All attempts to get some juicy, tidbits out of Vector Illustrator and Designer Simona Pfreundner failed miserably, but that's okay. Her response of "Yes, but I'm not telling" is enough to whet our appetite to learn more about this uber-talented artist.
Beginning a Career in Design
At 39, Pfreundner got a bit of a late start in her design career. Starting out in 1996 (on a PC!), she lamented that she wished she took a computer science class during her educational years to get her career started earlier. Needless to say, the last 14 years have been good to her, as she's enjoyed the successes of having her print work featured in publications such as Exclaim Magazine, Muzik Etc, and some trade magazines, like Canadian Musician Magazine.
As a child growing up in Germany, Pfreundner was shy and quiet. The oldest of three children, she realized her affinity for art when a school assignment required her to draw a dog and her mother couldn't help her. That assignment began a path that had only one destination: becoming an artist and designer.
While she calls herself a designer, that word really doesn't illustrate the variety of mediums that Pfreundner creates with. In addition to traditional graphic design that incorporates print and web, her portfolio includes illustration, 3D mockups and photography.
Go ahead and ask it, we did. What CAN'T she do? Well, according to Pfreundner, she can't decorate her Montreal apartment "to save her life." She also tried her hand at watercolors, which didn't work out that well either. But when it comes to design, the one thing that she really wishes she could do is design fonts, which she considers to be "a very special gift." Her lack of ability designing fonts doesn't matter when you have a portfolio as impressive as hers.
To create her "stylized" and "quirky" designs, Pfreundner looks to everyday life for inspiration, especially the bus. However, like all creatives, sometimes the ideas don't come to fruition. "Sometimes I open Illustrator and it feels like I never used it and everything looks like crap. These are the days when I know I need to step back and relax." And for her, relaxation comes in the form of traveling or hanging out with friends, all the while enjoying some chips, the Quebec Poutine, German beer and her favorite cocktail, Campari Orange. Not all at the same time, of course. Not that it would matter as Pfreundner leads a very active lifestyle, partaking in various physical activities such as jogging, skating and outdoor ball hockey.
She also enjoys a variety of TV shows and movies in her down-time including Dexter, Lost, Fringe, Some like it Hot and Slumdog Millionaire. She also admitted the last book she read was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. She didn't mention if she liked it or not, but since the book title was followed by a smiley face, we're guessing she did. Maybe being a "Twi-hard" is one of those juicy tidbits that she refused to give up. That's okay…we won't tell. Pfreundner's website, Spgrafiks.com, lists her offerings as print, illustrations, 3D, web, photo, yet that does not illustrate the order that reflects her passions. As she explains:
[My order of preference is] Illustrations, Print, 3D, Photo, Web. My first love is Illustration and Print is something I enjoy doing [as] it is great to see an ad come to life and be printed. 3D is something that I would love to do more often and know more about. It is great to create something so photorealistic without it even existing in real life. I enjoy Photography and Web is cool, but coding can drive me crazy (another smiley face).
Vectors & Vespas
One of her most popular print creations is in fact, what got her noticed by the folks at the Tuts+ Network. Her Vespas image was noticed by a network editor on Flickr and she was invited to write tutorials for Vectortuts, which she has been doing for a couple of years now. Vespas are one of her favorite objects of inspiration, but she doesn't own one…yet. Owning one has been a dream of hers for the last twenty three years and someday she will own one of those older models that she fell in love with during a holiday in Italy.
"Stay true to yourself, and everything will follow" is Pfreundner's advice to up-and-coming designers. Over the years there have been a couple of instances where clients have asked her to "make it look like" another designer's work, to which she says "goodbye and no thank you." It's this artistic integrity that makes her very well-respected among her peers.
"It is easy to get influenced by other designers and designs, but I really try to develop my own style and translate onto paper the ideas and images I have in my head."
A couple of those ideas and images currently in the works is a bottle design (shrink wrap) for cream martini with different flavors for a client and some personal illustration that she wants to make into a children's book. Maybe this book will contain some dog illustrations like the ones that got her started, thereby passing the torch onto the next generation of artists.