Hugo Pereira Draws Something New Every Day

Brazilian-born Hugo Pereira uses his global following on Instagram and TikTok to share his unique artwork and give tips to budding artists.
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PHOTO BY DEVYN GLISTA

When did you first start making art? I remember drawing my whole life, really. There are pictures and home videos of when I was really young, pulling reams of paper out of the fax machine and just drawing on top. But a little bit before the end of high school was when I started getting really into it.

And how did you get into digital art? I was very much traditional at the beginning, but I was always very into computers and video games. So it was on my 14th or 15th birthday that my mom gave me one of those digital drawing tablets. And I had no idea that they even existed, so she just opened up a whole new world for me where I could marry my love for drawing and my passion for computers.

When did you decide to bring your art to social media seriously? The pandemic. I think, like everyone else, I had a lot more free time on my hands. During college, you’re just doing so much art that you have to do, not necessarily the art that you want to do. And then the pandemic happened, and I had this extra free time, and I love drawing so I started challenging myself: Can I do a drawing a day? That’s how it started, with small drawings. The algorithm rewarded me at the beginning for that very strong consistency. Then early last year, I started getting into [Instagram] Reels, and reels are really good for growth. And that’s what really helped the whole thing take off.

What are some of the challenges of being an artist on social media like Instagram and Tiktok? I think the consistency aspect is the biggest one. Sometimes, depending on the artist and on the type of artwork that you do, [art] takes a week to make. And how do you post every day if your artwork takes a week to make? [It’s] trying to understand how to milk your artwork to get more posts per artwork. Otherwise, you’re just going to burn out or you’re going to be forced to only post quicker, smaller artworks that don’t really showcase your breadth of knowledge or your full skill set.

And on the flip side of that, how has social media helped you as an artist? The reach that social media can get you. If you’re doing your homework, understanding the best ways to increase your reach on these platforms, and seeing what’s trending, your reach increases tremendously. Because of social media, I’ve had so many great opportunities. I’ve made the cover of a physical video game that just released. And that was mind-blowing for me. If I told little Hugo that he’d be making the cover of a video game one day, he’d be like, Get out of here!, you know?

Many of your Instagram posts offer advice for new artists who are trying to get their work out there. What inspired you to help other artists? I realized a lot of the social media tips that you see being floated out there don’t apply to artists. I had to go through a period of discovery and experimentation to try to understand how these different tips applied. So I try to find that information and help people, because the more people that I can help to keep doing art, the more artists we’re going to have in the world. And I think that’s a better world.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for artists who are just starting on social media? If you’re an artist that’s just getting started, it might sound counterintuitive, but the biggest advice is don’t focus on growing social media. Focus on growing your skill set. When I started focusing more on creating content for social media, I already had a pretty solid skill set to back me up. If you’re a starting artist, use social media as a way to connect with peers, with people on your level and a little better than you. Learn from them and focus on creating a close-knit community of people that will motivate you to keep drawing and keep getting better.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? One thing I see for artists and social media is a big fear of AI art. Just like fast fashion exists but you still have specialized tailored garments, you will still always have a need for handcrafted art. So if you are scared of getting into the field of art because of all this AI stuff, just know that there will be less and less people getting into the field because of it and you’re probably going to actually have a “better shot” in the long term.

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