Illustrator Zena Santos

Currently half way through an Associate degree in Multimedia design in Sydney’s Billie Blue College of Design, 19 year old Zena Santos has already had her work featured in idN and Computer Arts magazine. She also recently made it to the semi finals in the Cut & Paste 2D Design Tournament. At such a young age she has developed a very rich and vibrant illustrative style, and is one to keep an eye on in the future.

What have you been up to lately?
I am currently freelancing a little, but am prioritizing studies, because I just want to make my projects to the best standard for my portfolio, especially now that I do multimedia there is just so much to cover, like, maya, flash, dreamweaver and after effects. its very exciting though.

But something exciting I have been apart of recently, is the Cut & Paste 2d design tournament. i got into the semi-finals and am pretty happy about that. it was a tough comp with heaps of pros i was just happy i passed the test rounds and got into the finals, was such a great and thrilling experience and I found that I inspired a lot of people with how I used illustrator.

I’ve also been lucky enough to get my work a part of this year’s Curvy book. curvy showcases work of some very talented women.

But last year I got my work in IdN and Computer Arts Magazine, this was truly a dream come true because they have been instrumental in what my style and technique is today.



How did you first get into designing?
A love for photoshop! It just amazed me that you could  remove pimples with one click and friends were always requesting this.
Because photoshop was so amazing I really wanted to learn more about it so my parents (they are extremely supportive) bought me 2 photoshop books, one was for digital photographers and the other a quick start guide to photoshop. I would bring these book everywhere with me and bookmark anything interesting and try it when I get home, friends would tease that those books were my ‘bible’.

I found that I was illustrating primarily with the pen tool in photoshop and was hating the pixelation happening at times.  And so I tried using illustrator because I had heard in forums that they’re the best for the kind of work I did in photoshop at the time. but it was bloody hard to get my head around it first, so of course my solution was to get a quick start book for illustrator and man that helped so much. I bookmarked that book like crazy.

Oh and tutorials, that’s all I ever did, i’d do a tutorial a day while I was in high school, I actually took my studies for granted.

As for my works style, I just have an odd imagination I think to myself, that’s how we normally see this, what kind of unexpected twist can we give it and on top of that I give it an oriental hue.
I think oriental art is the prettiest and most relaxing aesthetic. But the work I find in Computer Arts Magazine and IdN are always a constant source of inspiration.

Do you have a favourite artist, or artists?
I have one all time favorite, his name is Matie Apostolescu. I first came across his work while in a bookstore and saw his work as the front cover of a Computer Arts Projects magazine.
That particular piece was so inspiring, because it just drew me to the magazine and immersed me in the world he invented, ever since i’ve aimed my work to do the same, in that i want to immerse my audience too, and of course just have fun with it too. I have  a very spontaneous creative process. and that helps make a lively world.




What are you watching/reading/listening to/browsing at the moment?
Watching motion graphics and title sequences, I’m really into the idea of motion graphics to give my works narrative and breath life into them through movement and sound interests me immensely.
Reading lol After Effects and Maya Quick Start Guides.
I really like listening to Coldplay while I work, is a great website for inspiration,  And Creative Cow for Video tutorials on After Effects.
I know you haven’t asked this but I want to share my new obsession with sketching in moleskin sketchbooks specifically, they are nice. I fill them with any spontaneous idea that comes to mind and  refer back to them when working in illustrator or photoshop.

What would be your dream project to work on in the future?
Lol, to art direct and or produce a coke commercial/ poster. Doesn’t everyone in this industry ?
But really anything that involves creating a pleasantly colourful environment.



  1. [...] and more art at Australian Edge. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; [...]

    Be Amazed by The Illustrations Of Zena Santos «, August 23rd, 2009 at 8:16 pm
  2. Nice work! keep it up.

    photo_la, August 24th, 2009 at 10:15 pm
  3. omg dude this is so freaking awesome…. keep up the good work…. u are an inspiration to all of us……
    u better know who this is…

    antonio mkds, August 26th, 2009 at 6:06 am
  4. [...] and more art at Australian Edge. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; [...]

    Be Amazed by The Illustrations Of Zena Santos, March 30th, 2010 at 10:07 am
  5. [...] can read her interview on Australian Edge       Visit the orginal source of this [...]

    Too Much Stuff by Zena Santos | Bindarri Australia, March 30th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

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