Cabeza Patata AKA Abel Reverter and Katie Menzies, despite being a studio with a distinctive style and creative output, sort of happened by accident. A couple outside of their work, Kate and Abel have “always fed off each other’s creative energy” but, before Cabeza Patata it never had a “specific purpose or name”.
“One afternoon in February 2018 we decided to do an experiment translating a simple 2D illustration of Katie’s into 3D,” they recall. Although not in love with their first result, it sparked their interest and about a month (“and a dozen illustrations”) later, “people started asking if we were a studio, and at that point, we became Cabeza Patata.” Today, Katie, an illustrator and craftswoman and Abel, a 3D artist and animator, fuse their skills to create a signature Cabeza Patata look – round heads, thin necks, and dynamic compositions. With nods to the work of illustrators such as César Pelizer, Cabeza Patata’s work stands out for its fascinating combination of flat illustrations and 3D-modelled characters.
Clothing is a massive part of the duo’s process, especially with Katie’s background in embroidery. What their characters are wearing, and how it looks within an illustration is as important to them it would be to a fashion designer creating clothes in real life. In a recent commission – their first editorial one, Abel and Katie created a series of characters for an article on fashion for the New York Times.
“[It] came as a complete surprise,” they recall. “It has given us the confidence to approach more editorial illustration and realise that our characters have the potential to appear in many different contexts. We went above and beyond in this project and gave as much love making the digital clothing as we would have if it were a real fashion shoot.”
Another turning point in the duo’s approach occurred during a recent personal project titled Music & Movement. The series began as a single illustration in collaboration with Motionographer’s Step by Step series. The works are indicative of what makes Cabeza Patata’s portfolio so compelling: they are full of energy and vivacity, conveying a jovial aesthetic through composition and colour.
Currently, they are working to push the signature character style they have become known for. “For a recent project with Google we created a new set of characters with a totally different style and we’re currently exploring more variations while keeping the same cheerful, bold aesthetic,” Katie and Abel conclude. It’s a decision we’re sure will continue to see Cabeza Patata’s work appearing around the world, on the pages of magazines and in murals in your home city.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.