ROBERT SAE-HENG

As a recent graduate you are faced with an exciting yet tough world. Jobs are open at every angle on the lookout for new talent. But where do you go and what do you do? Do you go with what your degree taught you? Do you even go into what you took as a degree? More than often the degree that was studied opens up many more options within the subject area. Whether it is from Physics to Mathematics you can lead off from the main stereotype of job, leading to pathways that only you know of.

Drawing (literally) it back into the creative sector you have an amazing amount of choice, but one chap who has stuck with what he graduated in is Robert Louis Sae- Heng.

Having graduated from illustration, Robert is now promoting his degree loud and clear through commissions and amazing designs for companies. So what happened coming out of university to the run up to now? Let’s get chatting.

Nicola Manuel: Hello you. Lets get a bit of an introduction going on to set out who you are and what you do… What kind of illustrator are you and what’s your favourite type of food?

Robert Loouis Sae- Heng: I’m not trying to be any kind of illustrator, I am just trying to leave my mark in the world.  As for the food, I’m always looking for the best burrito in town.

robert sae-heng the March 1_2000
‘The Walk in Pitch Dark’
An illustration for client in Dubai.

NM: Tell us three facts about you that set you aside from everyone else.

RH: 1: I’ve had an interesting upbringing having been brought up in various places throughout the world such as Mexico, California and Thailand before moving to London.

2: I was mute and deaf till a late age which lead drawing as a form of communication and as a friend I could return to everytime.

3: I draw inspiration from my diverse backgrounds and various art forms and mediums. Having taken an interest in street art many year ago it has broaden my audience  and creativity.

NM: Having graduated from university in 2009 you’ve built a great success for yourself to date. How was it coming out of university and how did you go about building yourself to where you are now?

RH: Like any graduate, its a real struggle to even find your feet.! It took me a year or so after uni, to even decide what were my goals in life. I had to hit rock bottom in order to gather and find the motivation that I needed to push myself towards my goals.

robert sae-heng street
‘Stella Forever’.
Robert painting in the streets of London.

NM: You have the nickname ‘Rubbertoes’. Explain!

RH: It is from a really bad Mexican joke I have been saying throughout the years which as seem to have stuck.  Bare in mind I’m half Mexican and my name is Robert.

Question: What do you call a mexican with Rubbertoes?

Answer: Roberto…

NM: Describe your style of illustration in a sentence.

RH: My illustrations play on aspects of mexican and thai traditions, are then mixed with my own sense of energy and imagination to then create the world you see in my artwork.

Robert Sae-Heng chapter 6
‘Becoming A Successful Illustrator’.
Chapter opener to a book out this year on Bloomsbury Publishing.

NM: Your illustrations are really quite unique, with fantastic characters like pink unicorns to intricate detailing entailing different places. What are your main intentions behind your illustrations?

RH: In many ways its a form of a diary. My characters are based on people I have encountered over the years. These characters have appeared numerous of times throughout my personal and commissioned pieces of works.

NM: If you were to illustrate one thing in the world what would it be and why?

RH: I would love to paint alongside the new york ad-muralists and maybe some day paint one of my pieces on the same scale as they do.

NM: You have just completed the branding for Taqado’s Mexican Kitchen website (stunning may I add). When you were set the brief how did you go about your creating those initial ideas into reality?

RH: The company already had a clear idea of what they were looking for. They found and wanted me because my style and themes matched their brief and the rest is history.

robert sae-heng sleight of hands
‘Sleight of Hands’.
When two Mexican wrestlers go head to head to see who will be The King Of Tricks.

NM: What is the best and worst thing about working on commission?

RH: The best things is that I get to work on briefs that I would have never of thought of myself. The worse is when you have to illustrate something specific and it has to be realistically depicted.

NM: With a successful branding identity under your belt, along with numerous other illustration goodies your work is going from strength to strength taking you across the world. What do you aim to achieve within the next 10 years?

RH:  Traveling the world illustrating for international companies and live in a giant tree house with a sneaky pet raccoon.

Time for those almighty quick round questions…

What/who is your favourite…

Illustrator: Dave McKean

Place: It’s tricky one to pinpoint a favorite place! I think mine would have to be Scotland! Everytime I go to Edinburgh I go to ‘The baked potato shop’ and order a small haggis with a cheeky potato. As I munch away, I sit on the only wee table they have, I get my sketchbook and doodle away.

Food: Burrito(es)!

Joke: The rubbertoe joke as mentioned above, which lead me to literally get the word ‘rubbertoes’ tattooed on my toes!

Memory: My favourite memory is probably from when I was a wee child. I lived in a small village 8 hours from Mexico City and used to chase the chickens and sit on the back of the pig and feed it apples. Those where the simple days…

Robert’s work really does span from everything. It started (and still continues) with murals painted by spray cans and now has moved to develop those intricate illustrations with that cheeky little ‘Bee’ the unicorn. She’s too cute! But seriously, he’s set out to become an illustrator and having now worked for clients such as Bloomsbury Publishing, Honda and Artek you could say he’s doing a pretty good job.

Have a look at Robert’s work here and also make sure you follow him on Twitter.

Robert Louis Sae- Heng. One chap whose name will sure be known in the future (quite shockingly you should know it now) and with a lovely personality to go with.

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