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Welcome, Álex Herrerías!

The world lost a great architect and won a fantastic illustrator. Alex Herrerías (Mexico, 1981) decided to design their buildings in books, animations and posters. Unique characters born of a restless creator, who “to this date can say with complete assurance that he is a happy illustrator”. We expect to increase it at this stage together. Welcome to your home, Alex!
You recently arrived from the Comic-Con, and we would be deeply disappointed if you told us that you did not wear a costume. How was the experience? That must be a torrent of inspiration. 

Hehehe! I couldn't think of anything good!

This was my sixth consecutive trip and the truth is that every time it gets better! Everything is enriching; the trip companions, the dressed up city, the presentations, the food, the music...

It is a refreshing fan that lets you materialize the most original ideas. Mind you, every year I meet more interesting people.

You say that your love for illustration led you to toy with architecture...

I think the story begins at home; since I liked drawing, my parents always told me I could become an architect, and they said it so many times that I began to think the same way. I would have also enjoyed it, though.

But you abandoned it because of plastic arts, in which you finally got a degree. We all have the mystic day, do you remember that moment of enlightenment that guided you to illustration?

It seems to me that it was the day I chose my area of studies at high school. I went through all the career options (I read all the types of architecture), and then I turned the page and discovered that there was Design and Visual Communications, and that it had a specialty named Illustration... I believe it was love at first sight.

We are really into those Japanese TV contests in which unwary participants are tortured pitilessly. Have you ever seen one?

Yes, once... To be honest, I would like to participate in one, especially if they have giant cotton swab fighting, ha!

Well, now we have reached our anesthesia-free Japanese cathodic moment. Would you be so kind as to define your style? We know that question thrills any artist.

Wow! When I started to work in this field it was said that you had to find your own style, and I think that when you less expect it you already have one. I like to think that my work has characters with personality, that the shapes are dynamic and that they seem to be in movement, I think that every project has a particular ballad and so the way of dancing with each one is different despite having the same objective: communicating, raising awareness, dialoguing.

It seems that you are not sweating too much yet. It is obvious that you are from a land that enjoys spicy food. Another little turn of the screw, what is your contribution as an illustrator?

I really enjoy what I do, I consider myself lucky for being in this path, and I would like to think this can be noticed in my work.

I try to leave or stir up a feeling in every one of my illustrations, from a smile to an exclamation; you can imagine me making each one of the faces you see in the characters I draw.

When we get immersed in the routine of the trade, we sometimes have trouble to remember the illusion of the first assignment. Which was yours?

I think it was a map of the world’s countries.

Do you still identify with it? How has been that evolution?

Fortunately, I think I don’t. I appreciate the opportunity, though, because it was the first time a publishing house contacted me.

I think one's work evolves with the passing of the years, and I feel more and more satisfied with the results, as they say: "It is more important to go in the right way, than going at full speed".

With a consolidated trajectory in the editorial world, last year you developed a project of twelve animations called "Primeras grandes lecturas" for Proyecto 40. Can you explain what it consisted in to those who have not had the opportunity to enjoy it?

Editorial Porrúa, along with Proyecto 40 and Círculo Editorial Azteca, decided to reedit twelve classics from universal literature, and they entrusted me the illustrations for some animations that appear in the programming of channel 40 and the Ajusco's TV station.

I worked with the script and the channel's team in order to bring to life some scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Crime and Punishment, The Metamorphosis, Little Women, The Happy Prince and others.

I had to take into account the dialogues, the settings, the shots, and the parts where the TV station's talent would appear promoting reading. The animations where no longer than 30 seconds, but they were the result of several weeks of work.

What challenges were present in that jump from paper to animation?

It was precisely turning the channel. Planning the animation took more time than it takes to plan an illustration for printed media. Thinking that the characters had to blink, move an arm or a leg, and interact with the background was something different, because all the elements had to be worked with separately (eyelids, hands, heads, etc.).

Watching the illustrations moving for the first time made a smile appear on the faces of the whole team.

Your technique is mainly digital, so you adapt phenomenally to the screen in its multiple formats, like the interactive ones. A whole multiverse of unimaginable potential for plastic artists...

Of course! The digital media are another canvas on which we can bring to life another universe that can reach more and more people, and that fits perfectly in the pocket of your jacket.

Now we can think of illustrations that are able to fly, speak, and take the reader to other levels of communication.

We can notice your versatility, you also work in the press and the poster making industry. What do you find in these fields?

Each one has its own charm, its rhythm, its sensibility. I can almost say that the colors and shapes I use in each one are different, but they all have the same objective: communication.

I think each has a particular way of conveying its meaning; from the page of a magazine to a poster on the street, both fill my gaze when they are ready.

How do you deal with the creative process in different sectors? For example, beyond the obvious differences, do you deal differently with a book than you do with a newspaper article?

Yes, I do. I think that even at the preamble on the drawing board they have a different origins. I must confess that I really like working with background music, it is like choosing a soundtrack for each project. There starts the differences, then I proceed with the reading of the project, I look for some references, and, with all that in mind, while the ideas are being processed, I begin to sketch and little by little the movie presents itself on the page.

You have a close relationship with designing, which should make your task easier.

I studied the career of Design and Visual Communications, so before specializing in illustration I was able to look over all the branches of design. This is something I like a lot and I think that we consume it all the time.

For me, to work thinking of the final media (book, magazine, interactive, etc.) is a fundamental ingredient in the formula that constitutes every project.

Your work has been recognized, among others, by a! Diseño, Behance Portfolio Reviews, or the Catalogue of Illustrators for Children and Youth Publications of CONACULTA. What do these kind of recognitions mean to you?

Personally, they are incentives for my work, they are the signals that tell me that the development of my personal proposal is in the right path, because first of all I must illustrate for myself with as much critical eye as I can have.

Seeing that the result pleases also mi professional colleagues is wonderful, and invites me to continue in the way of evolution.

If we sneaked into your studio, what would we find on the table? What are you up to right now?

On the drawing board you would find the sketches for an album about an engaging and bad tempered character that likes fighting against giant octopuses and avoids taking a bath by all means; the proposals for the cover of a youth literature book on zombies (green and with a particular taste for human flesh); the sketches of the illustrations for October's edition of Glamour México; and finally the lessons I have to prepare for the workshop I start giving at the beginning of September.

In two words or so…

Is the world divided between those who drink coffee and those who drink tea? It depends on the company.

One must take part... If the situation calls for it.

Maybe the chose will be harder between tequila and mescal. For me there is no talking point, mescal, and it is better if it goes with a slice of orange and its worm salt.

On your drawing table there is always... My favorite eraser, my box of pencils, and several books I'm going through.

Three things you do before you start drawing... A to-do list of the day, a revision (scanning) of the project, and above all a selection of the right music.

An inspiration... The sky (her eyes).

A landscape to draw. The fortified city of Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

A song that can be the soundtrack of your creations. Space Oddity, by David Bowie.

If you are reading a book right now, what page are you on? On page 83.

And it wouldn’t be bad to say the title... Snowdrops, by A. D. Miller

A good illustration has... Soul! It must stir feelings, spark off emotions, and allow a secret connection with the author.

The first book you remember. Cucho, by José Luis Olaizola.