Making us Blush: we talk inclusive illustrations with Pablo Stanley

“Our goal is to make art more accessible to all while championing illustrators and the importance of art in digital experiences,” explains Pablo Stanley from his San Francisco studio. We’re chatting with him — remotely, of course — about Blush, a new plugin that brings inclusive, custom illustrations into your Sketch designs.

Pablo has been a big name in the design world for a while now, working hard to help others get the most out of Sketch. He became a Sketch Ambassador in 2016, and since then he’s created inclusive illustration Libraries for everyone to use in Sketch — Avataaars and Humaaans.

“With the power of Sketch Libraries and Symbols, all the components in each illustration were editable, so it was super fun and easy for designers to make their compositions,” he explains. He’s used that experience to co-found Blush, which combines his own illustrations with work from other artists, and brings in more complex systems for people to use across their designs. But despite officially being Blush’s CEO, he prefers to be called, simply, a ‘Doodler’. “To be honest, the term ‘CEO’ makes me feel a bit self-conscious, like I’m above others. We’re really a collaborative team that makes decisions as a group,” he says.

“I’ve been a massive fan of Sketch plugins since day one — they amplify the things you can do as a designer, and you get to choose the superpowers that you want in your arsenal. The community has done a fantastic job, so we wanted to contribute with our own plugin.”

With Blush’s new Sketch plugin, Pablo and the rest of the team are continuing his mission to make art more accessible, and giving everyone a simple way to add beautiful illustrations to Sketch designs. “Blush is a tool that brings illustrations from artists around the world to everyone,” he explains. “The cool thing is that you can customize every piece of a doodle to create your own compositions!” As a result, you’ll always be able to find something that fits your design — and suits your audience. So everyone feels welcome.

“Inclusion is embedded in Blush,” Pablo explains. “The illustrators who’ve created collections have made sure to include people with different backgrounds, abilities, and beliefs in their illustrations. So people can tell their stories with doodles that represent them or their audience.” To help with that goal, the plugin randomizes the components of your illustration when you create one from scratch, so you won’t ever see the same one twice.

“We believe that this can help us avoid unconscious biases we might have when creating a character,” says Pablo. “You can still change any element to your liking — things like the hairstyle, upper body, lower body, skin color, and accessories.”

Illustrations by Irene Falgueras

The power of personalization

Blush started life as a web app — which is still available, and great if you just want to grab a quick image while you experiment with your initial design ideas. But by building a native Sketch plugin, the Blush team have made it easier to browse and customize doodles right next to the Canvas and in the context of your designs.

“Imagine improving your UI with pictures, creating a banner for your blog posts, bringing some flair to your slides, and

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