Happiness Illustrations by Designer Renan Cardoso


Brazilian designer & illustrator, Renan Cardoso, has a few years of experience under his belt, but mostly in design work. He grew up in a family that had creative roots in it, his mother used to do a lot of craft work. His parents didn’t turn their artistic abilities into a profession or a career, like he did. They did support his desire to work in the creative field, and he is grateful for that. Renan is 29, and loves making happy drawings, as he recently told me: “I think it’s my responsibility to make people happy”, in regards to his happiness illustrations. Although fairly experience, he just recently started taking illustration in a more serious manner. I can see that he has a great touch, and we can expect to hear and see much more from him in the future.

crazy rice

Is illustrating something you always wanted to do? When did you start?

“With the influence of two older neighbors who loved to draw, I started doing some sketches. I was twelve at the time. When I had to decide my career few years later, I got fascinated with a new school of Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro. I graduated there as an Illustrator. Then I worked for a while, making some sketches and concepts for the exhibition design agency. I couldn’t believe someone would pay me to do what I used to do in my free time, it was amazing.

I didn’t feel complete with my knowledge of illustration only. I wanted to be part of the decision making in the companies I used to work in. I went back to school, and studied design with a marketing emphasis. I still worked as a freelance illustrator when requested.

With the knowledge of arts and design I decided to run my own business. I found out that being an entrepreneur is my thing, and that is what I’ve been doing since. I started working for agencies. Today I work as an experience designer.

What about the illustration, you ask? Well, it is part of me and I can’t avoid it. When it isn’t an illustration project, it’s at least somewhere in the process.”

horse back steak Happiness Illustrations

Where do you get your inspiration from? Is there anyone in particular that you want to resemble to?

“I get inspired not just with artwork, I mostly get inspired by people, their projects and life history. When someone succeed in their life projects, I get energized to accomplish mine, and start doing my own artwork. But of course, I do navigate everyday through artists work around the web. I mostly like illustration projects, but also look at architecture, brands, mobile apps, motion design and everything that sounds smart and fresh.”

bread with cold

What is your typical work process when you start a new project? What are the tools you use to create your happiness illustrations?

“I usually follow 4 steps:

1st – I collect all the information from the client to understand what is the problem, so I can propose better solutions (that’s how I became a designer). When I’m done, I end up with a brief.

2nd – I do research. Although I go through several projects every day, I treat it as a new opportunity for more inspiration and ideas. I save the images I think will work for the project, and set up a mood board.

3rd – Hands on! Sketch, sketch and then some more sketch. The more you solve problems while drawing, the faster and easier it gets while layouting and painting. Everything is easier when things are defined. Here is a tip: Good illustrators do amazing work just in few strokes. If you don’t think your composition is working, don`t wait for the computer stage to fix it.

I usually sketch on paper. Paintings are usually done in Photoshop nowadays. I work on a Mac platform, running Adobe CC. I also work with a Wacom Intuos. I did work for a while with traditional tools, like watercolors, ink, etc. But digital makes me more comfortable to make changes. This way my work is well organized in multiple layers for any changes I decide to make.

4th – The finishing step. Sending all files to the client and publishing it on my portfolio. (I must confess I haven’t done it this year, so I have a lot of projects to update).”

boyfriend in the oven

You seem to have a heavy dose of humor and playfulness in most of your work, why is that?

“Although I’m almost 30, I do have a child inside. I make jokes all the time and I’m a light person. I love watching animation movies, and I think it flows naturally to my happiness illustrations work. It is also what agencies are expecting from me, to bring that soul.”


Is there any one of your works, that you love best?

“I think my best work isn’t done yet. And I always want to think like that. When I look at my illustrations I know I could do better. Sometimes I have a better idea in mind for the last subject i just created. So for me, my best work is always my next one. I don’t publish all my projects since they are so different from one to another.”

ketchup chips

hotdog dog Happiness Illustrations

What kind of clients do you typically work for?

“I’ve worked for different clients and now I have been working for Ad agencies as an illustrator. But as a freelance designer, I include illustrations in the work process for my own clients.”

pen cassette tape

mentos coke cola Happiness Illustrations

Any tip you can share with the blog audience?

“If you want to do the same, and become an Illustrator, don’t wait for a job to stamp you as an illustrator. What makes you one, is the act of drawing, and making your ideas visual. Just get inspired and create your personal work. This will make headhunters find you. Just improve yourself with each work you create, and don’t blame yourself with past mistakes.”

princess frog

popcorn movie Happiness Illustrations

How can people get in touch with you?

“First, I would like to say I’m really glad to see my work with the other beautiful pieces here.
If you want to follow my work, Behance is the best option. You can also access www.renancardoso.com.
If you want to say something, my e-mail is contato@renancardoso.com.

Thank you!”

credit card present

ham cheese

king kong

toaster toast

tree tire

umbrella cloud rain

I would like to thank Renan for taking the time and talk with him. I sure hope to see more of his work in the future, especially all the ones i categorize as happiness illustrations.


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