The new amazing Napa talent: Sofia Pusa!

Summer surprise! Another super cool illustrator joins our roster: SOFIA PUSA! In her works Sofia mixes different techniques like drawings, vectors & 3D. Plus she is a virtuoso when it comes to animated illustrations. See more of Sofia’s works in her portfolio here!

Sofia Pusa is a Helsinki-based talent, graphic designer and motion graphics artist who has graduated from Lahti Institute of Design. Sofia has a versatile background – she has also studied a master’s degree in business in Helsinki and Mexico City, worked in service design and strategic communications and volunteered in Ecuador. She now works full-time as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer and is passionate about her job. Her work is characterized by bold colours, surrealism, and clever ideas. Sofia’s work has appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers (e.g. Helsingin Sanomat), publications (e.g. Otava) as well as events (e.g. Provinssi music festival). In spring 2017, her swan illustration won the campaign picture competition organized by Helsinki Book Fair, the largest book event in Finland.

Hi Sofia! Would you tell a little bit about your background – when did you do your first illustrations?
I’ve been drawing since I was a child. For some reason, I vividly remember drawing a butterfly and in the midst of coloring I got terribly confused because I forgot which way around the wings were. In the final drawing, the second triangular wing of the GIANT butterfly is upside down, but the colors are as bright as my illustrations to this day.

I was always interested in art but at the age of 19 after Art Secondary School, my future plans were anything but clear and I ended up studying in Business School, traveling and doing volunteer work in Ecuador whilst finding myself. After studying, I worked in various communications and service design jobs until I found the spark for illustration and graphic design. My journey on this path continues and my passion for this work grows all the time.

How would you describe yourself as an illustrator – what is your trademark?
I love intense colors and I’m fascinated by the subconscious, dreams and surrealism. I also enjoy encapsulating the customer’s message into an insightful visual form.

What technique do you use in your illustrations and how did you end up with your current illustration style?
I strive to experiment with different techniques and mixing 3D graphics, handmade and natural materials into vector graphics. Finding my illustration style has been a longer process for me, which will surely continue forever. For one spring I also studies in Toronto, where I specifically focused on refining my illustration techniques and animation skills.

Could you briefly explain how the illustration process generally proceeds – how do you approach the assignment and when is the job done?
At first, I always pick up my pen and start to brainstorm and sketch the illustration to my notebook. I research the subject and try to sum up the most quintessential message of the assignment. Ideally, there is time to let the ideas blossom slowly and give the subconscious a chance to work out those ideas after the research phase. After that, I think about the color scheme and then make the illustration by hand or computer. The job is ready when something in the illustration clicks and both me and the customer are satisfied with the result.

You also make a motion graphics. How does that usually proceed?
How I work with motion graphics depends a lot on the project. When it’s a larger assignment, I always make a storyboard that visualizes the ideas and the progress of scenes.

What are the best and most challenging parts of working as an illustrator?
The best thing has been turning my passion into a profession! The most challenging part is to find time for your own projects, that give you a chance to get outside of your comfort zone without the fear of failure.

Could you describe your work environment and name the first 5 things you spot!
I’m just looking for a new workspace so all suggestions are welcome! Right now in my field of vision are the drawing table, Grafia magazine, a coffee cup, Evernote and the rainy silhouette of Helsinki in the window.  Basic stuff, haha!

What do you do besides illustration? What are your hobbies?
Lately, I have had a massive yearning for nature and during summer spending time at the cabin and travelling are the best. As a counterbalance for sitting at the computer, it feels good to do something physical and I also like to go to a gym or climb.

What has been the most challenging and rewarding work so far – what kind of assignments would you like to do in the future?
My most challenging assignment has been the interactive animation I made for Provinssi Festival to which, in addition to doing the illustrations, I also programmed the interactivity from scratch. It was also rewarding to see your own illustration in Helsingin Sanomat newspaper for the first time. I would find it interesting to cooperate with even unexpected customers and to think about how to make use of illustration in a creative way e.g in different events and experiences.

Current TOP 7:

Album: Teltta and hiekkaa – playlist, which we listened to on loop last summer on our Saaremaa – road trip
Book: Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Superhero: Pippi Longstocking, a congenital feminist
Exhibition: The Generation 2017 was a fresh ensemble
Movie: Interstellar
Artist: Ilari Hautamäki
City: Hoi An is interesting to me because of my upcoming trip to Vietnam

Welcome, Sofia! We’re happy to have such talent as you in Napa!