Interview: Richard Perez, Designer and Illustrator

San Francisco based illustrator and designer Richard Perez categorizes his work as “simple, vibrant, and playful”, and the sticker packs he created for Path Messaging definitely fall into this description. Here he shares with us his love of vintage animation, cats, and the importance of doodling.

Q: Tell us a bit about how your career began.

A: I started drawing superheroes and cartoon characters when i was just a 5 or 6 back home in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I remained passionate about illustration and design throughout adolescence, so I decided to pursue a career in it. I came up to San Francisco for design school and landed a job at a great creative studio, Office. This past year I set out on my own to focus more on illustration.

Q: From where do you draw ideas and inspiration?

A: The creative community here in SF and online is one of my biggest inspirations. Seeing what fellow illustrators are doing helps push me to try and do equally awesome work. I’m also still inspired by a lot of old illustrators and animators from the 50s - 60s, so much of that work looks so fresh and clean compared to a lot of what is out there today.

Q: Tell us a bit about your experience and creative exchange with Path.

A: I’ve know Path’s design director Jenny Ji, since I was in design school, and worked with her at the first internship I had so long ago. When she asked to hop aboard this project, I jumped at the chance.  

Path gave me a lot of free range to go and explore these ideas, and go to quirky places with some of the character ideas for Charlie the cat. It was great to have that, given that a lot of my work is helping flesh out someone else’s ideas, so building something from scratch and my own mind’s eye was nice.

Q: Give us some insight into how you came up with the concepts for your sticker packs.

A: As for Charlie, I am the proud parent of two cats.  I wanted to create a feline character doing things I imagine our cats would get into if they could. For the Nom Nom set I wanted to create a cornucopia of food items that users could utilize to communicate what they feel like eating, only way more fun than just a simple emoji.

Q: How do you envision your stickers being used in Messaging?

A: I hope people just have fun with them, and they cause a reaction for the person who receives a sticker in a message, whether it be a smile, laugh or a confused “huh?!.”

Q: Any advice to those just starting off as designers?
A: Keep at it! Draw everyday if possible, keep a sketchbook doodle out whatever random ideas pop in your head. Many times characters and concepts come from crude rough sketches that grow into awesome things, so having that visual doodle log is an essential tool for me.