An Interview with Italian Contributor Danilo Sanino

Today we share with you an interview with Danilo, an Italian designer and a Freepik contributor. Danilo began designing at a very early age and has turned his passion into a career. You can find him in Freepik as ddraw. Have a look at his portfolio, where cute designs full of colors play the leading role.

Discover more about Danilo, why his designs are quite popular on our platform and learn from him the best recommendations to succeed in Freepik.

Hi, Danilo! Tell us about your experience as a designer? Has it always been your passion?

Hi! I love designing. I’ve been drawing since forever. I began at a very early age, and I have never stopped. When I was a kid, I used to spend the whole time drawing animals (cows and chickens were my favorite) and I did it all the time: in the afternoons, after school, and even during class!

To me, designing was, and still is, my escape route. Whenever I had free time, I took a pencil and a piece of paper and let the imagination fly. Drawing has always helped me to go beyond my limits, and now I can happily say that it has become a real job!

Apart from an outstanding designer, you’re also a Freepik’s contributor, how did you decide to collaborate with us?

A member of Freepik’s team contacted me some years ago and offered me the possibility to become a contributor to the company. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share and sell my artwork, so I became a contributor right away. That’s how this adventure began.

In your opinion, what are the best aspects of being a contributor in Freepik?

Well, Freepik is one of the leading platforms in the microstock market nowadays, meaning that a lot of users access the content it offers. Thus, as a graphic designer or as an illustrator, it’s a huge opportunity to share and sell your content. I have a vast portfolio, so Freepik is a perfect gateway to showcase my work to the rest of the world. In fact, sharing content on Freepik has helped me to expand my network of clients.

We’ve seen that your portfolio is full of cute animals, colorful landscapes, and adorable characters? Why this style in particular?

There is a reason. Years ago, I worked for the Kinder Ferrero company designing the illustrations included inside the Kinder Surprise egg. As these were intended for children, I guess that it’s the reason why I work with this style in particular. Besides, cartoons, cute animals, and colorful landscapes are very popular, and these are the most downloaded resources from my portfolio. Creating cartoonish resources relaxes my mind and helps me improve my designing skills. Plus, I love drawing animals, like when I was a child!

vector funny dragons

set couples contributors

farm animals cartoon


Also, among all these fun and colorful drawings, there are some “darker” illustrations. Why is that?

I’ve always liked this sort of “dark” and “scary” characters. I use them as a way to represent my inner fears. I know that the contrast between these two styles is striking, but, as a designer, I don’t want to focus exclusively on a single style or theme.

girl terrified cartoon


dark bride corpse

When developing new content, where do you look for inspiration?

I don’t look for inspiration in any specific site, to be honest. During my career, I learned which themes and designs users prefer, and why, so I stick to that. The reason why I come up with different ideas is that I experiment with new things each time. I try to make the most of my technique and improve my skills every time I start something new.
However, the key for me is to find a balance between what I love designing and what is popular in the market. It’s just a matter of trying out and experimenting (and paying attention to what users demand!)

What do you do when you lack inspiration?

My inspiration goes for a walk more often than I would like, I must say. So, in these cases, two methods that have proved to be quite effective for me.

When nothing comes to my mind, I just turn off my PC and go outside. I like to ride my bike and go to a natural setting. I find nature quite inspirational, and it helps me to break away. On other occasions, having a look at my portfolio helps me to get inspired. I create a totally new project by using my previous designs as a reference.

landscape beach

hen rooster cafe

Has it been always easy to be a designer? Which difficulties have you faced as a designer?

It hasn’t always been easy. Being a designer requires hard work and study, practice, and discipline. The most challenging part for me is to meet the client needs. But I guess it’s just a matter of patience.

Is there a particular trick you use in your designs and would like to share with other contributors?

If you just began illustrating or are planning to, my recommendation is to start making it manually, that’s to say, on paper. First, create a clean pencil drawing and then recreate it digitally. I work with Adobe Illustrator.

Drawing your illustration on paper keeps your original style, your soul, in the final design. So, next time, try to make it manually and then, turn it into a digital file with Adobe or any other software you work with.

Name three things you do when designing

  1. Listening to music
  2. Watching Youtube videos
  3. Sharpening the pencil (I do it quite a lot).

To finish this interview, could you name three things you like about Freepik?

  1. The dashboard is quite intuitive, and you can check there all the information regarding your earnings and the most downloaded images.
  2. Freepik’s staff is always ready to answer my questions and doubts.
  3. One of the best things about Freepik is that invoices are generated at the end of each month.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Danilo! If you really like his work, visit his profile now. Do you want to join our universe? Become a contributor, and let’s create together!


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