Made With Envato: Exploring Imagination With Emilio Rios

Earth without art would just be 'eh'! We talk to talented digital artist Emilio Rios to find out how he uses Envato Elements to express the inner workings of his imagination.

Made With Envato: Emilio Rios Q&A
Portrait for Kelsie RimmerBy Kelsie Rimmer  |  Updated March 24, 2021

Talented digital artist Emilio Rios is truly a creative chameleon, with a diverse portfolio of captivating illustrations, animations, 3D renders and surreal photo manipulations. His quirky, abstract artworks – featuring the likes of roller coasters in space have earned him an impressive Instagram following, as well as plenty of industry praise.

Start creating today with Envato Elements #madewithEnvato

Emilio first realised he wanted to be a graphic designer in middle school and since then, has developed a career as a talented and successful digital artist. He shares his truly mesmerizing creations online as well as offering a wide range of design services on his website, such as branding, graphics, illustration, 3D art, animation, and logo design to name a few. 

We caught up with Emilio to find out more about the designer behind the feed, and discover how he uses Envato Elements to express the quirky inner workings of his imagination… 

Hey Emilio! What’s your artistic background and how did you get into digital art?

I’ve loved art since I was little. I remember taking drawing and painting classes when I was in elementary and middle school. Although I was never really good at the hands-on side, I knew I was still interested in the world of art. Luckily, at a young age I knew what path I wanted to follow.

During my last year of middle school, I had a moment of realization. My classmate finished the water from his plastic bottle, got up and walked to the trash and recycling bins. He looked at the recycling icon on the recycling bin and threw the bottle in. I found it so interesting that he instantly knew which one was the recycling bin by simply looking at the icon. Three simple arrows in a triangular shape were enough to communicate to him which bin he was looking for. 

I knew then that I was interested in graphic design and the power of visual communication. I ended up studying graphic design and visual arts through high school and university. I graduated from San José State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Design Studies and a minor in Advertising. 

What’s the underlying purpose of your work?

The purpose of my work is to inspire others around the world to discover the beauty and importance of art and design. Art is meant to help you escape reality and allow you to express your imagination.

There’s never a right or wrong when it comes to visualizing your imagination, because it’s yours!

What inspires you to create?

The idea that anyone can be moved by what they see, regardless of their language, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, size, color, or gender is what inspires me to create. 

Art and design is a universal language that no one has to study to learn – it’s a part of human nature. 

A movie theater could be filled with people from all across the globe that speak different languages, but if the movie is silent, then there’s no language barrier. The silent movie is meant to tell a story through visual instead of auditory communication. Everyone could laugh, cry, and scream in that movie theater in unison without having to hear a single word. That’s how powerful art is, and I want to be a creator that helps to unite the world.

What inspires you and how do you achieve your signature style?

Man, I just love space! I love the unknown and the mysterious yet exciting world that could possibly be out there. The idea that when you look up into the sky and all you see is infinity just makes my head explode every time. We have explored a lot of outer space, but how much can you really explore in an infinite space? 

We can only imagine what the world would be like if one day we could live in space. So that’s what I do in many of my pieces: express my imagination. Why can’t there be a roller coaster in space? Or zombies on the moon? Or a trolley crossing in mid-air? There CAN be, with the beauty of digital art!

How do your ideas get from your imagination to Instagram?

My creative process varies depending on what project I’m working on. If I’m designing a logo for a client, I will start with a pen and paper. For a new 3D render, I’ll start inside Blender 3D. If I’m creating a new website mock up for work, I’ll start in Adobe Illustrator. And if I’m designing a new space themed piece, I’ll usually start with a blank canvas in Photoshop

I’ll then pick at my imagination and take a couple of minutes to think about what I’ve seen or done recently that might spark an idea. Once I have a rough idea in my head, I’ll then browse multiple websites to get some inspiration from other artists. This usually includes Instagram, Behance, Pinterest, Abduzeedo, and Dribbble.

Since I started my subscription, Envato Elements has been my go-to platform for design resources. It offers a huge variety of  high-quality design elements that help me get a jump start on my digital art pieces.

Emilio Rios

After a couple minutes (that sometimes turn into hours), I finalize an idea and begin sourcing stock images, elements, and textures from a couple of sites. Although, since I started my subscription, Envato Elements has been my go-to platform for design resources. It offers a huge variety of  high-quality design elements that help me get a jump start on my digital art pieces.

How does Envato Elements help you create your work?

Envato Elements offers artists like myself the confidence of finding high-quality stock images, design elements, fonts, 3D renders, and so much more. Envato’s extensive library on Elements ensures that I will find exactly what I’m looking for in a short period of time. 

My favorite part of my subscription to Elements is the flexibility to download anything I like. Being able to download any element, test it in my artwork, decide if I like it or not, and keep working is amazing! It has definitely sped up my workflow.

What types of items do you use the most? Can you walk us through how you create your work?

For most of my art pieces, I use the 3D objects, graphics, and stock photography. The stock photos help me set up the scene and add any accent details, while the 3D objects help me find the right angle I want for my main subjects. In my SPACE poster piece, I used a space texture for the background, plant stock photography for the natural details, and a 3D astronaut render for my main subject. I remember downloading multiple angles of the astronaut and testing them in my design until I was happy with the result. 

For this Halloween design I made recently, I used over 10 design elements from Envato. I first used the cemetery, sky, and church stock photos to set up my environment and perspective. I then found a bunch of Halloween related 3D objects, matched the background perspective, and blended them into my piece. Using Photoshop as my main tool, I color corrected the elements to create a creepy dark scene with a bright green glowing light from the potion pot.

While some of my edits are pretty complex with multiple elements, others are very simple with just two or three images. I like to think that sometimes less is more. This brave baby and this curious doggo are some fun edits I’ve also done in the past. 

How does Elements fit into your creative toolkit?

I am constantly trying to expand my design skills and knowledge, which has led me many times to experiment and learn new programs. I usually go through different design phases such as 3D renders, animations, low poly edits, image edits, illustrations, UI/UX design, video editing, and others. 

The awesome part about Elements is that no matter what design phase I’m in, I can always find the design resources I need. Whether it’s fonts for my UI and UX designs, video templates for my video editing, or vectors for my illustrations, I know that Envato Elements always has me covered. 

Would you recommend other digital artists to use Elements?

Yes, I would definitely recommend Elements to other digital artists! It’s a great resource for high-quality design assets. The huge library of items helps artists create artwork at a much faster rate. I consider this a great investment for artists looking to take their artworks to the next level. 

Where do you sell or promote your work?

I share my artwork daily on my Instagram account, but all of my client and personal work is showcased on my website at My work has been featured on some awesome Instagram accounts such as @ArtSelect, @TaxCollection, @Artsxdesign and, @ArtsWonderful. Along with my personal edits, some of the work I’ve done for my job has also been featured. 

The 3D render of my company’s event booth was featured on the Adobe Dimensions page on Behance, and I also have some of my edits up for sale at Displate.

What are the top opportunities to come from your art?

The best outcome from creating art over so many years has definitely been building a strong portfolio. Having a portfolio with lots of examples of your work gives you great credibility when applying for jobs or projects. With the portfolio I’ve built, I’ve been able to maintain a healthy stream of freelance clients. I’ve worked with business owners from all over the world to help them improve their brand and marketing assets. 

My portfolio also helped me get my current job as a Visual Designer for a tech company in the Bay Area called Elementum. Working in the tech industry has enabled me to improve as a designer and has opened my eyes to appreciating the art world. 

What’s the biggest learning you’ve had from becoming a digital artist? What advice would you give to others just starting out?

My biggest takeaway from being a digital artist is to never stop learning and never stop creating! Never stop learning about art and design, the more you stay up to date with the current trends and current software updates, the more advantage you will have over other artists. As you continue to learn you should also continue to create, as the more art work you create the more you can improve your skills. Practice makes perfect! 

My advice to artists who are just starting out is to be consistent, learn everyday, create everyday, and be fully immersed in the art world. Make an effort to follow successful artists that will inspire you to become better at what you do. It’s not going to be an overnight change, but with a consistent mindset you will slowly but surely improve. And remember, the world needs art! Because, after all, “Earth without art is just eh”! 

Feeling inspired? There’s more where that came from! Explore outer space with Cosmic Creator Aron Visuals, talk all things Pop Art with Peppy Colours, or step Inside 3D Illustration with Amrit Pal. And, don’t forget to head over to Envato Elements and start creating today!

Emilio is an Envato partner. All opinions provided within this interview are their own.

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