We had the good fortune of connecting with Edmon de Haro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edmon, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The decision of starting my own business had more to do with the 2010s economic crisis than anything else. It was around 2012 that I unsuccesfully tried to change my job as graphic designer for a small innovation consultancy to a design studio in Barcelona. These were hard times and I understood that all the places where I left my portfolio were closing or reducing their budget (firing workers). So when I lost my job in 2013 I decided that woking as a freelance designer would be as risky as in any other place but the good point was that I could be more independent.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a graphic designer and concept illustrator. My work focuses on creating images with a clear message for the editorial and press market. I do magazine and book covers and editorial illustrations for any kind of publication.
I think that what sets me apart from others is my capability to easy communicate an idea with an image. My aim is that my graphic concepts can be understood by almost everyone. I adapt my graphic solution to that goal, using what I think is best to achieve it.
I started professionally by taking small book cover and regional newspaper illustration assignments. I did a lot of work on my first freelancing year but the pay was not much in my country, Spain. This is the reason that made me try to work for foreign clients. I was specially interested on US publications since I was aware of their quality and that many of them hired artist from everywhere.
So when I had a small (but somehow good) illustration portfolio I contacted some american magazine and newspaper art directors hoping my work would be suitable for their publications. And… lucky me! The Atlantic magazine offered me my first US assignment. I think they liked my approach and after a while I started a regular collaboration with the magazine. This made me gain a lot of real experience and also made me create a better portfolio with images published on bigger impact magazine.
One thing leads to another and a year later Marlena Torzecka from Marlena Illustration Agency offered me to represent my work –which I accepted with pleasure–I suddenly I started working for many new and interesting clients. Since then, the high number of projects and the complexity of many of them has been a constant.
Editorial illustration is an occupation that needs real fast reactions and solutions. An art director needs the final art on a week, on three days or maybe on three hours after she/he’s contacted you. This means you really need to be very efficient and use your time wisely but you also need to know your limitations so you take as few bad decisions as possible during the process.
Fortunately, these are capabilities that you can improve as you gain more experience and detect which are the errors that affect the project and the final art that is published. It’s not easy to accept and it’s a huge topic, but all beginnings are hard because of this lack of experience. But I was aware of it and on my first days I doubled the usual time for every project to be sure that I sent the best graphic solution I could do. Of course my approach on that projects would be very different nowadays, but I’m proud of them because still with errors, they were the best I could do.
If I think of the challenges I had to overcome maybe the most important was myself. I needed to work hard on my confidence to be sure I was as capable as other artist to work in this field. Hopefully, moving your –imperfect– portfolio and starting to get assignments helps a lot on this. (“Hey, this art director is hiring me? she/she’s nuts… oh wait, maybe not…”). This doesn’t help to think you are the best, of course, but to think that you can start your career and start learning a lot so one day you can be the best professional version of yourself, which would be my goal.
But of course I’ve had a lot of difficulties during the creative processes due to my limitations. Sometimes it’s hard to understand an idea or graphically summarize it. Other times I don’t have the knowledge to work on some technique. Others I have very limited time to come up with an idea…You know, that moments when you usually start to panic… I tend to overcome this panic by simply ignoring it and focusing on my work. I try to be resolutive: panicking involves a big loss of time and good work, and I can’t afford it. I work always the best I can and if the final result is not the best, I’m sure the experience will be useful for future projects. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shotout to my wife Mariona. Her support and positivity were essential through the first year of my freelance adventure.