My name is Barbara Ana Gomez, but you can call me Barbarana. I'm a Spanish-born illustrator based in London since 2007.
What inspired you to become a designer?
I wanted to design the album covers of my favourite bands. I have a large collection of cassettes with hand-painted covers that I made as a teenager using pens and markers. At that moment, I even thought that they looked cooler than the original artworks - they didn't! These were the starting point of my career.
What design software (or tools) do you use?
I hand-draw my images using pen and indian inks, and then they are retouched and coloured digitally using Photoshop.
What is your ideal work environment?
I am lucky to have a really nice working place at home; a bright and warm room with a victorian flavour, filled with books, quirky toys and musical instruments - there is even a fireplace! Also, I always have some music or the radio on when drawing.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Music is my main source of inspiration, as you can see in my project Illustrated Songs (www.illustratedsongs.com), but also films, people, nature, and beautiful things in general. The Internet is obviously a really valuable source where you can find basically everything; from antique circus postcards to NASA space photographs or a cute animated short film. Sometimes, a story from a friend can be a good starting point for a project, I am actually working now on an album cover that is inspired by something that happened to the singer of the band. Also, looking carefully at nature can be an amazing experience, I went to Kew Gardens last sumer and took loads of pictures of the gorgeous flowers and plants. And finally, I have many illustration books at home, one of my favourites is Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haeckel.
Who is the person you admire most?
In the illustration field, I am in love with the wonderfully detailed technique of Yuko Shimizu, the stunning portraits by Paul X. Johnson, and the dark surrealist world of Aleksandra Waliszewska, among many others.