[Monday/Friday] Fernando Volken Togni
Ever wondered what freelance creatives really get up to during their working week?
Today we launch a new series: ‘Monday/Friday’ where we’ll ‘follow’ roving freelance illustrators on the go – we take you behind the scenes as we observe their daily process, document their daily routine and uncover their favourite city spots for getting creative outside the studio!
Let’s begin by telling us a little bit about yourself and your work..
I am a Brazilian-born illustrator based in London. My family has half Italian, half German roots. I graduated in Social Communication/Advertising and always worked as a graphic designer in advertising agencies in Brazil.
In the past 6 years I started working as an illustrator and developing a style and I moved to London three years ago when I got agents to represent my work. I realised that illustration is what makes me happy, so I slowly shifted my career to focus on that and now it is what I make for a living. I have a big passion for design and I illustrate daily life with attention to detail. I particularly like illustrating about nature, urban life and mysticism.
My style is essentially geometric and my compositions are formed by intricate elements. On them, I try to create an ‘organised chaos’ or sometimes being more minimal, I challenge myself to depict something organic-shaped in a geometrical way.
Monday: Café Fix 161
On any given week, where do you spend the majority of your working hours?
I spend most of the time working from home, where I have all the books, materials, infrastructure to work more comfortably. But also spend a lot of time in cafés and co-working spaces.
Tuesday: The Book Club / Photo © Sylvain Deleu
Can you share a few of your favourite city spots (London) that are great places for working?
I really like the Campus London in Shoreditch with great internet connection, lots of space, though in the spring/summer it’s quite difficult to focus when you are indoors. One of my favourite places is Timberyard Café in Old Street with lots of light and good coffee. Sometimes when I want complete peace and quiet I work from the British Library. Their reading rooms are great when you want to focus completely on a specific project which requires a lot of reading and research.
Friday: Timberyard Cafe.
Where is your favourite place to work and why?
I think a studio is the best place. I used to have one and I’m now looking for a new place. You can put all your stuff there, have a big table, use the whole space and still there’s the fact that you leave your house and go to your ‘office’ and see people.
Which place are you at your most and least productive, and why?
I think I’m most productive when I am at home/studio. I can put my headphones and deep dive into work. I’m least productive when I work from a café. I love changing environment and having a good cup of coffee whilst I see people around, but I am easily distracted so it might demand more focus to get things done.
I’m most productive when I am at home/studio. I can put my headphones and deep dive into work.
What equipment do you take with you when you’re working away from home?
Usually my backpack is loaded with: my laptop, mouse, pencils and sketchbook, headphones (those with noise cancelling are great) and wallet (you end up buying a lot of coffee when working away from home).
I can end up buying a lot of coffee when working away from home!
Do you have any interesting/amusing work-related rituals or habits?
Not rituals, but I am very visually organised. I have a cork board to organise my mind and my work schedule, so I need to pin everything I need to do in a week and every time I finish or accomplish something I bin the post its. It makes me keep track of things and organise my head in an easier way.
Is there a specific time of day when you’re most productive?
I used to be an owl, and spend nights working but now I changed it completely. My most productive time of the day is the morning, especially from 8 to 12.
Do you spend the whole day working in one place, or do you like to move around?
I usually work from just one place, to optimise time, but sometimes I just move between home and a café just for a change and to stretch my legs. I like walking a lot so I really don’t mind changing workplace.
What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about not working from the same place every day?
The fact of not having all the structure you need might be a problem. Sometimes the wi-fi doesn’t work or is limited, sometimes you need that specific book you have at home, sometimes you forget something on your desk and need to go all the way back to collect. On the other hand, you are always changing, seeing people, seeing movement and things from a different perspective. I am a very solar-powered person, so if I can travel and go somewhere close to the sea and still work from there, that makes me very happy.
It is good to have the freedom of travelling and carrying your computer with you.