#AdultingFears a personal project


Hi there!

(I really don't know how to start this posts, but let's do this)

It's been a while since I wrote my last post, a few things happened, one is I opened my own web. That's why I moved all my posts here and soon I will publish my portfolio here as well. 💃

One of the projects I finished recently is #AdultingFears. As you probably know this project took me a lot of time and so many people loved it that I thought to share all the process and the development like I did with Inktober 2016.

So, let's go!


Where did this idea come from?

I'm not the type of people who have brilliant ideas in the shower, I have my ideas before sleeping, when I'm thinking about all the things about my work and my conversations with my friends. Sometimes I think about so many things that these "thoughts" transform in ideas that I write in my phone (or they pass and die there)

Adulting Fears was something like that. On one side, I was thinking a lot about what I could make as a personal project for my portfolio in a short time and, on the other side I was remembering all my conversations with my friend Ana about being an adult: the management, the decisions, the personal battles, etc.

I realized that growing up is the idea of "having everything figured out at once", but we discovered that it’s nothing like that, it's a constant battle with the unknown. We all thought Mom and Dad had everything solved, right? But no, we don't know shit.


Development of the idea

After I had the idea I wrote the concept and a list of fears about being an adult. I had 31 fears that later I shortened to 24 fears so the time and work needed did not bother me.

Initially it was going to be a challenge for the month of May (that was me being a dreamer), I would publish one illustration a day. At the end, I would have 25 new illustrations for my portfolio with the same subject.

Since I needed to see it as part of one same thing, I thought of using a small color palette. Actually, I did not think too much in the colors I chose, I practically chose my favorite ones because I wanted it to inspire me all the time, but leaving me with room to play


So one night, mixing all this I started thinking in the list of fears and suddenly I said: I have to illustrate this shit.



It is a personal challenge inspired by my list of fears about being an adult. We grew up hoping that being adults would be like levelling up (like a game) to have it all solved, but no. As we grow up we'll face the ignorance and stress of this stage. As we grow we realize that life really is not as simple as it seems, it is complicated and full of scary things.

For the whole month of May, I would illustrate each of these fears (overcame or not) and share them in my social media with the hashtag #AdultingFears to show that we are not alone in this growing up thing.


All the illustrations had to be digital, why? Because, if you notice, I don't make personal digital illustrations so often. I'm extremely slow painting in photoshop and I get overwhelmed with the amount of possibilities, then I end up illustrating 5 hours with something that could have been 2 hours. I also wanted to try out some tools I knew existed but didn't use, like Kyle T. Webster's brushes.


The (not so) golden rules

I wrote a series of rules that later I didn't adhere to 'cause shit happens(later I tell you why). The idea of having rules is to establish limits to help me focus on what I want to improve at the end.

  1. Always use the same color palette.

  2. Not to raw full characters. I can draw human extremities, shapes, objects and animals. That's the first one that I did not follow at all.

  3. I have to post the illustrations daily in my social media. "Daily"

  4. All the artwork must be digital.

  5. Every 10 illustrations I must make an animation. I tried my best.


My program vs the reality

You already noticed I did not follow all the rules, and at the beginning I was like “Why are you like this?” But then I calmed down and I got back to business.

• At first I wanted to make just objects because I thought that would develop my conceptual thinking more (to think outside the box). I don't think it was a bad idea, but I realized it was not necessary. Later I saw how making a small version of me connected more with the concept/idea of the fear and later with the people, and that is part of my speech as an illustrator. That's why you will see illustrations with characters and others with objects.

•  My program about posting daily also fucked up when work and life crashed on my face. Even when I did some illustrations before the start date, the truth is at first I was quite slow on the computer, it took me about 3 to 4 hours in each illustration. Maybe for some other illustrators is not much, but for me it is. At that time I was working since 7am to 9-10pm to then make a 4 hours illustration. I finished my days at 1-2am. So at some point I decided I would illustrate every 2 days, then once a week and in the end it was when I could. #yolo

•  The whole idea of making small animations is because I really, genuinely, truly hate it. I find it extremely complex and I'm very impatient. They might look pretty but you have no idea of how much I suffered with that part of the challenge. In some point I decided I would not make animations every 10 fears, instead I will do it when the idea or concept applied better, like "My birthday" or “feeling sexy”.


What I learned…

The most fun part of the challenges is to see that first illustration and later the last one, because you see an obvious evolution, but for me it is also important what goes along the way.

• I improved my english and writing skills. Each post came with a text where I spoke about my familiarity with that fear. Writing and translating each one was a mess and took me a long time, but eventually I learned to write something cute, honest and a little more to the point. I had 2 great friends who helped me with this part and I love them a lot for helping me.

• I must never forget the pencil sketch. At first I developed the sketches in the same digital format and it was another long/slow process. I think faster and more accurately with pencil and paper.


• I must keep my time goals realistic in my personal projects. If I have a lot of work I shouldn't set killer deadlines. I can be flexible as long as I accomplish it.

• Developing a character was fun even if I did it unintentionally.

• I have a very particular humor that I almost never use in my illustrations, I want to use it more.

• I’ve never been able to decide on a color palette for my personal brand, after this challenge I think I already have it.

• Using a limited color palette definitely made me see color theory from another eyes. I had to use some color tones for things I wouldn't normally do and I loved it. It was also super cool for the photos of my store and this color palette makes my Instagram so much prettier. 😂

• I think that in the end I could have fused several fears into one.

• I like the style I was developing before #AdultingFears, the romantic girls love with her flowers and stuff, but the almost comic style allows me to show another side of my work in social media ad I love it. So, I want to continue working to combine both. I think I can do it with some illustrations.

• I think I should learn a little of lettering to see how that works with my illustrations. Use my own handwriting gives it a more personal touch that I really like.

• Sure, there are illustrations that I would love to do again.

• Motion graphics are not my thing and that's ok.

• Although many of the illustrations have sad expressions, those who have funny or strong expressions, such as Nr. 23 • feeling sexy, or Nr. 15 • Living the war are my favorites.

• Playing with the textures of different brushes gives a less flat touch to my digital illustrations that I enjoy a lot, some of those textures I brought them from my traditional practices.

Finally, connecting with so many people on this topic fills my heart. When you are starting as an illustrator it certainly seems crazy that there are people who feel like you or who connect with your work, who are afraid and who confront their fears. But I really loved and enjoyed reading all those messages from you guys who raised their hands to say: “I'm scared too!”

Well, thanks for reading. I will wait for comments about your own personal challenges. Will you make one soon?

Remember to share this if you liked it and also if you want to buy some of these illustrations you can get them  in my store https://esvaleriadiaz.tictail.com/

I'm also on social media sharing my morning coffees and my opinion on the last chapter of #GOT or just a casual drawing.

Special thanks to my friend Sofia. She always help me with the translations. Follow her on Instagram. :)