Interview with Illustrator Elwira Pawlikowska

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Elvira Pawlikowska is an Illustrator from Poland, one of the most popular authors on the Mirror. She studied art from childhood. Her genuine interest in making illustrations began when she came home from school, after reading one of the books. Read on to learn more about this inspiring Illustrator.
Интервью с иллюстратором Elwira Pawlikowska


What inspired you to create “characters in the style of steampunk” as a separate work of art?
It was part of the job, I worked in the Polish “steampunk” restaurant. The original idea of the owner of the restaurant was to embody the character designs – “brand ” that can be used in a promotional short humorous stories. “Steampunk” style is very close to me, as the combination of technique and a rich, historical ornament. The Victorian era can be a great source of inspiration.
Looking at your work, it is obvious that you have incredible skills in digital art, how do you define your style?
In fact, I’m generally a traditional artist. I use digital technology purely for practical purposes – it is easier to make changes in a number of designs this way. That’s probably why my digital drawings look almost like hand sketches. “Old school” and vintage style with a touch of melancholy really attracts me, and hopefully I also capture it in their works.
Do you see yourself more as an Illustrator or artist? Why?
I’m more of an Illustrator because most of my work done as illustrations for books, magazines, games, etc. However, I also sometimes make drawings/paintings. To be an artist means to create works of art that will be exhibited in galleries and they can be hung on the wall of the house to the client, for example. Illustrations are only part of the final outcome (often mass produced) product. At least as I understand this question. “Red River”, the artwork is one of my favorite, what is the meaning of this work? Thanks, I’m really glad you like it! This illustration made in the form of a short story about the biblical plagues (although the action takes place in the near future). One of the executions was a turning point. It is difficult to accurately describe a fragment of the whole story, which is shown here, but I tried anyway. Scientists have found a way to purify the river, but the red color remained. They wanted to show something fun and carefree, but is actually really hard to imagine something more sinister than the sweet little girl playing in the blood like liquid. This is a point that I tried to capture in the picture.
What methods/tools do you use when creating your works?
No matter, I do traditional or digital art, I always begin with a sheet of paper and a mechanical pencil. In the case of traditional illustrations (which means “often”) I use watercolor, pen or pencil. After scanning, I use Photoshop, mainly to set the correct contrasts and color, or add text. In the case of digital projects I’m scanning sketches in pencil, and then draw on the tablet almost as much as on a sheet of paper.
The biggest achievement you have accomplished so far?
Simply put, the greatest achievement for me is surprisingly great interest in my work. If I had to choose one specific project, I would like to say that I am very proud to get invitations to participate in the exhibition of “steampunk” (may 2013, Ackland Museum, NC). My illustration was also selected for the banner promotion the whole collective exhibition. I was even more pleased when almost all my works exhibited there were sold.
Do you have any creative rituals that help you come up with the concept?
I like to listen to heavy and melodic music that puts me in a trance (i.e., dark, eerie, melancholy) mood. I start with “brainstorming” in a relatively short period of time browsing the many photos and illustrations related somehow to my task. Then I do about a dozen sketches, sketches, just for myself.
What is your favorite creation so far? Why?
I have a special love – painted water colors of the cathedrals, because they reflect my style quite well. I don’t remember the process of this concept. It was like a “glimmer of talent”. I don’t need to do dozens of sketches (as I often do) or to develop all the details. They are mainly the result of subconscious thinking.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was a child I wanted to be an archaeologist or paleontologist, as I’m fascinated by the past. In high school I was more interested in the fine arts and decided to study architecture. Since then, I try to combine my interest in design and construction of buildings with a passion for illustration.
Is there a special experience that affects how you approach your art? If Yes, what is it?
Rather, it is the result of several years of constant contact with a picture. The study of architecture had the greatest influence on it. During my studies I had a wide range of creative activities (drawing, sculpting, study of colors etc.). Even more important was classes design and history of architecture. It was a valuable basis for practice at home. This allowed me to paint detailed buildings and landscapes from my imagination. In addition, I used to show my work to others and benefit from criticism.
Read more about Elwira Pawlikowska