Bárbara Baqueiro

Barbara is an artist from Mexico focused on digital illustration. With a style influenced by ’90s anime and fashion, she describes her work as bold, bright and colorful. She takes inspiration from personal experiences as well as creating works that push her out of her comfort zone.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Barbara, a 24 year old illustrator born and raised in Campeche, a port city in Mexico. At the end of 2022, I moved to Barcelona where I’m currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Creative Illustration. Moving to Spain to study has been a big challenge for me, in the best of ways.

I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the art field. I’ve loved creating since I was little and I found illustration to be the most fulfilling way of expressing my creativity.

What is the main medium, content, and/or themes that are frequently present in your work?

I mainly do digital illustration these days. I enjoy implementing Japanese elements into my work as well as using bold and vibrant colors. Most of my work is done using Procreate, but I also use Photoshop for some final details.

What is something you want our audience to know about you or your work?
It’s funny, I think the starting point for my illustration career in the digital medium was in 2020, after watching the final season of She-Ra and The Princesses of Power. I loved the art style and the characters so much that I just wanted to sit down and draw my own version of She-Ra. I stole my mom’s iPad, got myself an Apple pencil and started to create. Those first drawings will never see the light of day, though.

What have been some critical moments or challenges in your career/work that have shifted your perspective creatively?

I struggled a lot whilst trying to find my artistic language, and honestly I still do sometimes. I guess that’s something every artist struggles with, at least once. There were so many ways I wanted to portray my work I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed until I understood that artistic style is not something you can come up with overnight, but something you develop along the way.

“There were so many ways I wanted to portray my work I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed until I understood that artistic style is not something you can come up with overnight, but something you develop along the way.”

Tell us about your artistic process.
Usually I have an idea of how I want an illustration to look at the end but I find that starting without a plan is what works best for me. I start by looking at my Pinterest boards for inspiration. Followed by the sketch, flat colors and rendering. Once I feel like the illustration is finished, I add textures and do some color corrections. This is a major step in my artistic process.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of creating art? How do these affect you creatively?

I’ve always been a very creative person, which led me to always want to try new things. I also get bored really fast so I have a lot of hobbies to make up for it.

In 2016, I started working with epoxy resin. I used to make resin paintings and phone cases, but I moved on from this medium because it was too messy for me. Which is why I have a lot of respect for resin artists.

I have been doing crochet since 2018, I rarely finish a piece but still, I find it quite relaxing to sit and work on a sweater while watching some kind of K-drama to take a break.

Film photography is also something I love. I started learning in 2019 and have been doing it ever since. I truly cherish that analog and nostalgic feeling, which I also try to incorporate into my drawings.

The hobby I find to be the most influential to my work is watching anime and reading comics or manga. I grew up watching shows like Sakura Cardcaptor, Inuyasha and Sailor Moon. As well as Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away, which was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and still is. I think the fact that these shows have been a part of my life ever since I was little is why I find them comforting. As an adult, I always try to work with themes that are close to my heart.

How do you find inspiration and what are those inspirations?

Lately I’ve been really enjoying going to libraries and browsing through art and illustration books. Looking at other artists’ works is what inspires me the most.

How do you get motivated or inspired to push past creative blocks?

I think the best way for me to avoid falling into a creative block is to always try to create the works I want to create, instead of doing things that I think will do well publicly. Of course this doesn’t always work, but, as an artist, I like to think of creative blocks as part of the process or as my body telling me to take a break. That’s when I enjoy taking some time for myself, watching a show I like, going to the library or taking on a new hobby to get my creativity flowing once again.

Who are artists or people who have influenced you?

There are plenty, the list would never end! To mention some of my biggest inspirations, the fairytale-esque illustrations by contemporary artist Nanaco Yashiro or the cozy and detailed work of Mochipanko, as well as more classical Ukiyo-e artists like Kawase Hasui and Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

What’s next for you?

I’m looking forward to finishing my master’s degree, as well as improving my professional skills as an artist and illustrator. Also, to start selling my work in more physical ways. A dream of mine is to publish my own art book, so I’d like to look into that in the future which is exciting to think about.

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