Illustrator Victoria Manzanilla embraces imperfection to help tell strong stories

Born and raised in Venezuela, Victoria Manzanilla is an illustrator and animator interested in art from a very young age. Having settled in Bangkok in 2018 after studying in Barcelona and Paris, she embraces imperfections and her heritage when creating her story-focused art.

After discovering new and unfamiliar cartoon animations during her research for schools and careers abroad, Victoria shifted her focus from illustration, painting and photography to include digital techniques. And with the industry moving more and more towards a digital approach, it proved to be a smart career move. "The rest is simple, I fell in love with animation, and I love to use it to bring life to my characters," she tells Creative Boom.

Even a quick look at Victoria's work reveals why she has been snapped up by clients such as The Visionist Advisers, Lionsgate and Root The Future Festival. However, she chooses only to work with clients who appeal to her and make her 'heart tickle'.

"I like that my work helps the world in a way," she explains. "For example, I really like working with NGOs and associations that deal with causes that are close to my heart. That's why editorial illustrations are my favourite thing. It gives me the chance to work with so many passionate people while helping and continuing to learn every day about the world around us."

With its handmade touches and scratches, her art brings together the best that digital and analogue art has to offer. "I like that my illustrations have grain and a level of imperfection that makes them more real," she reveals. "I am not looking for perfection but for strong stories to tell, feelings, the strength of character, in search of sensations. There's no need to be beautiful. The importance is in the emotions felt."

When it comes to what inspires her distinctive style, Victoria is quick to credit a ream of artists, including Claire Prouvost, Katie Smith, Cristina Daura, and Stefi Klein. "It's tough to say who my biggest influences are," she says. "With Instagram and Pinterest, there are so many inspiring works to see."

"Emma Hanquist is an amazing storyteller; with one illustration, she can say it all. I would love one day to be as good as her. My inspiration also comes from being Latina, with its reggaeton, its people, its street art, as well as the 70/2000's fashion. I am very proud of my roots, and it always puts me in the right vibe to draw."

Speaking of storytelling, Victoria has recently illustrated and co-written a children's book with her brother Victor Hugo Manzanilla. Titled Awaken Your Inner Superhero, the book is centred around children's fears and helps them to begin the process of overcoming them so they can live their lives to the fullest.

As for what she's working on right now, Victoria says: "Lots of projects, both personal and professional. I am currently illustrating a children's book, but I am always working on several projects at the same time and am constantly collaborating with different companies and people."


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