…Creating art is a form
of expressing myself,
my emotions, and
my views on life.
Simona Hromadová was born and raised in Veľký Krtíš, a small town in the south of Slovakia. She’d go on to move to London a few years after finishing high school, and she’d live there for thirteen years. Her passion for digital art started there, right after she found out about Adobe’s software lineup. Simona graduated in art and graphic design at the Middlesex University in London. Having finished her studies, she chose to move back to Slovakia, and take up freelancing. For an artist, having to choose between work and self-development can be an impossible dilemma, yet Simona continues her pursuit of growing as an artist whilst keeping on top of her job. That is no small feat for someone whose busied with many different things, and has to balance them with improving as a digital painter.
How did you get into illustration?
My interest in drawing and various arts and crafts is something that stayed with me from when I was a child. I always had all sorts of creative ideas that came from my drawings, designs, and even when I first sewed clothes for my Barbie dolls, and later for myself. Back then, I really wanted to be a fashion designer. As time went by, I left that dream behind and I decided to study Economics, although, I never started a career in this field. I believe that life always gets you on the path you’re meant to be on. I had conceived the idea of getting back into drawing and illustration later on, when I was living in London, and when I started to use Photoshop and illustrator as my main tools to create my art. It quickly became my hobby and my passion.
How has your background influenced your work?
An artist’s life can have a great influence on his art. Everything we hear, see, experience and every person we meet make us who we are. When I create art, all those influences are reflected in my work in some way. Creating art is a form of expressing myself, my emotions, and my views on life.
What motivates you to create art?
When I create art I feel a great feeling of freedom. Being lost in the moment of time we call now. Being freed of thoughts, of the past, and the future… free from negativity and stress. During those hours of being alone I learned a lot about myself. When I create art I feel joy and peace.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am getting inspiration everywhere and anytime. From when I’m outside, from living, breathing. It happens consciously and also unconsciously. I am greatly inspired by nature and spirituality. Also seeing good art in books, magazines and on the Internet – it all makes me want to create.
I have a small Nikon camera in my handbag all the time. Whenever I see anything interesting, for example an unusual color scheme I take a picture of it, as I may use it later in my creations.
What was the most challenging thing at the time when you decided to work as a freelancer?
Freelancing is tough. Especially when you are completely unknown artist and designer in the country. Since moving back to Slovakia, I have been thinking about what I am going to do next. I have sent my portfolio to hundreds of agencies and publications, but I was met with only a few responses for interviews to work full time and few for external work. The idea of working from home appealed to me a lot, as I did not feel like moving to a big city again. I really like the hectic-free and quiet life in a small town.
I was worried about starting my own business at first, but I was determined (and I still am) to try it, to make a name for myself. It takes a lot of discipline and patience to be freelance, as I have to do all my marketing and administration and also provide services to clients. At the beginning of freelancing I experienced periods when there was enough work but also it wasn’t uncommon to go a month without making anything.
How would you best describe your style of illustration?
I still have trouble committing to one illustration style. In my spare time I love working on digital paintings using Photoshop. On the other hand most of my design projects are vector-based illustrations using Illustrator. For some of my illustrations I use mixture of both, depends what type of illustration I am creating.
I believe, that having my own style would definitely help me more with my illustration career.
How do you feel about your own work?
I love what I do. Being able to do what I love and make living doing it is the best part – I call it a blessing. I get to work on a variety of exciting projects. It’s challenging for me and it’s also fun to come up with different solutions to various design problems.
Describe the types of software and processes you use to create illustrations.
I work on an iMac, I use Wacom Intuos tablet and I use Photoshop and Illustrator to create my illustrations and my designs. I have 2 monitors; one is for my workspace and the second is for my tools.
My work process usually begins with writing down ideas, after I make some research to get inspiration, and then I choose a basic colour scheme before I start to work on a project.
Do you think that attending art school is a must; so that the artist has all of the groundwork laid out before they move on alone?
I think it depends on the individual. I am sure college can be a great foundation, but I also don’t think that going to art school is the only or the most effective way of studying graphic design and illustration. Everybody needs to learn the basics, and it’s possible to learn these basics from books and tutorials (there are plenty of tutorials on the internet these days). The most important thing is focus, patience, discipline and practice, practice, practice. Your work will speak for itself.
What guides your decision to use a word-mark, letterform, emblem, pictorial or an abstract symbol when creating a logo?
When I am creating a logo for my client, I start with some good quality questioning and conversation. I learn as much as possible about their business, about their customers, values, preferable colours and preferable vision.
It is important to ask the client about their target audience. Another part is to research the competitors. What their logos look like, so I will avoid creating something similar. Another question is where the logo is going to be used.
After I have all this information and research I do some sketches and then I use illustrator to change the sketches to vectors. After I send those simple vector designs to the client and I wait for their feedback.The client usually picks one idea for refinement, but sometimes two. After that I work on colours, details, until my client is completely satisfied.
What are you hoping to achieve in the near future?
I hope I will continue to improve as an artist, but also as a person. I will be more conscious of how I live, and how I create.