We had the good fortune of connecting with Guilherme Cahú and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Guilherme, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I believed I could make a difference in the world with my illustrations – an overly optimistic mindset. This is a difficult career, though. Even if it is possible to be a full-time illustrator here in Brazil, some segments of the market are more difficult than the others and it’s often better to resort to international clients due to the variety of demand and other aspects. The challenges of this job often make me forget why I decided to be an illustrator, but whenever I see problems related to causes that I intensely care about, like wildlife conservation and overall environmental problems, I say to myself: “that’s why I need to keep on going”.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m particularly focused on children’s literature and anthropomorphic animals. I’m usually drawing animals from Brazilian fauna, but I also like European badgers a lot. The kind of character design I’ve developed tends rather towards the animal form than the human form. Although I can work digitally, I’m usually finalizing my illustrations with watercolor and colored pencils. I’m currently working to position myself in the market as I’m updating my portfolio. Reaching such goals of having constant client work and establishing oneself professionally is not an easy task but I’ve learned that the common recommendation “never quit” is not enough, honestly. It is vague and seems like one is expected to keep hitting his head on a wall until it breaks. Instead of just trying and to keep going on blindly, we need to know the market we want to break into and position ourselves strategically. Quality work, quality contacts, and professionalism are keys to that. Regarding what I want the world to know about me, I want my art to be enjoyable to future readers and I hope it’ll leave a positive mark on them just like what those children’s animations from the 90s by Nelvana did to me. With my illustrations, I also hope I can help spread environmental conservation messages effectively everywhere and to inspire people to take action too.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here in Recife, Pernambuco, I’d take them on a tour to the centre of the city with its historical architecture, especially Mark Zero square, the Armory Square, Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue (the first one in the Americas), and Bom Jesus street, not to mention our bridges and museums like Cais do Sertão, Francisco Brennand Workshop and Ricardo Brennand Institute, which holds one of the greatest collections of armory in the world and has the largest collection of paintings by Frans Post. The museum/institute is dedicated to colonial (Portuguese) and Dutch (then they invaded) influences in Brazil and, in my opinion, is the best place to go in the metropolitan region of Recife, apart from the centre of the city, of course. The popular Market of São José is a good place too, as well as the beaches in the coast of Pernambuco.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m thankful to my family for their patience and support. This is something we’ve been building for the last ten years and it’s a very important development for us, especially for me. Shoutout to Lobo Borges, a Brazilian manga artist that is so skillful that inspired me to be a professional illustrator, especially because we’re from the same city. Other artists like Jerome Jacinto, Christopher Denise, Chris Dunn, Nicholas Kole, and Satoshi Matsuura are great inspirations for me and I’m happy they keep sharing their art online, as well for the fact that they kept going on and didn’t quit. This is when we recognize how our art is important to others. Mayara & Bruno (from Cuscuz Studio), Claudie Bergeron, Vimes, Guille Carcía, Toby Allen, Onirê, Maria Inês, Bruna Kaori, and Juliana Soares are some artist friends that give me encouragement, support, and guidance whenever we talk. People at Nobilis Fauna that I collaborate with, an NGO that treats and reintroduces giant anteaters to the wild, are always radiant when they see my illustrations, and that’s a very special kind of support as well.

Website: https://www.behance.net/guilhermecahu

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/guilhermecahu/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/guilherme-cah%C3%BA-13b03025/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GuilhermeCahu

Image Credits
Photographer: Giselle Cahú (@gisellecahufotografia)

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