Over the past few Procreate releases we've had the absolute pleasure of working with Maggie Enterrios, an incredibly talented freelance Illustrator, Designer, and Art Director. Maggie has worked with companies like Apple, Crayola, and Instagram, and we were recently lucky enough to chat with Maggie and ask a few questions about her work, her inspirations, and her advice for aspiring artists.
Hi Maggie! Can you tell us where you're from?
I lived in Chicago for the last ten years, but now I'm travelling full time! This means my studio can be in a different place each day. It definitely keeps things exciting and provides so much inspiration.
How long have you been drawing?
I have been drawing my whole life, but really starting taking illustration seriously and pursuing it as a full-time career about 5 years ago. My background is in Advertising and Graphic Design, so I have always done something in the visual arts, from cartooning to image manipulation to front-end website design.
How would you describe your style of work?
I focus mainly on tapestry style illustrations that are complex, layered, and often include very intricate or busy pattern detailing. The main focus of my work is botanicals and wildlife, which lend themselves well to packaging design, textiles and book covers. I usually describe my work as having a “secret garden” feel to it.
Do you draw or paint in traditional media as well as digital?
Like most illustrators, I got my start with pen and paper. I still work on paper for about one-third of my projects, though often times these days I find myself trying to two-finger tap my paper to undo a line I have just drawn.
A couple years ago I also began custom painting leather apparel, which I started doing just for fun. I began to find that painting helped with my color palette building, a practice that ultimately ends up benefitting my other work. One of the best things I think artists can do is to work in multiple mediums. I can't stress enough how beneficial this is to looking at your work through a new lens.
What would you say is your strongest skill as an artist?
I touched on it earlier, but my background working in advertising allowed me to touch so many different aspects of design. In that industry I had to be quick on my feet: I had to develop design concepts on the spot and execute them as promised. These skills heavily play in to my current work because I have learned to visualize finished work before I begin it.
If you have ever seen time-lapses of my work you can see the the designs don’t appear to come together until the very end. Essentially I have to have faith that I can tangibly produce the images in mind - one small step at a time. This skillset allows me to create dense illustrations because I can think about the foreground and background of a composition simultaneously.
Do you have any tips to offer to aspiring artists?
It may seem like a simple tip, but keep at it! You need to push through the awkward part of a composition and not give up on half-way done sketches. The truth is, I have never created anything very good in less than 5 hours - it takes persistence. The old saying really applies, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
Are there any skills that are required for, or unique to your line of work?
All of my projects require mid-level to expert-level graphic design skills. Being an Illustrator is not as simple as drawing something for a client and sending it off.
I have to be completely fluent in Photoshop®, Illustrator® and InDesign®, and have a strong understanding of grids, typography, file preparation/print production and artwork licensing. I learned a few of these skills in school, but most of them were gained through lots of online research or through my network of peers while working on actual projects.
When I was starting out, if I could not figure out an aspect of a project, I had to swallow my pride and ask the client. It was mostly things related to the deliverables - “How do you prefer me to set up the layers in this file?” or “Historically, how have you structured licensing agreements with other illustrators?” Everyone starts somewhere, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Are there any artists or public figures that have inspired your work?
Aubrey Beardsley is my all-time favorite artist, and the first time I ever cracked open a book of his prints I was speechless. The children’s book Illustrator Jan Brett also deeply influenced my work growing up. She tells such a story with each page and I remember pouring over her drawings when I was young, trying to find every single detail hidden in her drawings.
How has your art style changed over time?
My work used to not include any botanicals! I did all abstract and geometric patterns - It turned my world upside down when I realized I could use plants as my subject matter. The shift to botanicals has proven to be very fulfilling as inspiration is everywhere. As I have gotten further into this style I have also started to incorporate more color. The idea of damaging an original drawing with watercolors or markers was a bit stifling. The flexibility to add color to a piece digitally is what really allowed me to push myself artistically.
What projects are you working on right now?
In the last year I have been focusing on and actively seeking out more packaging design opportunities. As a consumer, I always gravitate to beautiful, thoughtful designs while shopping. So having the opportunity to create those designs myself is incredibly exciting.
I am currently working on several projects in the Food & Beverage and Beauty industries. If all goes according to plan, I should have several swoon-worthy projects to share later this year!
Do you have a favourite tool or feature in Procreate?
I like to keep really organized while I draw, so I appreciate the flexibility of the Layers Panel. My most frequently used feature is the “Reference” layer, which I use for adding color in a non-destructive way, underneath linework. It keeps the whole color palette flexible and allows for great accuracy in color placement. I also love how the Layers stay intact when exported to Photoshop® - game changer!
Do you have a favourite brush to use?
I use a modified version of the Ink Bleed brush for about 99% of my drawings. I’ve added a small percentage of Streamline to mine, and I fine-tuned the taper of the brush to feel like my favorite drawing pens.
How has Procreate changed or affected the way you work as an artist?
My work used to require so much drawing / scanning / retouching. For a client to request an edit, I would have to redraw a section and digitally manipulate the image. It was so incredibly time consuming! I think it goes without saying, but the ability to easily edit images on the fly is akin to magic. Even when I do hand-drawn pieces, I will often start with a digital sketch these days to make sure my client and I are on the same page.