Ready to leave reality behind for a moment? Step into the unreal imagination of Marly Gallardo — an editorial illustrator whose work is anything but ordinary. Today, get to know Marly a little better as she shares how she jumpstarted her creative career and what she’s got dreaming up next.
My name is Marly Gallardo and I’m an Ecuadorian illustrator, raised in the New York metropolitan area. Inspired by my bicultural upbringing and Magical Realism, I tackle projects with a fantastical and romantic approach. I introduce surrealist elements into scenes that skew the lines between reality and fantasy, and ease my audience into them with a sentimental jazz palette.
How did you get started in design?
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, I moved back to my native Ecuador and concentrated on building a portfolio. I wanted to work in the editorial world and my portfolio needed to reflect that.
One of my first and most challenging pieces — illustrating the cover of the New York Times.
A year later, I was based in Brooklyn and collaborated with an Art Director for one of my first and most challenging pieces — illustrating the cover of the New York Times. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working with Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, and more amazing clients that have trusted me to visualize their campaigns with my bluesy approach.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m currently on a year “sabbatical” from the New York beat and finding time to work on personal pieces. I spent a month traveling through Cuba and I’m now in Barcelona illustrating nostalgic scenes from my time on the island. Also, I just partnered up with Domestika.org, the largest Spanish online course platform, and will be shooting my first course this fall.
What else are you passionate about outside design? How does it influence your work?
I love photography, and regularly take my own reference shots for lighting, palette, and figures. Like photographers, illustrators are often working with one shot — I believe for both skills, we have to train our eyes to find the right framing for our characters and scenes.
Share your favorite piece of creative advice.
My friend Ghostshrimp once said something along the lines of, if another kid can do my work better than I can… well then it’s theirs. It only fuels me to keep making better work. This tip has helped me to stop worrying about theft in the industry and just keep producing. My work is only evolving.
Do you have any events, speaking gigs, merch, workshops, classes, or products you’d like to shout-out?
Stay tuned for my upcoming course with Domestika.org. I will be teaching a course focused on creating an illustration using text as a foundation to conceptualize from. I’ll go into detail about my process and how I go about my palette (subtitled).
Shout-out another Dribbble designer you admire & link to their profile.
My homie James Curran — check out his new 3D work!