First Im­pres­sions

Dis­cover how this Ger­man cre­ative fell back in love with il­lus­tra­tion…

ImagineFX - - Traditional Artist Interview - Ira Sluyter­man van Langeweyde

Where did you grow up and how has this in­flu­enced your art? I grew up in a lit­tle vil­lage near Bonn, Ger­many. I’m not quite sure how this has in­flu­enced my art. But there was a huge for­est near my home­town where we used to reg­u­larly play as chil­dren. So maybe that’s one rea­son why I love to paint trees and na­ture-re­lated ob­jects. Fur­ther­more, the first artist whose work I recog­nised was Au­gust Macke, who was born in Bonn. What ad­vice would you give to your younger self to aid you on the way? Keep do­ing your thing. Don’t stop draw­ing. Don’t be in­se­cure. Don’t play so many com­puter games in­stead of draw­ing. Be pa­tient, be­cause every­thing needs time, un­der­stand­ing and a lot of prac­tice. Tell us about your first paid com­mis­sion, and does it stand as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your tal­ent? I worked as a web de­signer for some years af­ter I stud­ied de­sign, so my first paid il­lus­tra­tion job was a de­sign for a web­site with il­lus­trated el­e­ments. That was the first time I had drawn again af­ter many years. I found it dif­fi­cult, but in the end I was happy with the re­sult, and it gave me back the joy of draw­ing and paint­ing, which I had lost dur­ing my time at uni­ver­sity.

Af­ter­wards, a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple started to ask me for il­lus­tra­tions, or de­signs with il­lus­trated el­e­ments. Then, more or less by co­in­ci­dence, a pro­duc­tion com­pany asked me to pro­duce char­ac­ter de­signs for an in­ter­na­tional chil­dren’s film with an­i­mated crea­tures. I won the pitch and worked fur­ther on this film, to­gether with the pro­duc­ers and the 3D stu­dio for sev­eral months. And so my fo­cus shifted to­wards il­lus­tra­tion work. What’s the last piece that you fin­ished, and how do the two art­works dif­fer? My style has changed dras­ti­cally over the past few years, be­cause af­ter I re­dis­cov­ered my in­ter­est in il­lus­tra­tion, I ex­per­i­mented a lot and I had to learn many things. So my style de­vel­oped over time. My last piece, which you can see on my In­sta­gram chan­nel (@ irav­ille) is a lit­tle il­lus­tra­tion called Camp­ing Girl, in wa­ter­colours and pen­cils. What are your paint­ing rit­u­als? I take my time, which is cru­cial – I have to be to­tally re­laxed. A musthave is ei­ther a freshly brewed cof­fee or a de­li­cious tea. I lis­ten to a TV se­ries or an au­dio book while I paint. I work on sev­eral il­lus­tra­tions at the same time, be­cause I use wa­ter­colours with a lot of lay­ers that need a long time to dry. Do you have an art tool that you can’t live with­out? Too many! A pen­cil. I pre­fer red pen­cils in­stead of graphite. As for wa­ter­colours, I can paint with just a few. I filled a lit­tle tin with just six colours, some of them are mixed from pig­ments I bought. I need a round and pointed brushes and of course, wa­ter­colour pa­per or a mixed me­dia sketchbook. That’s it. Is mak­ing a liv­ing as an artists all you thought it would be? No, it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter. But I never planned to be an artist be­cause once upon a time I was a de­signer. Ira Sluyter­man van Langeweyde, aka Irav­ille, is an il­lus­tra­tor and char­ac­ter de­signer. She works for a range of in­dus­tries in­clud­ing film and TV studios, book pub­lish­ers and de­sign agen­cies. You can see her work at www.irav­

Don’t stop draw­ing. Don’t be in­se­cure. Don’t play so many com­puter games

“Wa­ter­colour on pa­per, painted for my own cor­po­rate de­sign.” “I cre­ated this for a Ger­man cal­en­dar, us­ing wa­ter­colours and coloured pen­cils.” Knit­ting Birchtree For­est

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