[Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies | S01:E02] Illustrescu: the freelance illustrator that makes your scrolling worthy

Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies is a series of interviews with cool & inspiring graphic artists. Why? Because when we come across great art and design we often wonder what is it that fuelled the artist to create, we want to get a sneak-peak at the human behind the thing and, of course, we seek inspiration.

Vlad Dumitrescu, who proudly calls himself Illustrescu as his online persona, tells vivid tales through his illustrations, coming up with some futuristic vibes and promoting a positive mindset mixed with edgy details.

He adopts a variety of topics, from simple things that tend more towards minimalism to more complex ones, as surrealistic combos between real and fictional, urban aspects or hobbies. In this interview we will mainly talk about how he faces the challenges of being a freelancer in the creative field while combining passion with work and finding a way to make a living from his art.

CS: Vlad, finding your purpose in life can be challenging, but you seem to be pretty sure about your career path. Tell us, how did you discover that this lifestyle suits you?
V: Well, first of all thanks for having me on Cromatic Studios main stage :D. Well, I always loved art and drawing. It wasn’t easy to take the leap of faith, pursue my dreams and passions, but for sure I have no regrets that I did so. Actually, everything started when I said to myself that I have too much time on my hand and I need to learn everyday something new or at least to improve my skills. Short after working as a freelancer and selling my skills on different platforms, everything started to evolve genuinely. I have crazy ideas for the future every day.

CS: That’s great to hear. We wonder what inspires you in your artistic journey – any people you follow in particular, any places or “rituals”?
V: I can fill pages to answer this question because I have a wide variety of artists that I follow.  I’ll try curate the list of those who influence my work a lot as efficient as I can. So here they are:

And we should never forget our own either. We have a lot of great talent from Romania as well.

CS: Wow, that’s quite a consistent list. Scrolling and surfing time for a whole weekend for sure. Going back to your work, how much time do you usually spend on an illustration and what’s the creative process behind it?
V: The process is simple. Firstly, I need to know and feel my client, discuss with him and be sure I understand his needs in order to prescribe the best “medicine”. When getting into the creative part,

I usually have my work breakdown like this: research, moodboards, drafts, working on the actual illustration.

I spend as much time as I need to be sure that I deliver the expected quality. I never look at the time cause I have too much fun doing this.

CS: We recently noticed that you will be a teacher at Pixellab, helping people learn more about this field of graphic design. What gave you the drive to share your knowledge with others?


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V: Yes, together with the guys from Pixellab I will have a digital illustration course, teaching students how to use Adobe’s Illustrator tools at their full potential and try to give them a little insight on the process of creating. The decision was simple, I know I’ve struggled in the begging and learn a lot of stuff on my own from different sources, so I want to reach out and, using my experience, give a hand to the people who want to start in this business. I still have a lot to learn myself, but it’s a continuous process.

CS: That’s cool. Sharing is caring after all. Now, one of your series that really catch our eye is the one including romanian cars and presidents – where did this idea come from and what did you want to express?








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V: The Dacia project is a personal project and I wanted to share a timeline of evolution. The cars alone didn’t express too much and I was like “let’s make it funny” so I attached every “Great” President of our magical country based on the timeline. I should add a few more from the present day, but we don’t have so many versions of Dacia, nor such “great” people leading us.

CS: Touché! Apart from your personal projects your portfolio has a lot of custom made stuff like t-shirts and stickers too. How do you get to the clients or better said, what are your struggles as a freelancer?
V: It’s hard to start on your own. Scary, I would say, but it’s totally worth it. You are your own boss. As long as you believe in yourself, develop every day and put passion in your craft, it’s a wonderful feeling. There are downfalls that can drive you crazy, but freelance is a good starting point to get experience and see how the business goes around. After some years you can get freelancing to the next level, building your own brand, thinking about yourself and your artwork as a company. If you take care of it you grow it. Like a bonsai 😀 (love them by the way).

CS: That’s a great piece of advice for any creative freelancer out there. What about the practical side of graphic design, the softwares? Any tips about that?
V: Be patient, give yourself time to develop by exercise, reading and learning. Have fun with it, enjoy it!

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and expose your work

CS: Words! What about self imposed rules, freedom of speech or the ever-debated political correctness? Is there something you would not illustrate and post online under any circumstances.


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V: This is a complex topic, but as long as your illustration is not targeted, as in you draw exactly that person doing whatsoever and you mainly express the idea that annoys you in a fashionable way, I agree with that. To be honest, freedom of speech is the most important for everyone, but illustrators need to express anything in a decent, fashionable way as for the people to easily get the point. I wouldn’t illustrate or post something to destroy or damage someone’s image.

CS: Keeping this in mind, do you have any favourite topics you want to focus in the future and you find challenging?
V: Lately I’ve been inspired by daily events and I try to capture them. I think this is the most challenging thing to do as an artist, but it makes you have a real connection both with the illustration and the world around you. In my last Instagram post with the pickup player and the beer, I was actually doing that in the moment of creation. Also I’m thinking to get into some “Raising awareness” themes with different subjects from around the world.








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CS: On a less serious note, do you recall any funny moment while working on a project?
V: Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a big client who loved the artwork AT FIRST SIGHT. We all know that’s a miracle in this world of hours so I went nuts in the house screaming and dancing around like a jester at the royal court. I would have been a good subject for hidden camera. It was a funny scene.


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That’s a wrap. This is the second episode of our first “season” of interviews that will focus on romanian creatives. Stick around for the next one.

Our aim is to create a hybrid map where we pin artists and designers from various fields but have one very specific common thread: a challenging vision towards traditional mediums.



Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies S01:E01
Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies S01:E01

Interview with @paultenn: Bucharest through the eyes of a graphic designer

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