Soleil spent four years studying Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts, which is part of the University of the Philippines.
At first, Soleil will work up an image using pencils and sometimes a bit of watercolour. She’ll then scan it in and add to it in Photoshop. When she was a graphic designer, her style was minimalist, and this shines through in her illustration a little bit too. She keeps her colour palette quite spare and even when an image has a lot of detail in it, there’s a clean overall feel.
Feminine, edgy and strong, her style combines expressive, stylised main strokes with a touch of realism. She balances textures and negative space to emphasise certain areas of her illustrations, and has a particularly unique way of drawing hair. This, she says, goes right back to her roots when, as a child, she drew countless pictures of The Little Mermaid.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Soleil: My love for Ariel - from The Little Mermaid! I was obsessed with her when I was a kid.Question: Do you have any formal design training? Soleil: Yes. Took up Visual Communication at the University of the Philippines.Question: Where are you originally from? Soleil: Born and raised in Manila, Philippines.Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Soleil: Right now I am in New York City, pursuing Continuing Education at Parsons School of Design and School of Visual Arts.Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Soleil: My studio is 30 minutes away from my house. It's a small space that I share with my boyfriend (who's also an artist, but more into fine art/low brow). We try to keep it looking black and white and minimalist, but always fail because we just have too many things.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Soleil: I’ve been taking animation classes here in New York and so far I am really proud of what I’ve been able to do in class. I didn't know a lot about it before so this is really something new and different for me. Always a good thing to learn something new!Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Soleil: I think an ad campaign or collaboration with any of the top fashion and beauty brands; or something with an amazing creative director with a great vision. And a project that would require me travel the world! Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Soleil: Antonio Lopez, Artaksiniya, Kelly Thompson, Jo Ratcliffe, Laura Laine.Question: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? Soleil: Travel to Europe! Soak up all the art, architecture, and all the different cultures.Question: If you could travel back in time, who would be the one person you would want to meet? Soleil: I recently went to this exhibit of Antonio Lopez with his works and he seems to be a very interesting person. I’ve always loved his art so it would be amazing if I could talk to him and pick his brains.