Ignacia Ruiz

Ignacia is an illustrator and reportage artist who works primarily with drawing and printmaking. She recently finished an artist residency at the print studio Opificicio della Rosa in Italy and her clients include Penguin books, Editions Zulma and WPP.

Why CSM?

My initial plan when I came to London was to stay for one year, have some good experiences, refresh my brain and move back home.

But about 9 months in, I got an offer to study on the Foundation course and really loved it. I really got pushed to do my best work and after that I decided to carry on onto the Graphic Design and Illustration BA to develop my practice. 


Come with an open mind and ready to push yourself. There is a lot of work you can do in your own terms. CSM can be a very rewarding experience if you want a more quick, independent and self led pace.

It's easy to feel lost if you expect a lot of direction!


I was lucky to have a few freelance jobs as an illustrator when I was still a student, and since then some of those clients became more regular. I use the network of people I met here quite a lot, and often my clients come because of word to mouth recommendations.

I also contact people I like and send them work. With illustration it's sometimes a waiting game in which you may not be suitable for a project right away, but maybe in the future. I try to be around.

A useful tool I often use is social media to promote my work. I've had clients contact me based on things they have seen on my Instagram feed and so on.

When I work with reportage drawing, Instagram is perfect to capture the live element of it, and I think people enjoy that dynamic.

I always try and have a personal practice as well in order to keep pushing myself into new territory all the time. Commercial work is often not very nurturing and I feel like the only way to keep yourself interested and your work interesting is to have personal projects that speak to you

I also work part time as an associate lecturer on the Foundation course and summer short courses at CSM. I like being around people who want to learn and make things, it keeps my brain ticking over.

Live drawing as voyeurism

I think live drawing is the only method that has allowed me to capture the freshness and atmosphere of a place or event, in part because you are interacting with the people in that moment in a very intimate way. Drawing someone requires you to really look, so the energy of that exchange can be intense. You are a bit of a voyeur I think…You really take in a place when you draw, you really examine it. I remember every live drawing I've made when I've travelled more so than the photos I've taken or conversations I've had.

It’s great for your memory too. 

The difficulties for me are also based around people and public interaction. I’m a chronic introvert and it can be a daunting prospect to draw in public. At the beginning of my career I was truly out of my comfort zone.

Working in busy environments

I went to draw at London Pride in June and I had several people come over to talk to me and photograph my drawings. It was really nice! I guess it’s an icebreaker as well, especially when interaction with people is not your forte!

The great thing about it is that you feed off the busy street, or an uncomfortable crowd, or the speed of a boxing match…

Everything I avoid when I’m getting on with the day to day (crowds of people, noise, the obnoxious aspects of city life) I love when I draw. It’s the complete opposite mentality to the point that I think it's probably a coping mechanism of sorts.

I often get people peering over my shoulder and snapping pictures.

People often ask me to design things for them, but I usually never hear from them again. It's all about the fleeting moment I guess, and I'm very drawn to those experiences.

Five years on

Hopefully I'll have a bigger client base, more ambitious personal projects that branch into other areas and still taking my sketchbook everywhere! I aim to have that as a constant throughout my career.