Recently I was assigned a project which involved interviewing a working illustrator via email. It was actually so helpful I decided to share some of their responses. I was pretty lucky in that all the illustrators I emailed agreed. It was a great experience getting to talk to some of my heroes too! They all had some good advice to share, and so...
[Carlos Lerms] is awesome. He is a Mexican illustrator, working out of Cancun. He does a lot of poster work, and just recently started his own (blindly pretty) webcomic. If you check his deviantart (which is terribly inspiring and updated almost daily), you can also see a ton of works relating to pop culture that will probably make you laugh. (Here's one about winning if you have yet to tire of it.)
[Here] is a link to the piece Carlos talks about in Q3, his favorite assignment (lol.)
1) What sort of medium or programs to you use for your work?
I use digital mostly, illustrator and photoshop, but I always start with a pencil sketch, even if it's just a rough approach...
2) What are some of your favorite websites/magazines/books/publications for inspiration?
Abduzeedo.com is one, NiceFuckingGraphics (www.nfgraphics.com) , Omgposters, Yayeveryday... :)
3) What was your favorite professional assignment that you've ever done?
Once I had to do an illustration mixing Machete, Scott Pilgrim, and Harry Potter... it wasn't my best but it was the most fun :D
4) You have a really fantastic, bright style has it always been that way? How did you get there?
Mostly by just giving myself little challenges along the way... Trying to work in limited colors, then limited geometry, and suddendly letting go of restrictions and watching everything explode :)
5) What do you do when you can't come up with ideas? How do you manage stress?
I'm almost always stressed and tired, but it's ok if you're having fun... And about idea blockage, i don't believe in inspiration... If I can't think of something I just start working on something else, or researching... I never let myself stay still.
6) How do you advertise yourself/get work? What works for you?
Well, through my website mostly, and posting stuff on tumblr and deviantart.
7) Is your personal work particularly different from your professional work?
Yes, professional work is always what the client wants first... So it's very very different.
8) What's the best advice you would give a student aspiring to work as an illustrator?
Listen to a lot of music, Read a lot of books, watch a bunch of movies, play a lot of videogames, watch a lot of cartoons, and
draw the rest of the time... :)