Capturing Life’s Vibrancy: In conversation with Illustrator Louise Coutinho

Hailing from Brazil, London-based illustrator Louise Coutinho delights in breathing life into ordinary stories and everyday spaces - our homes, communities, and urban landscapes.  Full of vibrant colours and playful compositions, her illustrations celebrate human interactions and are full of joy.

Why did you decide to take up your creative trade?

I always loved to draw, but growing up, I never considered making it a career because my family had very traditional jobs and were not so keen to encourage a career that might not be financially stable. They were more supportive of Fashion Design though, which I did love and decided to study, but it wasn’t until the end of the course that I realised it wasn’t my thing. After graduating, I had a break and joined several drawing courses until I realised I could draw for a living, so I came to the UK to do a Master’s in Illustration, and since then, I’ve been developing my practice.

How do you get past creative blocks?

To be honest, I don’t really know! Every time it happens, it feels like I won’t get out of it. But like any low phase, the key is to give it time. When I have a creative block, I fight against it until I tire myself out and have no choice other than resting, distracting myself, and finding a way to get curious again, and then when I see it, I’m back on track! And all the things I did to rest add to my practice. Maybe with time, I should force the break earlier in the process, but perhaps experiencing the struggle helps to find answers, too! Another thing that certainly helps is talking to my creative friends about it.

What is your creative process?

When I get a brief, the first thing I do is read it calmly and make notes. Then I put it aside and sleep on it to let my mind wander without forcing a solution. Then, after a couple of days, I read the brief again and research different approaches, which I share with the commissioner. Not only do I try to respond to the brief as much as I can, but I also keep in mind what I would be proud of working on and how I wish my work to develop – this way I can push myself to do the best work I could think of, which gives my practice continuous growth.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I get a lot of inspiration from social media, for projects that I would love to do, as well as always referring back to core references of my life and upbringing in Brazil. This is so that I create illustrations that resonate with the work I admire. I also love product, fashion and interior design and I try to keep up with what’s happening in the industry, which naturally evolves into playing a part in my illustrations.

What are you reading or listening to right now?

I’m a big podcast listener and I’m currently listening to creative podcasts, Creative Boom and Mimi being two of them. They are always insightful and motivate me to keep going with my practice!

Music-wise, I listen to a lot of Brazilian music, Jorge Ben Jor being my current obsession.

How do you switch off?

I like to go on walks and explore nice neighbourhoods with my partner, catch a movie in my local cinema and hang out with my friends.


A big thank you to Louise Coutinho for contributing to our series of creative conversations with industry experts.

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