Illustrator of the Day: Paola Pagano

black birds_colored.psdIt’s the final weekday of November, and which means that the exciting ride that has been ADC Illustration Month draws to a close. This past month, the ADC Blog has been celebrating the illustrators within the ADC community with our Illustrator of the Day series. Some are professionals, some are students, and some just draw for fun. All of them are card-carrying members of ADC.

Allow us to go out with a bang with our final featured ADC Member: a New York based illustrator whose work is “moody, whimsical, sometimes a little silly and always evolving.”


New York, NY, USA


Almost every kid likes to draw. When did it become more than just a kindergarten project for you? How was that interest nurtured?

One of my first memories as a child is my grandpa, drawing all sorts of animals and objects for me to color. He was incredibly skilled and I would watch and imitate his gestures. I doodled my way through high school (often on my classmate schools books if there was no more space on mine) and eventually by the end of it I knew it was all I really cared to do.

How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?

Most of it is self-taught, but all of the breakthroughs in the way I draw have happened all during schools, summer courses or residencies. Most of them taught me to know my process, know how to nurture it and be aware of when I am being self-conscious and the piece is looking so. I have a tendency to overthink my work, and in many instances school has helped me free my hand from my head.

How would you best describe your illustration style? Would you say that you had a specialty?

My style is made of quick expressive marks and a bright and assorted palette of colors, I would describe it as moody, whimsical, sometimes a little silly and always evolving.

I don’t know if I have a particular specialty yet. I definitely enjoy working on repeating patterns, both in space and time (gifs), food and people. Lately I am working on illustration and design of a series of book covers.

“I have a tendency to overthink my work, and in many instances school has helped me free my hand from my head.”

What’s your weapon of choice? Any particular brands or models you swear by?

I love pencil and water-colour, and I also use ink. Often I composite my images digitally after having created the mechanicals because it’s easier to make color changes that way. but if I am in a hurry I work digitally.

Finish this sentence: “Despite what you might think, illustration is not _______ .”

Illustration is not just about drawing and skills, it’s a lot about problem solving.

What other artistic passions do you have?

I like making things, cooking, carving. I periodically go through obsessive phases that often tend to be incorporated in my work process.

Which professionals do you look up to the most in the illustration world?

Viktor Koen, Jon Klassen and Alessandro Sanna.

At the end of the day, what do you love most about being an illustrator?

I’m happy when I work. And I think that makes me lucky.