Interview with Illustrator Andrew Cachia | 2nd place winner of the Intl. Reggae Poster Contest, 2013


Andrew Cachia is a young, upcoming talented graphic designer and illustrator coming from the tiny island of Malta.
Andrew’s main inspiration is coming from his surroundings, colours and vibrance of the island he lives on. He takes time to observe others work and that gives him the fuel and energy to improve himself. Andrew’s illustrations are mostly based on a concept or theme which he wants to get across to the viewer. Generally these feature  happiness, bold colours, positivity and humor, which Andrew believes “are the key elements to make a viewer love, remember and look for more of your work”.

Congratulations on your 2nd place win Andrew!
Tell us how you found out about the International Reggae Poster Contest 2013 and what was it that attracted you to participate?
It was last year I heard for the first time and participated in IRPC ….probably through Facebook, or googling some reggae info. The concept really attracted me… since I love reggae and love doing posters… this was the competition for me 🙂

Where you expecting to placed in the top 10 group? 2nd place must have been a big surprise.
It was a great surprise to get to know I qualified in second place… wasn’t expecting it 🙂 I submitted my poster at the last minute of the deadline… and had to speed it up at the end…. So i wasn’t really confident it would make it to the top.


You are from Malta, tell us what is the reggae scene like there? when did you become interested in the genre?
I’v been soaking in reggae’s positive vibes for these last 10 years…. Reggae here in malta is still a small scene but its growing fast, there are also some really good Maltese reggae bands.

How would you summarize your experience with the International Reggae Poster Contest? Did it live up to your expectations?
It was a really great experience, the fact that I come from probably the smallest country participating in this competition and qualified, gave me loads of courage and energy 🙂 I encourage every artist who has reggae music at heart to participate in this competition.

“Dreams of Freedom” captures a very interesting live reggae scene. Trench Town is the place where many reggae artiste had their start. Why did you connect Freedom, Rocksteady and Trench Town in your design?
Most of Reggae artistes came out of Trench Town as you said, and for many… that was their only chance of getting a better life from the rough life of Jamaica. Including Bunny Livingston, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley which made their dream come true with the Wailers. Also at that time reggae was still being developed from Rocksteady.

Did you listen to Rocksteady music while making the piece? and who is your favorite Rocksteady artist?
Yeah, I actually listened to some Rocksteady beats as I was working… Marcia Griffths, U roy, ken booth… but my favourite overall are the Maytals…. music helps me a lot to get the needed inspiration and energy. I even re-watched “Rocksteady The Roots Of Reggae” to make sure my mind is set on that era 🙂

Your illustration and design is very fun, almost like a children’s book illustration? Share with our readers where you studied illustration and design?
I had my first go at graphic design from an Arts School here in Malta, after that I continued as an apprentice with my brother Miguel… but never actually studied Illustration. I had always liked illustration better than graphic design.. because it’s much more fun and free 🙂
I try to portray positivity and happiness in my illustrations, using simple shapes and colours.


Tell us a bit more about your experience in Graphic Design?
I started graphic design about seven years ago… stared out as an apprentice with my brother…doing minor jobs.
That gave me the initial boost to learn graphic design and to get used to photoshop and illustrator. After that i was employed at a gaming company, and that gave me the experience and confidence I needed. At that time I even started experimenting with illustrations as I had already had some drawing skills from a younger age… so I decided to combine both.

You run the design studio along with your brother, our 18th place winner Miguel Cachia who has a different style in his illustrations. Tell us about your co-operation.
Yes together with my brother Miguel, we run a boutique brand design outfit called Panda. We both have different styles, skills & strengths that combine together so that we offer quite a varied menu to our customers, that range from a bank to a reggae bar and from child care centers to restaurants. Miguel is focused more on the strategy side, while I take care of the more visual stuff. In terms of illustration my style is more young, cartoonish, mostly vector based while Miguel’s is based on photo manipulations and typography.

What Miguel has to say about your win and your design skills?
He was undoubtedly very happy about it even though he jokes that he did better, as he placed 3 posters in the first 100 in the two years of the contest. It’s probably an achievement for him as well, since he’s been training and encouraging me for all these years.

How do you approach a design such as your winning piece?
First of all you need a good sketch… just like with any other art or design job. If you spend enough time on a sketch (and planning your work) you would find it much easier when building the actual artwork. I then take a good photo of my sketch and transfer everything to Illustrator… then the work begins 🙂 …tracing every single line, finding the right colour palette and maybe explore different layouts and positioning. After that I finish off my work in photoshop tweaking colours, adding textures etc.

Your illustration and poster design impressed the jury. Is there any particular artist or illustrator that inspires your style?
Before starting to sketch and build an illustration, you need to find some good inspiration.
It’s a very important step for creative work, this way you will get a good direction in the style you’re gonna use. I always look at different artists for inspiration… depending on the style i’m gonna use. But in the end I make sure I come out with an original concept.

What are your thoughts on our objective to have the Reggae Hall of Fame museum built in Kingston, Jamaica?
It’s a great thing you’re doing, this is helping reggae to be recognized by more people internationally. It will help reggae music remain strong…. and inspire the youths to be more involved in music

One of the contest objective is to support the Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, Jamaica. What is your take on the school’s historical role in Reggae music.
Alpha Boys School played a great role in reggae, and still is. It’s putting interest and passion in youths lives, while keeping them away from the negative side of life.

Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment?
Currently I’m working on some illustrations for a restaurant opening soon here in Malta, also doing some other posters for local reggae events, otherwise I will try to take it easy for the Summer 🙂

What would you like to see as a career benefit coming out of winning this International design contest?
I’m already very happy with the outcome of this years reggae poster contest 🙂 I’m sure our posters where, and will be seen by thousands of people and that will surely open doors to some interesting projects some day.

Who are your favorite reggae artiste and what reggae tunes gets regular play on your iTunes play list?
My overall favourite Reggae artistes are Toots and the Maytals, the Marleys, Jacob Miller, Congos, Max Romeo and loads more 🙂 I really love early and late Ska… like, Skatalites, Desmond Dekker, Specials, Madness ect ect 🙂 But what probably gets to the top of my playlist are… Dread Zone, Zenzile, Lee Perry, Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Easy Star All-Stars, High Tone, The Specials.

Thank you Andrew!

Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (

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