Brazilians in Art: The Latin American Artists Revolutionizing Illustration

Get to know the Brazilian artists who are changing the illustration industry!

Jay Perlman

São Paulo is a big city. Like, real big.

To give you some perspective on its massive nature, São Paulo has more cars than Rio de Janeiro has people. A Paulistano friend of mine once told me that, depending on traffic, it can take seven hours to get from one side of the city to the other.

It's an immense area like no other; a place where hustle and bustle is a way of life, and where industry, business, and economics dominate the scene. But nestled deep in this buzzing metropolis of twelve million inhabitants, Cezar Berger Junior is perched at his desk in the wee hours of the night, working on his personal projects and reading his favorite design books.

Packing a São Paulo Punch: Cezar AKA Berje

Cezar – otherwise known as Berje – is an artist and illustrator originally from the municipality of Guararema. Professionally, Cezar is currently working as a Visual Designer Specialist and Brand Illustrator at the leading fintech company Cora.

Banner of Cezar Berje and his doodles from the collection brazuca

But to understand Cezar, one must understand Berje, the graphic designer whose portfolio is steeped in raw, loud, and truly prestigious work. His use of colors, texture, and lines creates a personal style that snags attention like a visual hook, and once you're drawn into his art, it's impossible not to fall down the often trippy but always beautiful rabbit hole of projects.

Like many other Brazilians, Cezar's artistic aspirations were seeded early on in his life when a cultural explosion was sweeping Brazil and São Paulo.

Graffiti was at an all-time peak of popularity, murals by OSGEMEOS were popping up around the country, and more forms of counter-cultural artistic expressions were spreading amongst the youth like a fire in a dry wheat field.

Psychedelic illustrations by Cezar Berje

Getting swept up in the fray of street art wasn't the only source of inspiration that propelled Cezar into this artistic destiny, "I had many different inspirations since I'm really passionate about visual expressions: CD covers, band t-shirts, comic books, manga, MTV commercials, retro video games, etc."

Having grown up in the blaze of this artistic revolution, and armed with diverse sources of inspiration, Cezar was primed for a career in design. After laying a five-year foundation as a graphic designer for IdeaFixa, Cezar was vaulted into one Senior position after the next.

Mixed in with his personal passions and his laser-focused dedication to his profession, Cezar's self-described double life in branding and illustrating has helped him collaborate with some of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Illustrations from Berje's collaboration with Adidas for Lallapalooza
Adidas + Lollapalooza Collab 2018
Images of Berje’s collaboration with Doritos and Netflix
Doritos Wasabi Collab + Netflix Bright Collab

With a portfolio that includes clientele like Adidas, Doritos, and Netflix, it just goes to show that Cezar's style and design have that type of next-level impact that not every creator can achieve.

We were able to connect with this Brazilian artist, and get a one-of-a-kind illustration library. Titled 'Brazuca', the inspiration behind the collection is rooted in his cultural surroundings.

Here's how Cezar described his doodles: "While the term "Brazuca" often is associated with national pride in the Brazilian way of life, it sometimes carries a pejorative meaning as well. It can be a term that evokes many problems that we Brazilians have in this enormous country. My intention was to appropriate and reframe this term, turning it into a creative project that brought the opposite: diversity and respect for others. Values that should always be remembered and highlighted."

Berje's collection brazuca for Blush.

Brazuca's message combined with supremely slick visuals add up to an illustration system that not only speaks to the greater good within all creators, but also makes for a collection that is ideal for projects looking to shatter stereotypes.

Designing with Brazuca using the Blush Figma plugin

An Artistic Force from Fortaleza: Gustavo Pedrosa

3,000 miles Northeast of São Paulo is where you can locate Fortaleza, the state capital of Ceará. The "sunniest city in Brazil" is where illustration veteran Gustavo Pedrosa calls home. Now a familiar face for those who've been creating with Blush, his latest collection Amigos continues to be a popular choice for doodlers around the world.

Gustavo Pedrosa banner featuring his unique style and doodles from Amigos

That being said, his latest illustration library is just scratching the surface of what this talented artist has achieved.

Gustavo began his entry into the creative industry during his university days where he focused on graphic design. Soon after, his skill and budding portfolio caught the attention of well-recognized advertising agencies and design studios.

Pride month illustration fro Gustavo's instagram
Pride Month

A decade of illustrating in the corporate world didn't go without an emotional toll. Gustavo knew that something had to be done, "After a period of almost 10 years, and with existential crises behind me, I decided to go on as a freelancer focusing entirely on illustration."

With the creative flood gates lifted, Gustavo unleashed a wave of stunning projects. From children's books to collabs with Snapchat, his cubist style is quickly becoming a recognizable calling card within the world of doodles and illustrations.

Snapchat doodles from Gustavo Pedrosa

What's even more impressive about Gustavo's work is that his success comes at a time when Brazilian artists and makers are facing a barrage of challenges, "With the pandemic and ongoing political crises here in Brazil, both the creative industry and small businesses have been hit especially hard in the last few years."

Yet far from dampening his innovative output, the political, social, and economic climate seems to have sparked even more originality for Gustavo. Just a quick glance at his illustrations shows just how edgy and norm-defying his work is, which is part of what makes both his professional and personal projects so intriguing.

Illustrations by Gustavo for the magazine Voce S/A Magazine.
Você S/A Magazine

But even with his unique and often unbridled style, his work is still relatable and inviting. This is no accident, as Gustavo touched on this concept when discussing his inspiration for his illustration library Amigos:

"I love creating characters and experimenting with new formats and proportions. That was the first idea that came to me. I tried to create a collection with different types of characters in day-to-day and work situations, something that could be applied to any project." Gustavo's ability to make doodles that are both striking, useful, and super-playful is a rare talent.

Amigos illustrations
Amigos on Blush

While sharing his abilities for others to create their own works of art is something that Gustavo takes joy in, it feels like we are the lucky ones for being able to use pieces of this artist's creative genius for our own endeavors.

A Global Creative Network

Whether it's São Paulo, Fortaleza, or an entirely different corner of the world, being able to connect and work with this diverse set of makers is always a special experience. These designers are not only sharing a one-of-a-kind illustration system that can be used by anyone, but they are also sharing a piece of their own story and history.

Have you created any projects with doodles from one of these Brazilian artists? Maybe you want to see us collaborate with other talented artists from Brazil? Let us know by tweeting at us!

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