We had a chat with our amazing new illustrator Ana Duna, and got to know a little more about her life!
Where do you live/work?
Right now I am living in the wonderful city of Granada in Spain, where I also work from a little studio I have set up in my house.
What do you like about working there?
I love working here because it is a very peaceful place with a lot of green areas and magic places but also it is pretty lively and the people here is very kind, also it is so sunny most days!
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I love my job, it allows me to read so many stories and imagine in my head each scene and each character however I want… and having the possibility to actually bring to life those images is so magical.
How did you get into illustration?
The third year of my Fine art studies I moved to England and I had a drawing teacher that gave me a lot of freedom to research my own interests so I don’t really know how but I discovered the work of a few illustrators and suddenly I realised that it was an actual career I could pursue so I dedicated that year to study other illustrator’s works, visit bookshops, write and draw a lot.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
Usually I would start with very tiny sketches made in my sketchbook trying to figure out character design and composition of the page and once I have this clear y like to work directly on Photoshop, which is great because it gives you so much freedom to experiment; I finish the sketches digitally, then I do the line work and finally I work on the color.
When I get stuck and need a bit of inspiration I like to go back to gouaches, which is my favourite traditional medium because it allows you to get so many effects, I particularly like to combine them with pencil colors, the textures that you can create are so interesting and painting traditionally is quite relaxing for me so I like to do it from time to time.
What or who are you most inspired by?
I get inspiration from so many things but I guess most of it comes from the observation of little things in everyday life; I also like to get inspired by the mood and the color palette of good films like Wes Anderson’s and so many other great directors that use color in super clever ways.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Honestly I have so many, I absolutely love Quentin Blake, I mean how can someone be so talented? I also adore Ronald Searle and his illustrations full of personality, and I find Sempé’s drawing so charming! I also enjoy many contemporary illustrators like Carson Ellis, Marc Boutavant, Julia Sardá, Benji Davies, Sebastien Mourrain… their work is to die for!
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I really love drawing kids and animals, I particularly enjoy drawing facial expressions since I feel it is the best way to express emotion and I love how easy it is for the reader to empathize with the characters and engage (or get involved?) with the different situations that they are living. Humour has also always been an essential part of both my work and life, I love to have fun working and I particularly enjoy creating interesting characters and the worlds they live in.
Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
Yes! I really loved Poliche, the main character of the book “El Pampinoplas” published by SM. He went to visit his grandfather to the countryside and although he thought it was going to be utterly boring it ended up being a complete adventure!
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Catching up with friends is always a good idea, makes you laugh and refills your energy, just what you need after a long day working; also going for walks by my own listening to good music is very nice and another thing I like to do is going to my theater classes, it is so magical getting to be another person for a couple of hours!
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
Have fun drawing, draw a lot and never give up!
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
Roald Dahl stories made me travel to so many places, I enjoyed those books so much.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
It was Just Kids by Patty Smith, a really inspiring book about young artists living in New York, I loved the creative atmosphere about it.
What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
I hope to work on some exciting projects! And if possible, travel a bit because it always brings me new ideas.
What’s your ultimate dream?
To spend my life doing the things that I love to do and surrounding myself with good people that I love, simply that :)
Welcome to the family, Ana!