Striving for those "ah-ha" moments, the Argentina-born illustrator believes that illustration has the power to connect with people.
In a world full of constant information, Pablo Tesio's illustrations are a refreshing break from it all. Straightforward and bold, it's an aesthetic that he adores due to its merging of handcrafted techniques and digital simplicity. "Little imperfections on the lines or the use of heavy textures can turn digital art into more 'palpable' visuals," he shares. "It feels more intimate and unique."
It's also a style that comes naturally to Pablo, who was born in a small town in Argentina and immediately fell in love with the process of idea-making. Growing up, for instance, he nurtured a curiosity for the world through his pursuits in music, painting, writing and drawing; he later became a creative copyrighter for major global brands. These experiences enabled Pablo to exceed in communicating complex subjects in a direct and compelling way – a skill that's transpired into the present day through his graphic illustrations.
"Colour is also very important," he continues. "I try to keep my colour palettes to three or four colours at most." To Pablo, certain shades have the power to spread awareness of a particular subject or message at hand. Or, it can "completely ruin a beautiful image". To avoid the latter, Pablo focuses his attention on both the idea and the mood of the drawing, pinning certain colours to different emotions. Bold reds and oranges will be used for urgent matters, while pinks and light blues will portray a calm or soothing topic.
While working with a specific idea, Pablo will kick off the process by devising a list of all the different elements that he could include, either in his head or by hand. "Then I try to connect them in unusual ways," he says. "The fun part is to make it interesting by combining them in a fresh new way." For example, if it's a piece looking at bars and requiring proof of vaccination, Pablo will opt for something a little more surprising than the typical cocktail or syringe – he strives for those "ah-ha" moments from his audience.
Mood Swings, for example, is a recent piece that's based on his experience of waking up and feeling sad one morning. The piece sees a headless character swinging between two faces – one smiling and one looking gloomy. He adds: "You know...when the good old existentialism hits you with the first sip of the morning coffee. After breakfast, I ran to the office, started reading emails and forgot about it. But then I was like, 'hold up!', and started to reflect on how our fast-paced lives don't even let us have time to understand our feelings. We go from happy to numb to excited, like we are all doing emo-parkour. I received a lot of messages about it, so I guess that personal feeling resonated with a lot of people."
Above all, Pablo believes that illustration has the power to connect with people and, ultimately, stir emotion – "to spark a thought, a question, a laugh or even action," he concludes. "I believe that those 'a-ha!' moments can untangle emotional knots or unlock understandings of oneself. It can change the way we see things or perceive different matters. That's why consumerism and political campaigns rely so much on it. It's a big deal."