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Q&A with Yema Yema

Graphic designer and illustrator of creatures

Howdy! My name is Mercedes Crespo but I feel more comfy as yema (which is the alias I go by in the social media). I am a 31 year old girl who loves character, graphics and colors. I can say I am a designer or an illustrator. Back when I graduated my main focus was animation but with time I  fell in love with graphic design and character design and just decided to merge both and make something unique and fun.

How did you get started in illustration?

Well, I started exactly at 16 years old. Saw a classmate draw a batman and I never felt so curious and excited about drawing. I loved the idea of making something out of nothing, that's with just the stroke of pencils new worlds and characters can be created. I was amazed and since then I have never stopped loving art and design.

I went to art school and at 1st I wanted to be a comic artist. Eventually I transition to animation because the idea of giving life to something was even more exciting and fun. I got my degree in animation but went through a series of life ups and downs and stopped doing art for a year. I came back to it as an illustrator (after that horrible year) and have not stopped since :-)

What are you working on now?

Well, I love to explore books. Kids books are a major influence on my work, abstract work and of course character work. I always sketch first, usually lines that really make no sense to anyone but from there a build and look for a solid composition. From there I look for a mood and play with colors. That takes me the longest time, and the I start working out the piece. Currently working on lot of personal work as I try to polish my 3d style and make a full transition to 3d illustration.

What tools and materials do you use for your work?

From pen and pencil to computer software. Adobe illustrator, 3ds Max and Photoshop. Those are my main tools :-)

What is your ideal work environment

I currently work from home, it's nice and cozy but not going to lie, does get lonely from time time. I would like to move into a share studio space of possible. I think it could be interesting to work next to other creatives, hopefully and opportunity for rental spaces opens up.

I also love to be surrounded by others work. Prints, toys, post cards, books. Love that!

Where are your favorite places for art?

Well, books and museums but when I get the chance or opportunity, festivals and conferences are my fav places to be at. Love the energy and and the environment. It's always so inspiring to attend to one of those. I had the amazing oportunity to go to Berlin last year for Pictoplasma. It was the coolest experience of my life!

Who are the illustrators, artists you admire most?

So many actually! Some of them are LouLou and Tummie, Grand Chamaco, Juan Molinet, Christopher Lee, Jonathan Edwards, Wearetado,  Felt Mistress, Krystina Baczynski, Joey Ellis, Cecy Meade. Its an endless list actually!