Elia Fernández is an illustrator working mostly with pencils and watercolor. She’s been drawing very impressive characters who seem sad and lost in their thoughts. Some of her illustrations exhibit her subjects in an abstract dreamy world. She’s determined to find a specific style of her own to transgress the reality. Elia’s work is strong enough to make people move and feel their heart gripping with sympathy for her characters. Her art is also abundant with symbols to weave a story around these powerful images.
Hello Elia! Tell us a bit about yourself:
I was born in Madrid where I spent my my time studying illustration at the School of Arts in Madrid. Then, eager to discover new things, I moved to Den Haag, Holland, where I got to know the Dutch culture and started working as a freelance illustrator from what I called my ‘study-corner’ and worked on my first important projects. My daughter was born there in Holland. Just three months ago I made a big move to Sintra, Portugal to look for another way of life, nature and new inspiration for my personal work.
I think I have always been interested in illustration. You have to have support at home, Papa Noel brings you some pencil and a sketchbook that you receive on your birthday… rest depends on the individual how he uses them. It’s like a milestone for me every time I find my art evolving. That makes me feel like breathing the purest air.
What do you think about art? What do you get from it?
To answer these questions, I ask myself, “What is the effect of my life on my illustrations?” Sadness, loss and strength have inspired me a lot lately. And I think these feelings are really inspiring. How to draw happiness? It is impossible. The pain … it remains.
I like a lot to do crafts, reusing fabrics, redesigning clothes, using threads, feathers … etc.
How do you create your illustrations? How much time does it take?
For my personal works, I can contribute a night or a week, or I never finish sometimes. Many times I start something and lose the urge or feeling that made me create it, so I leave on the shelf. When I’m tremendously inspired, I can finish it within a day! Commissioned works may take a lot time whereas illustrations are always subject to deadlines.
The strength of women .
Is there something that challenges you as an artist?
The quick sketches, fast drawings without giving a thought, drawing without worrying anything may go wrong, working with only a free hand and mind. All of these are challenges.
I feel at one with them and like to accompany those sad and thoughtful persons. In real life one has to try harder and move on, come what may… for your baby, your partner, for yourself. But in my illustrations I can be with those lonely and sad people.
Your style is very pleasing and tranquil. What do you think about it?
Well, I think the inspiration keeps moving between all artists and reaches from one illustrator to another. We share ideas that are generated at disconnected places and times. But I have noticed that many artists usually prefer to draw people smiling or quiet or beautiful … I prefer my characters to have dark circles and look tired… I feel it that way.
I always use pencil and watercolor. Sometimes I use gouache. I should start experimenting again.
What would you call your achievements?
After years illustrating the characters of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (like a personal artwork) one day I received an email from NY offering me to make illustrations for HBO ‘Game of Thrones’ series. That was amazing!
Most of the works exhibited in contemporary art museums are junk. There are certain exceptions but most of it is only there for commercial purpose. BUT, I think there are currently many super-creative people doing amazing things on the streets or have projects of their own. These people get no money and exhaust themselves. There are a lot of creative and amazing people … but normally you will not find their works in the museums of contemporary art.
What are your future plans and ambitions. Any projects in mind?
Forgotten and incredible women. Female creativity.
There is so much art to see, so many projects and inspiring people. We can learn so many things from so many people. Pages like Colossal or Juxtapoz are great to discover the amazing creativity. There are so many amazing illustrators, painters, photographers. Shaun Tan, Jeremy Geddes, Mark Powell, Ana Juan, Etam Cru, Henrietta Harris, Alessandra Maria, MartineJohanna, Naomi Vona, Laura Makabresku, Ezgi Polat, Alexander Kuzmin… I love their art!
I also get a lot inspiration from photography. I’m also inspired with women like Virginia Woolf, Vivian Maier, Helena Almeida, Seraphine Louis. Nowadays I’m deeply into the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska whom I’ve recently discovered.