Meet Samantha Lopez, an illustrator and designer based in Los Angeles, California. Samantha currently works full-time at Honey, a product that helps automatically apply the best coupon codes for you when making online purchases. When she’s not at the office, Samantha loves creating illustrations and learning how to animate them. Check out her beautiful home workspace and why she’s a big believer in producing quality work over quantity.
Where do you work? Tell us about your space.
I work and live in Downtown, Los Angeles. As much as I’d love to be home all day, most of my ideas tend to pop into my head when I’m at work. I’m so happy to work in a creative environment that helps me push my skills forward both personally and professionally.
At home, I share a desk with my boyfriend who’s an engineer and prefers a clean desk. I, on the other hand, like to have my stuff everywhere: Papers, art supplies, stickers, books—I need them! It makes me so happy to be surrounded by stuff that inspires me and helps me work harder.
What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?
Everything I make is created in either Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or After Effects. I use a Wacom Intuous Pro for my all my digital illustrations. For my ‘hand-drawn’ work, I use Kyle Webster brushes (that are now included for free through AdobeCC). These brushes make me feel like I’m still sketching on paper, without the mess of paper.
Having a second desktop has made my workflow so much more efficient. I usually have my laptop open with whatever program I’m using and my other desktop has color inspiration, a tutorial playing, or just a Pinterest board with pretty stuff to look at. It keeps me focused on the task at hand rather than switching between tabs or different programs while I work.
Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?
Since I started a full-time job at Honey, my routine has changed quite a bit. I used to start any project with a pencil and a sketchbook, but now that I’m on the computer all day, it’s so much easier for me to sketch in Photoshop. I have a huge file called “sketchy.psd” (no one will ever touch it with this name!) where there are hundreds of layers of random little sketches I make between projects at work. When I get home I usually pick one or two of my favorite ideas and refine from there!
How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?
I tend to get very ambitious. I’ll start a sketch and halfway through I’ll think to myself, “What if this is animated instead!” and try to build out an animation. I usually never finish it, but I won’t be satisfied if I don’t at least try. I may not be creating the quantity of work I’d like to, but I enjoy experimenting with different styles, techniques, and programs to improve the quality of the work I do. I’m currently learning how to use Cinema 4D and that’s forced me to think about design and illustration in a whole new way. I feel like I’m spreading myself pretty thin trying to learn it all, but it’s crazy to see how learning 3D or animation changes the way I approach a branding project or a 2D illustration. I think all the learning is paying off!