Welcome back, friends! We're excited to talk about, yet another talented illustrator who has truly blessed us with her art! Let's give a big round of applause to Timea Gazdag, another member of the #IllustratorTeam. Timea comes from Hungary, but now lives in the UK. Besides illustration, she also loves to sing and observe the world through an artistic eye. We recently sat down with her to ask her about her journey through art and life. We hope you love reading about her adventures as much as we have whilst getting to know her!
QK: Timea, first off, we wanted to welcome you officially to Qamber Kids! We're so excited to share your work with our extended literary family and we appreciate you taking the time to share with us today.
TG: Well, thank you for getting me on board! I am very excited to be a part of the Qamber Kids family.
QK: To begin, can you tell us about your journey into illustrating and what led you to pursue your passion?
TG: Hmm, let me think… I think I took the first steps of my illustrating journey in secondary school. Bored in class, I occupied my hands by doodling on the edges of my notebooks. Especially my maths and physics ones, haha!
I always loved to escape into my own world, and especially as a teenager, I found it difficult to see any beauty or find much interest in the world outside. And drawing turned out to be my great escapism, I felt like I could become the things I was drawing, if only for the time that I was working on them. Drawing the characters I loved felt like I could meet and get to know them, it felt like we had a special connection. And then, I could also make things happen that just didn’t seem to want to happen in real life (and that was me blossoming into a fan artist!).
QK: Your story of escapism through art is something many of us can relate to. Illustration can be a difficult business to break into. As you developed your career, what helped you most?
TG: To be quite honest, I don’t consider myself to be an Illustrator. It is just one of the things I do, and enjoy doing – I find it very therapeutic.
I spent (spend) a big part of my life to train myself as a musician and work as a singer most of my time. But trying to make your living as an artist is truly difficult, and sometimes performing seems like a mission impossible in itself too. There is so much solace in knowing that I don’t have to rely on either to be able to express myself and when I can’t sing I can shape my thoughts in drawing. When I can’t draw, I embroider, and when I can’t embroider, I just hang out with my donkey and cat friends. This is my support system!
QK: Now that you're part of the Qamber family, we hope to be part of your support system too :) Us creatives have to stick together! We see you favor traditional tools, primarily pencils in your craft.
TG: I do! Not sure if that’s more coming from the fact that I never really had much access to proper digital tools though.
QK: Can you describe your technique?
TG: I normally start out with a pencil sketch that I get too attached to discard for a polished drawing. Then I color in with colored pencils and watercolors. After that, I digitalize it and add some extra textures and hues in photoshop and correct the things I don’t like.
QK: Oh the wonders of photoshop! Your process sounds like fun and we love how you bring in a range of mediums to create your characters. Is there a medium you love but don't get a chance to use often in your work?
TG: I also like painting with tea, or putting the add-on textures on real life instead of photoshop, almost like scrapbooking, just using any material that I can stick on or through my paper. I don’t do this very often anymore though, because 1 - photoshop is too easy; 2 – buying nice materials is more expensive than I like; and 3 – I live between two countries and only one of my living spaces has enough tools for this.
QK: How long does it take you to complete a project, typically and how do you decide when it is done?
TG: I hate planning, but sometimes I do that, and then it feels like ages for me to finish something. I much prefer when something happens organically, in which case I can finish something in half a day. Because I nitpick a lot, I then normally go back to it the next morning, because it is like having a pair of fresh eyes of my own on the work I’ve done. It’s like me showing myself what I’ve created the day before. And then giving myself advice on how to make it better.
QK: Coming back to work with fresh eyes really does make a difference for us too! Any projects from your portfolio you are especially proud of and would like to share?
TG: This is a portrait of my favourite singer/songwriter, Joanna Newsom and her album ‘Ys’. I worked a lot on it, and it was my attempt to quite literally draw out the songs on the album. It’s a bit wonky to my eyes now, but it’s still an honest love letter to her and her songs.
QK: You just reminded us of the Salvador Dali quote, "Drawing is the honesty of the art." It's amazing how much you can see an artist's journey through their work. While working on so many fantastic projects, have you been inspired to write a picture book of your own?
TG: Not really, not yet anyway! Don’t go on giving me ideas like this – I have enough unfinished projects as it is! :D
QK: There never does seem to be enough time does there? Are there any new projects you're working on that you'd like to share with us?
TG: I am embroidering this guy right now. He will hopefully remind people that it’s okay, and it’s actually beautiful to grow old, (and to die, and to decay) respectfully.
QK: That's such a beautiful design and sentiment. Something we should all embrace :) Speaking of life, are there any professional goals that you have not yet reached?
TG: Oh gosh, too many!
QK: What do you see for your future?
TG: Well, what I do know, is where I would like to see myself in the future. Living on the edge of a little woodland, living with my own deer friends, baking cakes so delicious that they break hearts, singing beautiful music with people I respect and admire, writing songs I’m pleased with, drawing things I’m happy to share. And maybe when I’m old, the whole street to secretly think that I may be a witch.
QK: Haha, worthy goals indeed ;) Do you have any advice or insight for illustrators who are trying to break in?
TG: I am not sure I am in any position to do so, but... I know it’s a cliché, and everyone says it – don’t give it up. If it gives you anxiety to do it for other people, do it for yourself. There is too much beauty and intricacy in your brain begging to be expressed. And I promise you that future you will treasure it immensely.
QK: Timea, thank you so much for sharing your story and your art with us today. It's truly been a pleasure. We can't wait to see everything you bring to life with us!