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The digital artist path: Presenting pepperberry's visual team

Updated: Apr 24

digital drawing in a huion tablet

PepperBerry's Visual Team has three main members: Alejando Peña, Estela Cen, and Aureo Oliva. Together, they translate the writer's stories into visual interpretations to create a visual narrative. The graphic concepts and inspiration they create has also being the base to work in some of the series of our publishing house. We prepared this interview with them to take a look in their works and process, get to know them in their own words!

What is the biggest challenge of your work as illustrators?

Part of the initial concept of PepperBerry as an publishing house for graphic novels was to produce quality work at a fast rithym. The illustrators talk about the difficulties of accomplishing this goal, at the same time that they were learning to use new tools and skills.


One of the challenges as a digital artist is to represent the feelings that accumulate in a single image while trying not to lose the details of what we and the author want to convey both in every chapter and in specific parts of the story. And doing it all in record time!


In my case, one difficulty was adapting to the quality the publishing house was looking for. Also, to being able to integrate the use of AI, since I had never used one before.

In a slightly more general way, the bigger challenge has being to make high-quality illustrations that convey the idea and sensations that we are trying to evoke.


I think the biggest challenge I have faced at Pepperberry was taking charge of the visual team as an art director, since I have always focus in graphic design and this is my first time working full time as an illustrator. Little by little I became more interested in the management area, making proposals and strategies to achieve the objectives we had planned. I remember one day coming home tired and worried about how we would have the production ready on time; that same night I slept late planning the art direction and methods so that each member of the team visual ability to shine in what it knows how to do well. At the end of the day, it was a very hard task, but it was worth it upon seeing the first book published.

Self-portrait of Cometa Estelar, a Mexican Illustrator working at Pepperberry
Estela Cen self- portrait. Concept artist.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

If you want to be an artist, this ideas from the visual team will inspire you to create! Estela, Aureo and Alejandro share their favorite moments in PepperBerry, and the parts of the creative process that have help them keep making art. From they, we can learn that freedom, appretiation for every victory and community are some of the elements that inspire our creatives.


At the end of each production phase, we like to take a moment to contemplate the work in its entirety, appreciating each detail in its chronological sequence.


For me, in addition to being able to see our work published, I like to see the walls full of our sketches: they are painted with everyone's ideas! In several parts of the office I see post-sticks with little drawings that we all make. I like as well the freedom we have, which is unlike other jobs I've been in.


The most satisfactory thing? I think that is a little complicated to determine! Althought making images and directing is quite enjoyable and I have achieved things that I am proud of, I think what I enjoy the most while working at Pepperberry is the company of my coworkers. Although we have I've had challenging moments and different opinions, at the end of the day I appreciate them quite a lot, and I not only consider them my office colleagues, but also my friends.

Self-portrait of Aureo, a Mexican Illustrator working at Pepperberry
Aureo Oliva self- portrait. Illusrator.

What do you want readers to feel, know or appreciate about PepperBerry graphic novels and about your work as illustrators?

In the last part of our interview we can see the motivations for each artist in the visual team. We also get a glance of what they would like the future to be for PepperBerry, and the ways in which our readers and other artists can help us to keep creating graphic novels.


My satisfaction lies in knowing that we managed to faithfully translate the feelings contained in the written material to the visual representation, and that our work consolidated the emotional connection between the text and the graphic expression into a experience.


I would like for the readers to appreciate the effort behind our work, and that, like many fellow artists we too are also to get ahead, to forge our path and learn and improve as we move on. If we recieve criticism, I think it should be constructive. I mention this because I teach, and I try to get my students on this boat so that they can have an opportunity to work or have experience. So, what I'm aming to is to help them understand that among artists we must support each other and not promote hatred or the envious criticism. I have the idea that Pepperberry can be a window to other illustrators or writers who live in Mérida.


Personally, what I'm more interested in is that the public becomes attached to the characters. In our work process, as we developed them visually, we get more and more attached to them, making jokes about how they would react to a certain situation and even making memes with them (I am, for instance, #teamAngelofDeath since we started to work in Forged By Light And Fire!). I would like for people to have the same feeling of familiarity when they are reading that the one we have while developing the characters, since in this way the community would continue to grow.

Self-portrait of Alex, a Mexican Illustrator working at Pepperberry
Alex Peña self- portrait. Art Director.

If you'd like to keep getting to know our team and learn about their experiences as creatives, follow us on social networks and visit our blog. You can also subscribe to our newsletter, where you will receive creative exercises from the PepperBerry team. We are counting on you to continue creating and growing.

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