Tamara Hadeed is a self-taught freelance illustrator with a background in digital design and a knack for creating fun and sexy feminine characters. She’s based in Caracas, Venezuela and recently had her work featured on a major Venezuelan soda product by Coca-Cola. Her advice to budding illustrators? Always improve your skills and experiment!
Find strength in improving your skills and you’ll find the confidence to draw the way you see it in your mind.
Killer Creatives: How did you get your start in digital art? What were your first influences?
Tamara Hadeed: I have a bachelor degree in Computer Graphic Design (2005). Around 2002 I was very interested in electronic music and the whole graphic scene developing around it. My first influences were the fliers to those parties, mostly playing drum and bass and hip hop. By that time it was clear to me that Graphic Design and Illustration were powerful communication tools, and I could mix both and feel free to experiment with them to make art.
KC: What is your biggest challenge as an illustrator?
TH: My biggest challenge is being an autodidact illustrator. I always feel that there’s a lot of background that I’m missing, but I try to keep up, practice and learn every day. Every time a client comes to me with a project I see it as a chance to do something different, something I have never done before and prove to myself I always can do better.
Tamara’s featurette on Chinotto’s YouTube channel
KC: Your artwork is on cans of Chinotto Light soda. Can you tell me how that happened? How does it feel having your work on a product owned by Coca-Cola? That’s pretty huge!
TH: Ufff! Yeah! It’s the first time a brand that big showed interest for my own style. It’s been crazy because this project started 2 years ago with a meeting with the client and a deadline of 2 weeks. After that, a lot of things happened in Venezuela, and the project was delayed. A year later, they restarted the project and shot a commercial and printed the cans.
It takes a while to digest that the same artwork is on buses around the cities, and they kept our signatures on every presentation. [I’m grateful for] all the support I’ve been getting from my family, friends, and online friends telling me they saw me on TV. And the first time I saw a 6-pack of my cans at the supermarket — seems unreal.
KC: How do you decide on which projects to choose?
TH: When you are a freelancer it’s hard to say “no”. I’m always available for work. I don’t have much time to do my own thing, but I’m always up for collaborations and exhibitions.
KC: What types of projects do you most enjoy working on?
TH: I love doing custom work, especially if it’s for fabric printing. I also like video making, animation and coloring.
KC: Some artists have a hard time finding their style starting out. Do you have some advice for them?
TH: Have patience. It will come. The important thing is practicing every day and knowing when to start over. Find strength in improving your skills and you’ll find the confidence to draw the way you see it in your mind. Be humble to nice comments and stay open to constructive critiques. You will often think about your style and the way it’s going. It’s OK to wonder, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting and trying to find better ways to communicate.