Our wonderful Plum Júlia Moscardó had a chat with us about her life as an illustrator and what she does in her spare time- take a look below!
Where do you live/work?
I've lived in quite a few places in recent years: Leeds, Cambridge, Valencia... and now I have settled in Nottingham with my partner. I work from home, where I have my own studio.
What do you like about working there?
It is peaceful and warm. I can hear the pigeons and birds tweeting from here. It also feels like a sanctuary where I can make artwork. It is my "private" space, which makes me feel more free when going through the creative process. On the other hand my partner Joe (also an artist) has his studio downstairs, so I can give him a shout if I need another pair of eyes.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I love every single bit of the creative process, from having an idea to developing it and giving it the final shape. An illustrator must be versatile. Exploring how to communicate to others across wide and varied contexts provides a stimulating contrast to my other self lead painting. Through illustration I can feel connected. Connected to the people I work with, to the readers and to stories of unbounded potential.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I work with multiple techniques, from oils, watercolours, gouache, colour pencils, brush-pens to mono-print and sometimes photoshop too. Recently I have started to limit the amount of digital editing that I do to the artwork in order to explore the analog process further.
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
Houses and animals. Houses have so much character. They communicate things such as: the passing of time, the people who live in it, when and where they were built and how old or young the people living in the house are. Animals are perfect for studying body language as they do not communicate through words. Often they're up for some mischief... and I must admit I have a soft spot for naughty characters.
Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
Yes, Raccoon! Though I also have a lot of love for Koala as it was the first character that came together and that I was proud enough to make a story about.
What or who are you most inspired by?
Everyday life. If there is an animal in the house then it will most definitely influence the next character I will create. I like observing their movements, the expression in their eyes, their moods etc. I also look up at past painters such as Ramon Casas, Edouard Vuillard, Hammershoi... and pattern designers or old Vogue fashion illustrators.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Lots! Every now and then I am lucky to find a new illustrator who's work is tremendously inspiring. Hugo Pratt has been one of my favourite illustrators since I was a teenager. His comics transport me to far away places. To me, he's one of the best artists at portraying different cultures and landscapes. Rumiko Takahashi was also a great influence through my adolescence, I used to redraw her comic covers and I love her sense of humour and characters.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I do a lot of baking. Recently we got an allotment too. I don't go to the gym but I have been digging a lot of couch grass while listening to our neighbour mix Elvis Presley with Yodelling (it makes you dig harder).
How did you get into illustration?
While I was studying Fine Arts in Valencia I fell in love with oil painting. I always felt pulled towards illustration projects. Later, when studying Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art I saw the diversity illustration has to offer and enjoyed the challenges it imposes. Since then I've been exploring how these two worlds entwine and inform each other. I feel the division between the two is gradually melting away.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
· Find what inspires you and explore it.
· Experiment a lot.
· Get into a healthy routine that includes seeing friends, family and doing exercise.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
"Plou" and "Per molts anys, Laia", illustrated by Pilarín Bayés and written by Assumpta Verdaguer and Adelina Palacín. And "Bathwater's hot" by Shirley Hughes, which I have recently passed on to my two years old nephew. The Harry Potter series were my favourites in my teens (and still are).
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
"Circe" by Madeleine Miller. A great read, I loved every bit and recommend it to everyone. If you like greek mythology this one is a modern and beautiful story that will take you to the world of Greek gods.
What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
To stay healthy and happy as well as to keep drawing and developing my illustration and painting career.
What’s your ultimate dream?
I hope my life continues to be full of wonderful creative projects and people... Steadily striving towards more sustainable living in harmony with nature, and a big studio full of light.
Welcome to the family, Júlia!