In 2017, Maldo has successfully switched from a full time agency job to a full time freelancing. He also made it to a prestigious list of “25 Best Illustrators To Work With In 2018” published by Computer Arts magazine, the world’s biggest print publication for illustrators and graphic designers.
He is the guy to call if you wish to catch attention with a unique illustrated content for your online articles, blogs, websites, printed magazines, and even fashion apparel. Last year he was also the one to design t-shirts for DECENT, a Slovak blockchain startup.
His playful illustrative style could be described as bold, simple and minimal. It’s defined by basic sketchy line-work, dotted halftone patterns, stripped down mainly to black and white colors and high contrast, often with a clever, gimmicky or conceptual idea or using negative space.
Maldo, let‘s dive into the designer‘s world straight away. Do you prefer having lots of time or a tight schedule?
I prefer short deadlines. I do not need two-three weeks to finish a project. Even if I had a lots of time, it wouldn’t give me any real advantage. Sometimes, to start just a couple of days before the deadline is what keeps me really dedicated and 100% focused on a specific task.
I hate spending too much time on something. It’s all about finishing one project and then quickly moving onto something else. Otherwise, I’ll get stuck and my productivity and motivation decreases rapidly.
What are some of the magazines you’d like to work for?
It’s always a dream of every commercial illustrator to have their names and work printed on the pages of globally recognized magazines with thousands of readers. In the future, I’d like to get my work published by Wired, The New Yorker, New York Times, Little White Lies, or the online one called It’s Nice That. Collaboration with lifestyle brands like Vans, Patagonia, or Nike would also be great. I’m getting there slowly:)
When did your journey of an illustrator begin?
It all probably started long before I had any serious experience with design or any real job. There was a strong attraction towards all kinds of creative activities from the early age on. A lot of drawing, painting, playing with various construction toys and blocks like LEGO, or later making stuff out of wood and other materials.
But speaking of some serious journey of becoming a designer, it all happened somehow very slowly along the way when I was working in the creative industry for many years for DTP studios, advertising agencies, graphic design studios, and startups.
The real transition to illustration happened just over the last couple of years when I was living and working in London. I slowly realized I’m kind of tired of graphic design and a regular 9-to-6 agency job and became more attracted towards illustration and freelance lifestyle.
Who do you honestly admire within the illustrators’ world?
I’m a self-taught designer and illustrator so a huge part of my illustration know-how comes from observing others. Just to name a few, it is Pedro Oyarbide, Simon Landrein, Jean Jullien, Vincent Mahé, Cleon Peterson, Sophy Hollington, Timo Kuilder, Giacomo Bagnara, Sebastian Schwamm, Lucas Beaufort, Lennard Kok, Sketchy Tank, DXTR, and the list goes on and on:)
Reading about them, following their work in progress, their approach or even some part of their style or tools and, eventually, implementing some of that stuff that resonates with me into my work – bringing my own twist into it, never copying them – is how I learn.
Recently, you have worked on a project for a Slovak blockchain startup DECENT. Blockchain is probably not an easy theme to design. What persuaded you to go for it?
I like challenging topics, and I had never come across the term blockchain before. I had to google what it is and how it works. The term itself is very abstract, something that’s hard to draw, which I always find intriguing.
Another reason was that I always like when my designs come to life from the digital canvas and become a part of tangible objects such as t-shirts, prints, stickers, or murals. There’s just something about the analog world that lets you to connect with the real objects both physically and emotionally and value them.
What did the creative process look like?
After I looked up all the information about DECENT and after covering all the basics, I just started to transform all the information into something visual.
Then, as usually, I grabbed my sketchbookand a pencil, and started drawing whatever came to my mind. It is one of my favorite parts of an assignment. It’s also the hardest part, though as I aim to avoid visual clichés or shallow ideas. The way to go is to reinvent them.
Nevertheless, the best thing you can do is to sleep on it. I always see things differently the next day, sometimes I even com up with completely new stuff 🙂
Where can people check your work out?
My online portfolio is at maldo.me but I prefer to redirect people to my Instagram page @maldonaut which is my most active and most up-to-date profile. It happens to me all the time that both individuals and global companies reach out to me through Instagram.
There you can find a lot of stuff published nowhere else as well as behind the scenes, work in progress, experiments, news and upcoming projects.
What can we expect from Maldo in 2018?
I’d like to see myself as a more established and more recognized illustrator who is completely comfortable in his own style and handwriting but at the same time constantly evolves and reinvents himself.
Expanding my portfolio through successful collaborations with various globally recognized companies I mentioned previously is also one of the main goals. I also hope to make one huge mural as well as a solo exhibition this summer which is already in process 🙂
Additionally, I am going to launch an online shop with my art – mainly prints and original drawings, but some wearable products as well. And, last but not least, I plan to optimize my workflow and productivity, improve my work-life balance and travel more.
What are your most urgent advice to a young aspiring illustrators out there?
You need to find your own path and style to which you will be dedicated. That’s what sells in this profession. I don’t advise to mix many styles together. Just find your visual niché and stay consistent.
Don’t be afraid to ask. If you want to work with someone or to get somewhere, just find their email address and approach them.
Definitely use different platforms to promote your work such as social media and design networks (Instagram, Twitter, Behance, Dribbble, etc.) as well as new platforms for hiring creatives like WorkingNotWorking, Minty, or Easle.
And, of course, just draw, and work your ass off drawing. The more you create the better you get and the faster you’ll find stuff that suits you.
Co-author: Terézia Švandová