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Meet South Bay Region Freelance Graphic Designer: Roberto Salazar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Roberto Salazar.

Roberto, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started designing at the age of 14, right out of a late middle school realization. I wasn’t too sure what my “talent or skill” was at the time, and was in such a position where I asked myself the question. “What can I create or make that has never been seen before, not even with my own eyes?” I never thought I was creative in any way before this. I started borrowing my older brother’s laptop and watching these designing videos called “Speed Arts.” From watching them, I gathered so much inspiration from the content creators, seeing how they could just start recording their computer screen from a blank canvas, to maybe a half-way executed idea or maybe a full blown art piece and usually the videos were sped up to five minutes or less. Eventually, I was able to obtain the software to start creating, in specific, Adobe Photoshop CS3 and from there I just let my mind loose. I would occasionally watch tutorials to help me nail certain techniques, and also help develop some techniques of my own. I can say that I am mostly self-taught, I’ve never received actual formal instruction on how to work with software, aside from the tutorials that I replayed over and over. I started publicizing my work on Youtube, I created layouts, icons, banners and anything else graphics related back when the site let you customize almost every aesthetic of your channel. For quite a while, I made everything for free. I would have people message me for graphics and were amazed on how prompt, accurate and attentive I was to the art I was creating for them, one memorable client said that “I shouldn’t be working for free.” I was younger at the time, I just wanted to expose myself and receive more clientele regardless if I was creating for free. It made me happy just to have someone put my art up somewhere, whether it be a personal wallpaper to a whole channel design package. I eventually phased out of uploading videos and eventually started designing whenever I had an idea to execute in my free time or when a client or friend requested some artwork. I’d occasionally have artists block, for months on end sometimes, but I always reminded myself to grasp ideas from life, like colors, clothes, scenery, interaction with others, basically just anything that could inspire me. I’ve been told that I pay attention to detail, even by strangers and I can kind of see what they mean but at the same time, it’s almost natural to me so I tend to forget I do that heavily. Now I’m 20 years old, I consider myself as a freelancer, I am also a graphic designer for a music collective called Neuvibes, a miracle worker for some, a part-time barista and I am always willing to learn more and more about this hobby of mine that I really enjoy very much, I would love to make a career out of this, without a doubt.

Has it been a smooth road?
The first obstacle was myself not believing that I was creative, even when I was in elementary school, I was never good at coloring or drawing. I would get frustrated at my “drawings” or not even attempt to finish because I was unhappy with my creations almost every time. I don’t draw much at the moment, but I’m pushing myself to draw more. The second obstacle was not owning my own computer for a vast majority of the time. I had to rely on my older brother and his laptop, plus he was going to community college at the time so I would take advantage of the time he would let me use it and he eventually let me keep it when I was 17. Although it was tough at times not owning a personal computer, I managed to keep people happy with my time management and creative output, clients, and supporters alike.

Any predictions for the industry over the next few years?
I’m not too sure on the outlook of the industry of graphics/graphic designing. I know that everyone on this planet sees images, brands, logos and icons all day, every day. It had become a part of life. I personally feel like it’s already an over-saturated industry, especially with artists that have connections within and out of the industry. Being a hobbyist, I’m unsure of what the future of this industry is going to become, but when time comes, I’ll be ready to adjust and deliver to obtain a career where I can give back to my family, supporters, and friends.

Has there been a particular challenge that you’ve faced over the years?
My biggest challenge was thinking I wasn’t creative, even when I was a kid. I always thought my hands-on/creative work was not the best, I’d finish drawing, coloring or erasing something and I would look around and observe how artsy everyone was in class. Drawing is included in that because it’s been a challenge that I have yet to overcome, but all I need to do is continue to practice. It’s come to a point where I want to take my designing into more of an “organic” path. That doesn’t mean I can’t execute my ideas or concepts,though!

What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
Sit down and really think how you want to make something happen. Visualize it and create it. You’re going to struggle without a doubt but just keep at it. Gather inspiration from life, not just the internet and learn the software of your choice like the back of your hand (i.e. watch tutorials, get used to the shortcut keys, customize the layout to your preference.) and PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE!

Contact Info:

  • Website: burgundy.carbonmade.com
  • Email: Burgundysuede@gmail.com
  • Instagram: BurgundySuede
  • Other: Soundcloud: BurgundySuede

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Image Credit:
“Ko-Fi” an EP by Jay James, Design credit: Jay James / Roberto Salazar

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