Leo Espinosa’s Illustrations Celebrate Little Moments of Joy

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Leo Espinosa’s illustrations are an exploration of color and composition. “I pay a lot of attention to composition and color, which I tried to keep as limited as the tools I use,” he told AI-AP. “For each project, I choose only one or two digital brushes.” Each of his pieces begins with a pencil sketch. “Then I either scan them or take a photo with my phone, so I can use it as a loose template when I do the final artwork in the computer,” he explained.

His process relies heavily on his background in graphic design. “I chose to study graphic design, not only because I was inspired by record covers, rock band logos, and comics, but because I knew it would get me work quickly,” he admits. “Even though my illustration career didn’t kick off until the mid-90s, I like to think that I started working while I was still attending design school.”

But his career in illustration really took off when he came to New York in 1992. Working in a small design studio, he says he got tired of “giving away all the cool illustration assignments”, so he quit his job, bought a page in a couple of sourcebooks, and became a full-time illustrator. 

His work had since been featured in publications like The New Yorker, Wired, Esquire, The New York Times, and The Atlantic; and was showcased in galleries all over the globe. But you can also catch him on Instagram, where he has amassed well over 10k followers.