Besides falling in love with her creations, Alexia really spoke to our hearts when she shared her love for animals and recommended a Kendrick Lamar’s song.
Alexia: Hello, my name is Alexia and I’m a freelance illustrator since the summer of 2015. I live in Bucharest with my husband and our four cats.
I’m illustrating books and I also have project-based collaborations, so my schedule is always busy. When I have the time I drown myself in books or ideas for my blog or for my shop. It’s a lot of work, but I’ll never get bored of what I do.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Alexia: I was a lonely child. I didn’t have lots of friends and I never really played outside as a kid and that in itself was the drive I needed to grow my creativity.
My mom tried to entertain me with drawing, coloring books and bits of crafts and maybe that’s why now, as an adult, I always find something to do. I never felt like I had that feeric kind of childhood, it was more like a practical thing for me, but I was a lucky child to have grandparents who taught me the importance of books and knowledge.
Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?
Alexia: I grew up around animals so it was only natural that the veterinarian phase would come my way sooner or later. Then, around 10 years old, I wanted to become an architect cause I always liked to redecorate my dollhouse. From that time on I knew that my job will have something to with art or creativity.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Alexia: My living room is my studio. Our studio, since my husband is a freelance photographer, we have to share the space. One of my goals was to make it as cozy as possible. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting there. I always end up needing more space than I initially anticipated. The space is also cat-proofed.
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Alexia: I thought style is something you decide on having, but later I realized that you already have it – you can polish it, but you can’t switch too easily to a different one. It takes lots of practice and knowledge. I really do appreciate those illustrators who have multiple styles and work with different techniques.
Being adaptable while also having a personal style is my goal. It’s a long road from now. I like to play with lots of details and get out of my comfort zone as often as possible. Illustration is a language and I’d love to learn as many as possible.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Alexia: Most of my work starts with a brief or a story. I rarely get to experiment on my own and put my own ideas to test, because I hardly find the time for my personal work. I like to research a lot before starting to sketch, even if I have to draw characters or plants.
When it comes to traditional techniques, the first step is to sketch. I don’t like to do a lot of sketches or to make a final line art, because I always like to change details when it comes to the final work.
Next is transferring the sketch on the watercolor paper – I use my lightbox for this step and this is the time when I add some extra details or change the composition completely – it’s like a puzzle.
After this step, I start painting and adding details with colored pencils, gouache or inks. The final step is to scan the work and then edit it in Adobe Photoshop. For my digital work, I only use Adobe Photoshop on my HP zBook laptop/tablet.
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Alexia: The only thing I can think of right now is the series of books I’m illustrating these days. It’s a long one and it takes a lot of courage, for me personally. It’s so out of my comfort zone that I sometimes wonder how I got into making it. But I love it. It’s all black and white digital illustration – something that I feared and that I truly learned how to love.
I have also deeply enjoyed designing my own products. It was a dream come true and it was only the begging.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Alexia: I tend to stay away from following artists on social media. I feel like it’s a two-way street. But I like to check Nina Stajner, Marloes de Vries, Louise de Masi or Emma Block’s Insta Stories. They inspire me in terms of motivation and daily struggles we have as illustrators.
Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Alexia: Stay away from Pinterest. Practice, practice, practice. I know it sounds cliche, but don’t pay attention to negative people. Stay teachable and allow yourself to be scared and vulnerable from time to time. Try to pretend as little as possible.
When it comes to being an illustrator and also have a presence on social media, it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole and fuck up your self-esteem – so be careful who you listen to, follow and whom you choose as a mentor – or as a friend.
Subsign: If you would have a superpower, what would it be?
Alexia: I would love to have a superpower that makes people fall in love with books.
Subsign: Can you recommend for our readers a book, a song, and a movie?
Alexia: Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything: Stephen Bayley
Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Alexia: A tea party with cats and dogs.
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Alexia: I love to have people to talk to about the books we’ve read or things we’ve learned about. I’m not a fan of famous people. Most of the times I had to accept that people are all the same – troubled. I love so many people for their work, but this doesn’t mean that I’d like to have them at my tea party. Oh, think I’d love to have breakfast with Margaret Atwood!
Thank you, Alexia, for being a part of it!
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