Artist Orlando Arocena Interview

Artist Orlando Arocena Interview

While searching through many images on-line, to find unusual art and found someone doing vector illustrations. Nothing new with that type of work, but the artwork is terrific.


Orlando Arocena is the artist and he agreed to do an interview with me and here it is:

TCT: What design program do you prefer working with and which one did you start illustrating with?
Orlando: I primarily enjoy using Adobe Creative Cloud.
When working on design layouts / promotions- I use Adobe Photoshop for all purpose image manipulations and Illustrator for any stylized branding or communications.
But when it comes to doing my digital art / illustrations its definitely Adobe Illustrator all the way!
It was quite an honor to actually be commissioned to do the their Adboce CC 2014 start up image.


TCT: What is your favorite tool or effect and how do you use it in your illustrations?
Orlando: In consideration of illustration, I’m a die hard Traditionalist and still believe real creativity isn’t found at your local department store nor should it rely on plug-ins or effects. That stuff is great for motion and digital image manipulators, it facilitates time and budgets….BUT when it comes to Illustration- I’m very biased and have no patience for those that allow plug-ins to drive their creativity. I say make it from scratch and feel proud.
My favorite tool in Illustrator has to be the one that continues to challenge me the most – the linear / radial Gradient tool ( not mesh gradient tool). But I’ve just started having an abundance of fun with the Paint Brush. Mixed together, these two are a combination that’s better than chocolate and peanut butter ( or maybe even Nutella).

But here’s my opinion- the computer is just another tool from the Traditional Artbin…but it all relies on how you manage and explore YOUR creative voice.


TCT: Who or what inspires you?
Orlando: What inspires me?….Many, many things…. Art History, Folklore, Music, Science, Puzzles, my peers all these things I compile best into one word… Culture.

MAJOR TOM © Orlando Arocena_2013
TCT: What is your creative process?
Orlando: If we’re talking about vector art, then here you go- I spend about an hour a day driving and thinking…mentally sketching in my head about the topic, the composition, and the elements I might need to use as references. Very rarely, when I don’t have my Illustrator or wacom on hand, I sketch a quick ballpoint into my 2” x 3” Moleskin ( why so small?- because I’m only exploring very loose compositions- I’ve been known to sketch in aisle 9 at the grocery).

I rarely scan and then trace over – Yeah, I know that’s how everyone does it, I did too way long ago….But you have to break from conformity and comfort if you want to stand out.

I’d rather approach it like Jackson Pollack or Joan Míro- running with the built up excitement and allow that to be a benefit to the piece. So, I plot out, draw shapes with either the pen / pencil tool- but often I just open gradient loaded shapes and run paying a bit of credit here and there to Venetian painters …yeah, ART HISTORY RULES!

TCT: Any suggestions for beginners who want to do illustrations?
Orlando: Yeah- regardless of your preferred arsenal of tools, study and explore Art History.  Be inspired enough to pay reverence to it, while pursuing the fun exploration of your own creative voice.


TCT: How long have you been doing illustrations?
Orlando: Well like the rest of us- I’ve been drawing since a kid.
The actually act of doing illustrations as income- well it was stop and go since 1997.  Back in 2003, I was once given the opportunity to start up an Illustration department for Tracey Locke, the team that does a majority of Pepsi promotions.  I didn’t go full speed ahead with vectors until probably 4 years ago. Now, I’m so addicted to Illustrator that I can’t go to bed without having explored a new vector.

TCT: How did you get started?
Orlando: I took a long winding road after graduating from Pratt Instutute in 1994- back then there weren’t computers in every home nor was there a steadfast reliable internet….so I graduated without knowing the computer. But it’s been a fascinating trek through the wilderness of Fine Art , Commercial Design and everything in between- even doing Security at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for two years was awesome!!

But because Fine Art wasn’t supporting me enough and I was curious about commercial design/ branding… Decided I wanted to invest and learn about that particular culture. So down that road I went as a Fine Artist inspired by Sun Tzu.

I learned valuable things regarding how brands and agencies up hold relationships and promote to solicit reaction from their target audiences….yeah, I was in that world for about 18 years…then “things happen for a reason” and decided to do design/strategy consultation while also pursuing my creative endeavors with vector. In 2013 I was fortunate to have a solo show at the Lodge Gallery – NYC- titled Traversing the Vector. About 18 hand transfer vectors on to wood here’s a link >

TCT: Do you use a tablet or sketch on paper?
Orlando: I use a Wacom Intuos 4. ( paper only when I’m at the grocery shopping and thinking).

TCT: Anything else you would like to add to inspire our readers?
Orlando: Yes, Thank you very much for this opportunity.
And to everyone f out there I am very grateful for your support, so please keep the emails and Behance messages coming. OH yeah- when it comes to anything created deserving attention – YOU NEED TO © it and then find the means to get Exposure. I find Behance the best global stage to share and be inspired.

As for one last bit of advice….wise words from my Father- who wasn’t an artist but was a carpenter/ fisherman… “in the pursuit of what you believe is best for you… try to be like the Shark. No, not evil or malicious like how Hollywood portrays him, but more like the sleek, natural representation of “confidence” that it is.

Why? Because a Shark only knows one way to survive, and it has everything to do with constantly moving forward.”

Orlando's Show

To see more of my vectors or keep up with me, please visit:

You should check out Orlando’s work at the links above and let him know what you think of his art.

If you know an artist or designer that should be interviewed please let us know at:

The Creative Tablet.

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