A Brush With Genius

How one expert illustrator tapped the power of Affinity Designer.

Affinity Designer

Graphics & Design


When Warsaw-based illustrator Agata Karelus started creating her interactive storybook app, Snot & Fluff—a Space Adventure, she quickly realized that bringing her zany vision to life would require fundamental changes to her workflow.

Static illustrations are one thing, but dynamic, bustling galaxies populated with broccoli pirates and croissant kings? Karelus wasn’t fully aware of what she was in for.

Affinity Designer seamlessly blends vectors with bitmaps. Agata Karelus used that to create a range of textures above.

“For every character, I had to draw two or three stages of facial expressions and poses. And I had to name and sort all the layers in a way that wouldn’t make the animators want to kill me,” she says. “It took a lot more planning than I’m used to.”

After a year of toil, Karelus released Snot & Fluff with OhNoo Studio—and she credits Affinity Designer with helping her pull it all off.

I often use brush dynamics like rotation, hue, saturation, and luminosity jitter.

—Professional illustrator Agata Karelus

According to Karelus, Designer is “a perfect marriage of vectors and digital painting” (the app lets you quickly switch between vector and bitmap modes). It’s also blazingly fast. Open a dauntingly complex illustration, zoom in several hundred percent, and adjust a few sliders. You’ll see your work update in real time—and Designer won’t so much as flinch under the load.

When she’s not dreaming up new worlds in her colorful, playful style, Karelus leverages Affinity Designer to build tools for other creative pros. “Creating new brushes is really easy,” she says.

The app puts a range of brushes at your fingertips.

Designer also lets you draw using multiple shapes (called nozzles) at the same time. “I often use brush dynamics like rotation, hue, saturation, and luminosity jitter. I try to make my brushes big, with a high resolution, so I can use them on big files for print.”

Karelus in her Warsaw studio.

Function aside, there’s another feature of Designer that Karelus and many others in her field genuinely appreciate: the way the app’s developer, Serif, treats its users.

“They’re just the most professional people I know, and also sweet and kind and always there to help,” Karelus says. “That’s what makes Designer different. It’s not just an app. There are also great people behind it.”

    Affinity Designer

    Graphics & Design