5 Minutes with… Illustrator, Ken Samonte

4 weeks ago by

Design Assembly recently got the opportunity to chat with illustrator Ken Samonte to find out a bit more about what keeps him going.


Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you first got started in the industry

I was born in Manila, The Philippines, and I moved to Wellington when I was eight years old. I spent four years at Massey University studying illustration and graphic design, and in my third year I did a paper that involved working on a live brief (an early reader’s picture book about a gorgeous gorilla who escapes from a zoo). The client liked my work and that’s how I landed my first job. I’ve been freelancing ever since, and I’ve also been working full-time as a concept artist at Weta Workshop for almost a year now.

How would you describe your particular style of illustration?

I’d say I have a variety of different styles. Some of my work is quite painterly, some a little more graphic and bold. Early on in my career I worked on several books with a client who wanted a different style for each one so I think that allowed me to get used to working outside of my style comfort zone.

What excites you about what you do?

Knowing that I’ll never fully master what I do is really exciting. There’s always something to learn and so I feel like I’m heading towards whatever the opposite of a dead end is. Also, when I’m illustrating a scene, I like to imagine I’m opening a window into another dimension, and that’s also pretty exciting.

What does your typical working day involve?

In the morning I’m usually sprinting out of the house because I’ve snoozed a little too long and I’m about to miss my bus. It’s a 25 minute ride to work which I spend sketching and listening to music or a podcast. I get to Weta around 7-730am and nothing happens until I’ve had a coffee. Then it’s work until 6 at which point I’ll go home and if I’m lucky I have freelance work to get onto and if not, I can relax.

What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?

I can’t think of a specific one that I’m most proud of. I’m just generally proud of the body of work I’ve managed to accomplish over the years.

What have you been working on recently?

I recently got to create the artwork for the 2018 NZ International Film Festival. That’s been a dream gig of mine since I was a uni student so I was super stoked to be asked to work on it.

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

I like to think that if I can see it, I can draw it. So anything visual is a potential source of inspiration. Though if I’m being completely honest with myself, spending the majority of my life on a computer, I would say my greatest source of inspiration is the internet.

And finally, where to next for you? What does 2018 hold?

I’m trying to save up for a house so I’ll probably spend the year continuing to fail at achieving a work-life balance.


 



Up Next...

Fresh from the Field - Havana Brothers Cold Press Juice by Good Eye

This week’s Fresh From The Field features packaging design for Havana Brothers Cold Press Juice by Good Eye If you have new or recent work that you would like to share in Fresh from the Field email Lana for details. The brief: The Havana Brothers client had recently opened a bakehouse and were looking to produce their own organic…

More from 'Celebration'...

A Brush with Design: 10 Designers Dish on Their First Design Encounter — Shaun Lee

In the lead up to DA’s 10th birthday celebrations in March 2019, A Brush With Design asks 10 designers who have been involved with DA at various times to nostalgically recount their first memory of encountering design. In this fourth iteration we spoke with designer Shaun Lee. I didn’t learn about graphic design until I was 19.…