Monday, 27 November 2017

Etsy shop finds... a chat with Coco Gigi Design

This months etsy interview is with Gina of Coco Gigi Designs.
Hong Kong based Gina recently opened her shiny, brand new shop where you can buy her art prints featuring lots of lovely cute characters.
She loves to draw all kinds of animals and flowers with bold colours, mixed with hand drawn textures.
Alongside the personal work in her etsy shop, Gina is a freelance designer with clients such as American Greetings, WHSmiths and Bloomsbury, and also has several books published, 'Rain Rain Go Away', 'Animal Magic' and 'Let's Play', amongst others.

**Gina is very kindly offering readers of Loveprintstudio 
a 25% discount code on orders in her shop**

Just enter 'LOVEPRINTSTUDIO' at checkout.

So, lets get to know a little about the artist behind the shop shall we...

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background?

Ever since I was very little I’ve been very creative, my Mum was always taking me to miscellaneous art and craft classes and we would also make plush toys and knit together. 
I never knew that drawing pictures could be a real job, so I studied architecture in Mexico and Colombia (where I’m from) and then did a Masters in Interior Design in Italy. 
It was while working in an interior design studio in Italy that I discovered my love for illustration, and decided to dust off my pencils and to start drawing. 
I moved to Hong Kong and kept on working as an interior designer whilst also working on developing my illustration skills and portfolio. 
In 2015 I decided that it was time to be brave and do what I really wanted to do, so I took the plunge and became a full time freelance illustrator. 
Ever since, I’ve been illustrating children’s books, greeting cards, wall art and much more. 
It was a bumpy road but I think that I finally am where I’m supposed to be!

2. Tell us about a typical day for you...

Something that I love about freelancing is that not every day is the same. 
It really depends on what I’m working on but I usually wake up early and feed my cats, check on my plants and have breakfast. 
I start working around 7:30, either replying to emails or creating personal work for my Instagram - I’m addicted to creating time-lapse videos-. 
I then spend the rest of the day working on commissions from my agency - mostly children’s books - doing sketches, revisions and/or colouring. 
I usually work on two projects at the same time to keep things interesting. 
I try not to work later than 6pm but if there’s a children’s book emergency I’ll work until I finish! 
A couple of days a week I do yoga and go out for lunch with my husband.

3. Can you give us an insight into your creative process...

Ideas come to me from very random sources but once I’ve seen or heard something that inspires me I do a very rough and small sketch in my sketchbook. 
When I’ve decided on the direction I want to go in, I’ll redo my sketch bigger and cleaner to trace and colour in illustrator; I then add textures in Photoshop. 
For my watercolour paintings I choose a colour palette before colouring and like to experiment with techniques. 

4. What's your favourite item listed for sale in your shop?

It’s difficult to choose only one because they all have stories behind them but I really like the colour palette I used for my print Bears, rabbits and the moon.

5. Tell us ten random facts about yourself...
I’m from Bogotá, Colombia
I speak 3 1/2 languages (I need to improve my french)
I co-host a charity event where we make sock toys to donate to children in need
I have lots of plush toys in my studio
I love pyjamas
I don’t like wearing socks
I played the viola for 7 years in a youth orchestra
I don’t speak any Chinese even though I’ve been living in HK for 5 years
I love travelling to see animals in their natural habitat
I have a travel and style blog

6. How would you describe your work?
I would say that my work is sweet, charming and colourful. 
Nature has always been my big source of inspiration; from big fuzzy bears to tiny little ladybirds, I love creating delightful designs with floral details that put a smile on people's faces. 

7. What books/magazines are you currently reading?

I love reading! 
I just finished The girl who takes an eye for an eye by David Lagercrantz - It’s the continuation of the Girl with the dragon tattoo series written by the late Stieg Larsson. Not design related at all but a great read. 
I also read The Aye aye and I by Gerald Durrell and now I feel so inspired to travel to Madagascar!

8. What makes you laugh?

Lots of things like memes, cat videos, puns and comics.

9. Who are your design heroes and what inspires you?

I have a really long list of people who inspire me. 
Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas for the colours and textures in their paintings, Yayoi Kusama for the boldness of her installations, Katie Daisy for her use of colour and lettering, Mirdinara for her attention to details and Mary Blair for her use of colours. 
I try to take elements of what I like in their art and mix it with my own point of view.

10. What's the most rewarding thing about being a designer/ illustrator?

I feel very fortunate to be able to do something that I love and to get paid for it. 
It’s so exciting to see my work for sale in products around the world. 
I love receiving emails and comments from people telling me how much they or their children love something I created with my very own hands. 

A big thanks to Gina for taking the time to be part of the etsy interview feature, and giving us an insight into her world.

You can follow Gina on various social media below...

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