Meet Zara — illustrator, designer and compulsive doodler

On January 23, Zara Gonzalez Hoang of Manka is back to host her popular workshop “Oodles of Doodles: Creating a Daily Doodle Practice!”  This fun and creative workshop will be held at Hatch in Norfolk. We recently asked Zara a few questions.  Enjoy and remember to register today!

AIGA HR: How did you get started in illustration?

Zara: It sounds cliche but I’ve always doodled. I have stacks and stacks of old sketchbooks full of the weird and wonderful things I drew as a kid. (My favorite thing to do was apparently combining animals to make new animals — for example Horse + Tiger = Horsger). From there, I just kind of stumbled my way into illustrating. I studied graphic design in college and would try to incorporate bits of illustration into what I designed. Over time I started getting illustration jobs along with my design jobs. I don’t consider myself just an illustrator though, my illustration is very much influenced by design and printmaking.

AIGA HR: Can you (briefly) describe your creative process?

Zara: I work in a variety of media. I tend to go through phases of being very digital or very analog. I keep multiple sketchbooks, a “digital” one and a physical one. When I’m drawing in my physical sketchbook it tends to be a lot of black and white — I like felt tip pens and brush pens. Pencils if I have them, but really anything will do for doodling. When I’m drawing in my digital sketchbook I tend use my Cintiq (a tablet with a screen you can draw on) and Photoshop with custom brushes or lately I’ve been messing around a bit with Illustrator and creating custom brushes to add a little edge texture to what is traditionally a very flat style.

AIGA HR: What is the most fun part of your job?

Zara: The variety. I get to work with clients, I make my own products, I collaborate with other people. Every day is something new. I feel particularly lucky that I am able to do this for a living.

AIGA HR: What are 5 things that are inspiring your work right now?

Zara: Repetition, blue, red, black, and wood

AIGA HR: What do you hope people will experience at your workshop?

Zara: I hope people will experience the child-like joy that comes from letting go of all of your inhibitions and self-doubt and just doodling for awhile with no judgement.

AIGA HR: Where can people find out more about you?  

Zara: I just moved and it seems that my digital life is in as much disarray as my physical one at the moment and I am planning on doing a bit of restructuring of things in 2016 but you can find me in a few places:

Instagram: (general doodles) (shop updates)


Twitter: (general dribble) (shop updates)

Web: (illustration site) (shop site)


By aigahamptonroads
Published January 8, 2016