Focus: Elena Alonso Interview

Focus: Elena Alonso Interview

Focus explores the creative talent within the climbing community.

Spanish illustrator Elena Alonso's work is intricate and complex in nature. The Madrid-based climber takes inspiration from her time outdoors to create both hand drawn and vectored illustrations of flora and wildlife. 

How did you become an illustrator?

I suppose you do not become an illustrator, an artist, a musician by just wishing it, or working hard on it, but because of an irrepressible need to express to the world what you feel. That need has always been latent in each phase of my life. I had times in which I tried to silence that creativity (doing what others wanted) until there was a time where I stopped listening to the rest to start listening to myself.  Drawing is the tool that allows me to capture the emotions that invade me when I go to the mountain, when I surround myself with its beauty.

Did you study art or teach yourself?

I did not study art. I never received drawing or illustration lessons. I became an illustrator in a self-taught way. My inspiration is from nature, travel and from observing other artists and photographers. You can only improve by creating, failing and reinventing yourself.

How did you teach yourself and develop your skills? 

To develop my skills I observed other artists, experimented with other textures and materials, used a notebook to design patterns and make collages with them, but the commissions are what really made me develop, because you have to put yourself in the shoes of other people and investigate how to express their emotions. The commissions make you discover yourself and that you know a new version of you.

How did you define your style?

My artwork is characterized by detail and mime in each line. The main element of my artwork is the flora and wildlife; they inspire me and transmit strength and tenderness to my creations. The color is very important in my artwork, but lately I have used black ink on white background to get a cleaner stroke.


What advice would you give to anyone looking to become an illustrator?

I’m not good at giving advice—but if I had to give one piece it would be this: Surround yourself with the people who make you grow and just do what makes you happy. I think this is the key to becoming what you want to be.