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.