This week we've been catching up with NEW PP artist Madalina Tantareanu, from her home in Berlin. We wanted to get to know a little more about Madalina, what inspires her and what she most loves about being an illustrator. She was more than happy to share her thoughts, so grab a cuppa and lets get to know a little more about Madalina...
Where do you live/work?
I was born in Romania, but I am currently living in Berlin, Germany. I live in a beautiful apartment close to the center of Berlin, with a huge park near. I like to call it a big forest in the middle of a huge city. I work as a freelance illustrator here, but I also have a part-time job as a graphic designer. So my mornings start with typography and grids, and they end with joyful illustrations.
What do you love about working there?
Berlin is a wonderful city for artists. It breathes art, history (Berlin's history fascinates me and you can feel it everywhere around the city), it has a cultural effervescence and many opportunities. I often compare this city to a huge canvas. You can see amazing, beautiful graffiti at any corner, big paintings on the walls, history themes drawn by artists around the world. Not to mention the remains of the Berlin wall, all covered in suggestive paintings. This city is amazing and the more I discover it, the more I love living here!
I have always loved both graphic design and illustration. I tried to give one up, but after some time, I felt the need to start again. So I decided that the best solution for me is to feed both my passions. This part-time job as a graphic designer gives me the opportunity to evolve and learn new things related to typography, branding, editorial design. My freelance projects are only on the illustration field, so my routine is kind of balanced.
What are your dislikes?
What I strongly dislike is that I don`t have enough time to attend each art event or each exhibition here in Berlin. There are so many!
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
Illustration is my way of expression. When I draw, I just put myself on that paper. All the feelings, ideas, thoughts…they come out exactly how they are, through my hand, onto that piece of paper. When you see my illustrations, you can see me in there, and the more I express, the more detailed and complex the illustration gets. I express through drawing more than I can express with words, and this is what I love most about being an illustrator.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I mostly draw by hand, in black and white. Lately, my style evolved and I started to use also colors, but just accents. I am careful not to center the idea of the illustration around color. I love the black and white balance, and I focus on creating the best equilibrium between them. I will always add some cherry red or a bright turquoise on top, just to give a bit more life to the illustration and a finishing accent.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
I love to draw abstract patterns, floral and intricate designs. I also like to use typography as a base for my illustrations. I recently developed a series of illustrated cities, in which I illustrate beautiful cities I have visited (Barcelona, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin). The specifics of these houses fascinate me, therefore I will go on and on with this study of the architecture and symbols of cities.
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
Well, I actually think there should not be any tricky parts. If you work hard, you are very disciplined and motivated, you promote your work and you trust yourself, things should just settle with time. In the end, this is a passion turned into a lifestyle, into a job, and we are the luckiest people in the world to be able to do that. So, no tricky parts. Only ups and downs.
Alright, there are some tricky parts when you encounter a creative block, but this could also happen to writers, composers, musicians and to every artist. The key is to learn how to get over this block. So just ups and downs.
What or who are you inspired by?
Everything around me is an inspiration. I can find it in the smallest things I observe daily, in music, in nature, in people. The Midnight series started one night when I was listening to a song called Midnight in Chelsea, and I started to draw Midnight in Barcelona. Being very receptive to the things around us is one of the things I do. And I write down every tiny thought I have that one day might just be transformed into a drawing.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
I have so many illustrators I love! A throw back in history: my favourite of all time is Aubrey Beardsley. His style inspired me so much! I love his black and white compositions! I am also following McBess, a French illustrator, Mattias Adolfsson and DZO. Their work is fantastic! On the typography and lettering front I love Martina Flor and Jessica Hische.
What do you like to in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I am a big fan of motorcycles, so when I am not outside riding my Yamaha, with the wind in my hair and the greatest smile on my face, I go running or hiking. I love nature! I also love history and I try as much as I can to read during the weekends. I am in love with reading about political ideologies and the World Wars.
How did you get into illustration?
I was a student at the Faculty of Journalism when I first had contact with a magazine layout, and I realised I want to do graphic design. After three years of graphic design, I knew I wanted to be an illustrator, so I started to draw more and more, pushing myself to the limits. Basically, I can say I have been drawing for 4 years. It's been a lot of work, a lot of ambition, a lot of struggle. But in the end, I did it. Discipline and work can lead to great results!
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
First of all, work! Work as much as you can. Draw on anything! Draw anything. If you draw every day, you create a flow that can allow you later to overcome creative blocks.
Second, promote. Show your work to people.
Last, but not least, work again! Work hard and then things will happen naturally. Clients will come. Just try to become the best version of yourself.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
When I was really young I completely loved Cinderella and all the illustrated fairytales. I still like them and look for inspiration in that direction. Later, my favourite books were The Trial – Franz Kafka and 1984 – George Orwell. I think I created a book cover for 1984 while I was studying graphic design.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
Actually, the book I've just finished is called: Manage Your Day-to-Day, Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It`s a great book for freelancers! Tips on organising your time, your projects, creating a routine. A must read for all the illustrators out here!
What’s your ultimate dream?
To be happy. And to make the world a little better with my illustrations. I always love to take part in art fairs or Christmas markets with my drawings. I can observe and study people`s reactions. Some of them, when they get close, are so frowned, but when they see the illustrations, they just start smiling and wondering how I drew them. It`s a lovely feeling. And it`s enough to keep me going.