How did you get started as an illustrator?
I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since I was 15 but only started to consciously consider myself an illustrator as such when I came to the UK to do my BA in Illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth. I used those three years efficiently to create as many relevant contacts and work opportunities as possible which really helped me to get going once I graduated in summer 2015.
How did your develop your unique art style?
I think an art style always is the result of a mixture of outside influences and natural intuition. It’s similar to your individual handwriting – everyone reaches a point where they don’t think about the shape of each and every letter and how they’re put together, it just comes naturally and reveals a lot about your personality. I feel it should be the same with your art style – it shouldn’t be forced or consciously manipulated but left to emerge on its own. It’s also never ‘finished’ but instead will change and develop over time just as you do as a person.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
Right now I am taking part in my first artist residency which is very exciting and something I’d want to do more of in the future. For the current one I have been given the opportunity to spend a whole month in Sheffield and respond to my experiences and impressions of the town in whichever way feels most suitable, resulting in an exhibition of all the work created at the end of the month. There are also a several book projects I’m working on right now for various clients as well as some personal projects which I feel are very important for my own artistic development.
Are there any artists which have inspired you?
One of my biggest creative role model is Dave McKean, mainly because it is really inspiring to see how he manages to express himself in such a variety of different medias, from graphic novels and picture books to music and movies. He is a wonderful storyteller and really contributed to my own understanding of what ‘the Medium is the Message’ means.
Was there a particular reason you chose such a distinct colour palette in your illustrations for Iris?
Iris is a very oppressive and sad tale which prompted me to mainly stick to cool blues and greens. Set against the pale flesh tones they make the girl appear fragile and vulnerable and their combination is reminiscent of hurts and bruises which play such a big role in the narrative.
Did you chose to draw these particular scenes in Iris, or were they chosen for you? If you did have a choice, why did you choose them?
I had the freedom to choose the scenes myself and even though one main concern was to spread them out evenly throughout the book my aim was to pick the most emotionally charged scenes to illustrate – starting quite innocent but increasing in intensity in accord to the development of the narrative. Another core idea was to never fully reveal Iris’ face in any of the picture to increase the lingering sense of distance and fear which runs through the whole story as well as the girl’s identity issues.