rewarding on a personal and economic level, but just a hobby. By profession I am an architect, but in the last few months I'm drawing more as an illustrator than as architect.
Tell us a bit about your creation process. Do you plan in advance or is your work the result of sudden inspiration? Do you start with a sketch, use a tablet or create directly on your computer program?
I always have a list of things to draw that I update constantly, and without which I would be lost. I also have very specific deadlines for each of the most important holidays. Anyway, it depends upon the type of illustration. Most of the times I create illustrations directly on pc. Sometimes I take a photo and from there I draw the basic lines.
Do you have a favorite quote that you would like to share?
Generally I don’t like the quotes out of context because they lose much of their meaning, but as a good Italian who loves History I always carry with me the sense of an ancient Roman law which states that “Vanae voces populi non sunt audiendae” (The hollow and vain voices of the mob should not be heeded) in opposition to the most famous “vox populi”. Basically, I go straight on my way...
In your portfolio you have a few photos, have you thought to expand your activity also to photography in future?
As said earlier, I love photography and sooner or later I’ll begin to upload some photos with more consistency. A photo is more immediate, with illustrations it is easier to create something truly stock.
Any suggestions/advice for new illustrators?
I’d like to suggest to new illustrators to focus more on the quality of the individual images than on the quantity. Currently the database is huge and it’s difficult to break through only with the quantity. It can be productive at first, but in the long term it is better to focus on quality. All you need is the patience and the desire to go on.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently I don’t make many plans for the future, I live day by day. I live the present moment serenely and with passion. Concerning the microstock side of my life, I hope to reach 1450-1500 images before the end of the year. And I like to hope that somewhere a child who is learning and coloring a happy world, tomorrow may turn his childhood dreams into reality.
We would like to thank Roberto1977 for sharing a happy illustration of an illustrator's life and work, for the tips and advice.