At only 19 years of age Nelson Balaban has already done what a lot of designers find extremely difficult to do, set up a good client base and get hired for
commissions. Nelson has a strong hunger to surpass himself and explore the vast world of design. “Learning is never enough” he says, showing his true dedication to his art. In this interview, Nelson will share some of his insight on attracting clients and what designers should focus on!
1. Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?
I’m Nelson Balaban, 19 years old, born and raised in Curitiba Southern Brazil. Everything started from childhood… I’ve always been a fan of logos and illustrated books. When I discovered the internet at the age of 8, I was amazed by the graphics, typography (even though I didn’t know what typography was) and the basic design every major website used to have. When I was 12, I discovered Corel Draw and Photoshop, that’s right when everything started.
2. You describe yourself as a self taught designer, but since you are only 19 and you still have a lot of time in front of you, do you plan on going to a design school to further hone and improve your skills? If not then why?
Yes I do. Learning is never enough. I’m exploring the graphic design and illustration field now, but there is still so much to discover… I think that having a solid artistic background is very important so you can head towards different ways – I love motion graphics and anything built by processing. These are two fields I want to explore.
3. For the past year the majority of your art has been strictly commissions by different clients, why did you choose to go in this direction apposed to designing for your own enjoyment.
I didn’t really choose to go in this direction, it has been flowing naturally ever since I had my first portfolio online. I’ve been living on my own since 17, and doing what I like has been a great solution to get the bills paid.
I’ve been learning so much from working on my own, by dealing with clients… and still got time to make experiments and participate in exhibitions. I’ve got nothing to complain about it. Everyday I have a bigger giant to defeat, and that keeps pushing me more and more.
4. You have been extremely successful in attracting a large amount of prestigious clients such as “MTV” and “Oakley.” Could you explain to us what it took to get those clients.
All I can say is: things come naturally… All in all, it’s a different mission to accomplish, no matter which big brand of the moment you’re dealing with, the job has to be done the best way possible. Big or small, the client always has a brief and the numbers to reach. Honestly, I’ve been argued lately about how I got to work for such clients, and the answer remains the same.
It’s your job to get your face around so people can see you’re doing something. Self-criticism must not be bigger than self-confidence. Magazine features, news portals, there are infinite ways to show your work out there. It’s not only important for the ones who want to get commissions; it’s also important to get feedback and improve yourself as an artist and professional.
5. You recently collaborated with Josh Vanover aka SPACEKNUCKLE. Can you walk us through the process to create this brilliant design. Also give us the back story or meaning to this piece.
Well, by that time of “Idio”, one of the latest DepthCore releases, Josh and I decided to collaborate for on a specific theme. We aimed to create something that represented an individual world, a type-based illustration that involved elements related to someone’s interests and secrets being controlled by a bigger something. The process was somewhat a conversation between us, round by round being completed by different elements.
6. Out of all the advertisements you had to create which one would you call your favorite and why? Also, could you give is a brief look into how you created it.
The one for Oakley, I guess. I love to play with typography, and the client let me do whatever I felt right for the project.
7. Since much of your latest work has been commissions, do you plan on opening up a studio that specializes in advertisements for companies? Or do you plan to continue working by yourself in the future?
I think that there’s a lot to learn and experience, before being able to lead a team and resolve client’s problems working in the advertising field. I don’t want to bound myself within the illustration field… as I said before, I’m eager to evolve.
Art and design are limitless. They can be useful for so many mediums, advertising is just one of them. But setting up my own studio is one of my final objectives, that’s for sure – being able to collaborate with talented and highly competent people is something I definitely aim for.
8. Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Why thank you, it was my pleasure. Final thoughts? Less work, more fun :)
Where to find Nelson on the Web
Subscribe to the Psdtuts+ RSS Feed for the best Photoshop tuts and articles on the web.