The Extraordinary ‘Ordinary Young Man’: Spotlight on Fernando Cobelo

There’s beauty in simplicity; sometimes amazing things can be found in the every day. And artist Fernando Cobelo has spun the ‘ordinary’ into something beautifully extraordinary with his art project, “Ordinary Young Man.” His clean line style reflects the simple and everyday aspect of the feelings, dreams, and experiences that he captures and spins into beautiful sketches (with a touch of surrealism and even existentialism) that we can all relate to in our own lives.

The project only started two years ago, but with close to 100,000 followers on Instagram, this not-so-ordinary artist’s style has garnered him quite a fanbase. We talked to Fernando about how this project got started, what he finds most inspiring, and about his Artist Shop. Check out the interview below!

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How and when did your art project “ordinary young man” start?

Ordinary young man is quite a young project. It started around two years ago when I wasn’t going through the best phase of my life. I needed to concentrate a lot of wasted energy and creativity onto something, so I just grabbed a pencil and a sheet of paper and the first Ordinary young man (left) was born as some sort of self-portrait. Then it all evolved into something bigger.

What ordinary, everyday things do you find the most beauty in and why?

Feelings. Just feelings. They are my main inspiration. Thoughts, happiness, wishes, dreams, hate, sadness, love. They’re all ordinary feelings that deserve to be represented in a not-so-ordinary way.

“Floating Soul”

Tell me a little bit about the book you created! 

Oh, my first book. I will never forget it. It’s called “Everything Stays the Same, But it Still Changes” and narrates the individual process the ‘ordinary young man’ and ‘ordinary young woman’ go through until they meet each other. It’s a reversible book, which means on one side you will find his story, while on the other, hers. They finally meet in the middle, and that’s when the book ends. It was a pretty important step for the project, since it was actually the first time I drew the two characters together.

Character study sketches by Fernando, via his Instagram.

Are you planning on writing any more books? What’s your next big project?

Right now, a second book is about to come out. This time I had the pleasure to illustrate a fantastic story written by Vicky Grande (young Spanish writer). The book tells the story of an ordinary young man who gets lost in life and, with the intention of finding himself, start traveling through different cities, each represented by a specific feeling. Can’t wait for you to see it.

Fernando’s cover for Vicky Grande’s book! via Fernando’s Instagram.

Tell me a little bit about your Artist Shop!

My Artist Shop has some of my favorite illustrations I’ve ever done. It’s continuously being updated, but I can tell you people will only find the illustrations that are closer to my heart.

Just a few designs and products from Fernando’s Artist Shop! Top row: “flourish” framed fine art print, “blinded by sadness” women’s dolman, and “going home” slim phone case | Bottom row: “her hair was dark as night” fleece blanket, “floating soul” zip pouch, and “the connection” sweatshirt.

Have you sold your art on apparel before?

“Her Hair Was Dark as Night”

I have and got amazing feedback from people, so I’m happy to be doing it now with a big specialized platform such as Threadless.

I love your art style – how did you develop it? Who are some of your artistic influences?

It came out very naturally, to be honest. I’ve always wanted to represent complex feelings using the most basic elements and lines. Very clean, simple and essential, childish if you want. Some of my main influences are Moonassi, Cristina Talentino and Monica Barengo, to name a few.

There are some fantastical elements to your everyday man and woman that are not-so-everyday. What’s the significance of this?



There are, in fact, some elements that I relate to certain kinds of emotions: the infinity of the universe, for example, represents a very positive part of my characters, including their dreams and the immensity they have inside. The birds and butterflies describe freedom. The monsters illustrate the fears, anxieties, paranoia. Flowers, on the other hand, are my favorite: they can have a lot of meanings depending of what type of flower I use, so they can illustrate life, but they can also illustrate death.

Via Fernando’s Instagram.

You’re from Venezuela but based in Turin. How has living in such different places influenced your artistic eye?

Venezuela and Italy are so different from each other that is impossible not to be influenced by their artistic waves. I’ve always said that the more you see of the world, the more you grow.

I’ve always said that the more you see of the world, the more you grow.

What’s your art and design philosophy?

Be authentic to what you want to represent. The style you develop is not that important; it’s the message. That’s why the simplest illustration can get to so many people.

Via Fernando’s Instagram.

What do you find most inspiring in this world (or out of this world)?

What I love about the time we’re living in is the possibility to see what other people are doing in terms of design and art. We have the possibility to learn from them, from our own house! How amazing is that?

Anything else you’d like to share?

This little flower, for you (right!)


Start your own Artist Shop now!

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Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.