Jorge Artola is a Panama-born, Spain-based illustrator and animator. Almost one year ago exactly, he began working with us on art development for the collaborative single Cruisin between Cloudchord and G Mills. Following that release, last May, Artola handled the art for our sample-based Timezones compilation, which took its influence from Central and South America. 


For 2021, kicking things up a notch, Artola will be handling the art for all four of our Essentials compilations. Consider him the artist-in-residence, the architect developing the Raccoon’s newest escape. With Spring out (as of Wednesday), we felt it right to spend this Lazy Sunday chatting with Artola about the art and the process, complete with his early sketches and drafts. 



To begin, what do you think of when you think of Spring?

Well, I grew up in Panama City and there are only two seasons in the whole year (summer and winter), so even though spring is relatively new to me, it quickly became one of my favourite seasons of the year. Spring is the perfect time to start something new. It also brings ideal temperatures and the the mix between sunlight and blossoming plants creates an incredible set of color palettes everywhere.

Can you take us through your creative process for Essentials Spring 2021, from early stages to completion?

There was a lot of brainstorming at the beginning which is really important for me when I am facing such a big project like this one. The first challenge was choosing one of the many creative directions that we considered. After this, I got to the drafts/sketches stage and then the last part was adding color which is one of my favourite parts. I love to try and experiment with a lot of different color palettes and I rarely end up using the one I started with. 


What programs did you use to create this scene?

I always end up using the same software mix for my artworks: Procreate for sketching, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop for illustration and color but for this project, I used Cinema 4D for making a 3D model of the house so that I could easily have a reference from any angle of the house. 

Where did you take inspiration from for the visuals? What did you enjoy the most while working on this project? 

Nowadays we are over-exposed to the many places to find inspiration: social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to get inspired and catch up on what other artists are doing, but once we decided the direction for this project, my biggest source of inspiration was various architecture and interior design blogs. 



Is there any element of the artwork/scene that you related to while working on this project?

Sure, I love having plants. Especially now that we have to spend more time at home, I have bought more real plants to bring some life to the interiors. Oh! And, of course, my mini version of the famous Bic 4-color ballpoint pen that is always on my desk. I love its classic iconic design!

Any particular aspect that was more difficult/tricky than the others?

One of the most important challenges was making the decision of which creative direction to follow. It’s very important to leave many details closed at the beginning so that the project does not get out of your hands. 



What did you do to make the most of your time indoors during lockdown this year and last year?

2020 was a very tough year for a lot of people. I was lucky to have my profession and most of the time, I was working on illustration and/or animation projects from home. It was also the year in which I saw the most movies/tv series and in which I dared to try new things in the kitchen.

Outside of Chillhop Essentials, are you working on any other passion projects / art?

Yep! I’m planning to launch an online store with some of my artworks soon and I am also spending time on a secret project I’m working on!



What music have you been listening to as of late?

I know it might be a cliche, but I listen to a bit of everything. To relax at home, I obviously listen to lofi hip hop, but to concentrate when I’m drawing, I usually listen to house/electronica music and even sometimes hardcore/metalcore.

In closing, do you have any advice for artists working on their craft? Any final words of wisdom?

This may seem obvious but you always have to take time to draw for yourself and keep doing personal projects. When you start working for clients there is the risk of sliding into a spiral in which you forget or can’t find the time do your personal projects, but you have to remember that these are the ones that allow clients to see your true potential.