Nuria & Peculiar Girls
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started as an illustrator? How did you find your style?
My name is Nuria, Spanish illustrator and digital artist; however the name with which I sign my works is Nuri Ann. Like most people as a child, I liked drawing a lot. When I grew up, I continued doing it, and I decided to study Fine Arts. One of the most pleasant memories, I have of my childhood, is hours and hours immersed in mountains of illustrated stories and comics (many comics). So I guess this influenced me a lot, when choosing this profession. In my last years of my career I started to specialize in illustration, and I also entered the world of digital painting in a self-taught way.
Finding my style took me a few years, it's not easy. It's a slow process, it takes time, experimentation with many techniques and styles, but above all you have to be honest to find yourself. At the beginning I used traditional techniques, such as graphite, Indian ink, collage, watercolors and gouache. Step by step, I was introducing the digital technique in my works. The truth is that there were years of intense work and many mistakes, which led me to find a language of my own, with which to express myself. Now my final works are 100% digital.
How many times do you tend to draw a character until its right, and also how do you know that it is right?
When I'm creating a character, I always start by drawing the eyes. If I look at them, and they transmit something to me, that´s good and I finish it. If not, the drawing goes directly to the garbage.
What is the difference between editorial illustration and other ones?
The editorial illustration ranges from commissions of magazines and press, to book publishing, cover design, illustrated album, etc., among them the pace of work and delivery times are different. The advertising illustration is a wild work rhythm, I don’t know if it would fit with my calm character. Fashion illustration is something I have never considered.
Even so, I believe that the borders between the different types of illustration, as well as between illustration and art, are sometimes diluted. Maybe at a given moment the style of a child illustrator can fit perfectly into a specific project of fashion illustration.
With what technique are you more comfortable?
The pencil and the computer are my co-workers. The pencil allows me to capture ideas more immediately. I use digital techniques to play with the color palette and create the atmosphere, in which the plot unfolds. It allows me to correct errors and change colors in a short time.
Tell us about your recent project.
In recent years, I have devoted almost full time to working on my personal project: Peculiar Girls. They are female characters that I use to tell stories and convey emotions through their eyes and gestures. They usually look directly at the viewer so that it is immersed, and becomes part of their history. I like to create disturbing environments and situations.
Do you enjoy working with a handmade aesthetic, or do you do a lot of computer work as well? What is the process you have for creating your illustrations? Do you use any special technique? Please tell us about that.
The technique with which I work is digital, but I try not to abuse it. That is, I try to make the final product look like it has been painted with gouache or oil. First I make the pencil sketch, where I work the composition and the light, and then I pass it to the computer. Then, I choose the color palette and use the brushes carefully, as if I were painting in oil, with transparencies. Shadow by shadow, I superimpose them one by one with great patience until the characters acquire volume. This process, in some works, can last two or three months.
How do you approach creating an illustration? And is that different depending on if you are working for a client or for yourself?
If it’s a personal project, the starting point is my inner world, my memories and experiences. I also feel strongly influenced by traditional stories (Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.). If the work is for a client, the main thing is to capture the essence of the idea that the client proposes, but without neglecting your approach and your way of telling things.
Your works are based on strong concepts and direct language and it is interesting that for you the content of your work is more important than the visual representation of it. Do you have a process for developing your ideas?
I believe that the power of illustration lies in the narrative burden, in what you want to tell, although aesthetics is also very important. When you have an idea in your head, the creative process never stops (you think about it when you walk on the street, cooking, having a coffee with friends, etc.) all the things that come to my mind, I write them on paper during several days. Then it’s time to investigate the topic that you have to develop, give a thousand ideas to find an image that tells, provokes, suggests or encourages the viewer to think.
Best / most fun part of your job:
To draw. To imagine and create environments. The creative process: starting from an idea, researching and finishing an unexpected site.
Worst / most difficult part of your job:
Everything else: bills, bureaucracy, seek contacts to give visibility to your work ... and long hours of solitude at the workplace. But dedicate yourself to doing what you like compensates for all this.
What types of illustration projects do you enjoy working on?
Although in recent years I have been focused on illustration for an adult audience ("Peculiar Girls"), I also had commissions for children's illustration that I enjoyed very much, now I am immersing myself in the world of the illustrated albums ... The truth is that all the projects I welcome with the same enthusiasm, each one gives me something different.
How do you imagine the future of illustration world?
It would be great to live in a society flooded with illustration. I hope that the power of images will be used more to make us think for ourselves, not to tell us what we have to think.
What do you think about e-books and apps like a new field of job?
We live in an accelerated society where this type of products allows you to consume books quickly and at a very affordable price. It seems to me an interesting way to explore new ways to interact with the reader, create stories with interactive illustrations, etc. But I have to confess that I have a weakness for the book as an object... The smell of the ink, the feel of the paper, the illustrations, the typography and the high quality of a good edition, for me, are not comparable with what an e-book can offer me.
Who are some of the other artists you take inspiration from?
Many ... infinite. In social networks I discover new artists every day with an incredible portfolio. I have always been attracted to the Pre-Raphaelite movement and Symbolism. But if I had to highlight concrete artists, I like the irony and the atmosphere that Marion Peck creates in her art; I admire Ray Caesar's technique, and I love the artwork of Stephen Mackey. I like an artist, whose work disturbs me and removes something inside me.