For creative Cynthia Alfonso, her work, and the process of making it, is always “in continuous movement”. What this movement might be. however, depends massively on how she’s feeling, seeing her use visual communication as a way “to apply everything I absorb every day”. Consequently, her portfolio is built up with a mix of comics illustrations, which have garnered a unique following, and animations too.
Cynthia uses the two mediums within her practice for alternate reasons, depending on what she’s hoping to communicate. Comics, for instance, is more of a tool for her in the illustration sense. “I’m not thinking so much about what I’m doing in the comic book,” she points out, instead focusing her attention towards “what is helping me to convey the things that I need to express,” she says. “For me, it is not an end in itself.” The format of a comic – its multiple pages and panels which split up these pages – allows for this element of conceptual storytelling to breathe encouraging “many more possibilities than telling a closed story”. It also encourages the illustrator to push herself out of her comfort zone, in an attempt to play with illustrative language, rather than a verbal one.
This visual language has also been subject to recent change. A switch in colour palette is particularly noticeable when looking at her body of work over the past three to four years, with even Cynthia herself commenting on how “there was a great leap in my work”. Moving on from a dark colour palette to “play more with geometric and minimalist forms” has given the creative’s work a calm quality, expressing “the maximum with the minimum” and describing her current output as one which communicates the force of simplistic illustration, needing her work “to be direct and understandable.”
Animation, on the other hand, came about for Cynthia from her studies. Following a master’s degree in the subject, she’s recently decided to revisit the medium after one day wondering “how my drawings would be moving”, she describes. Considering the medium “to be more proficient”, Cynthia now works closely with her “partner in crime” Óscar Raña. Following years of studying together and general collaborations, the pair now have their own animation studio in Vigo, Spain, under the moniker of Rapapawn.
The similarity between the two media, however, is that both require a frame by frame approach, one that sees her utilising a colour palette and shapely illustration style that has become her signature. “Working frame by frame allows me to have a greater facility when it comes to giving continuity to stories in a comics format,” she sums up of her cross-discipline practice, “as well as incorporating scenes with a higher cadence and movement in them that would otherwise be unthinkable, and vice versa.”
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