Gizem Vural aka littleteashi was born in Istanbul, Turkey and presently lives and works in New York City. Her fanciful illustrations are full of colorful vibrancy and whimsical figures that take amusing form to please all alike. There’s a rich detailing here and there and meticulous use of patterns and shading. Here we present to you some of her recent wonderful work with her words on her work and related stuff:
Please tell us about yourself:
I’m Gizem, I was born in Istanbul, Turkey. Before I moved to USA, I was studying graphic design. But I always wanted to become an illustrator, it was like a dream to me. In Istanbul, at that time illustration could only be seen in children books, it wasn’t common to be used as advertisement of a product or for an article in newspaper/magazines. Now it is changing slowly, becoming more common to be used everywhere but still not good as here in US. So, the illustration community, history of illustration in US has always been in my mind, like a dream. I’m glad now I’m here, learning by myself, also drawing for my dream clients. I still have a long way to go, but I’m very happy that I can do what I like the most in my life.
I know this is so cliché but I was drawing since I know myself. I remember I had many oil pastels and color pencils all the time around me. I used to play piano a lot, and I did ballet for a short time. I was always into art as long as I know myself. Though, in high school I decided to become a translator, learning different languages and cultures in university. But later my husband, at that time my boyfriend and some teachers at high school urged me to go to Fine Arts University. They really changed my mind.
In my last year at high school, I started to get prepared for entrance exams for fine arts universities. I wanted to become a painter but later I decided to study graphic design. After 7 years, I learned that designing is not my thing at all. Because of that I began keeping sketchbook with me draw everything around me also my own thoughts…Later after we moved to NY, one of my pieces got chosen to be archived online at American Illustration. It was a big surprise for me. I went to their party, that is being held every year in November. I met my dream artists and many amazing people there. This is how I got into world of art/illustration.
I don’t know really. But as an illustrator, right now, I don’t think I need one. I saw artist statements of painters, sculptors and artists, I don’t think it is common among illustrators. But I am not sure.
Most of your work is full of humor in form and content. Is your work an extension of your personality?
I never thought that way if I am full of humor or my work is. But I think my work is evolving to that way. I’m trying to use more humor and add more feelings to them when I draw about something.
How do you get into creative mode? When do you call an illustration perfect?
Before I get into my creative mode, I am more productive in the morning until afternoon. I love waking up early and make my coffee ready before I start drawing. I think if an illustration can reach to audience then it is a perfect illustration.
I mostly use pencils, many pencils, and sometimes I add a little ink, I love using ink brushes. If I am not working with pencils, I scan it and I color or edit my work digitally. I also have some favorite brushes in my Photoshop when I’m drawing digitally completely.
Do you have a favorite work or a project having a great story behind?
I like all of my work, but if you ask if I have a favorite one, I haven’t made one yet. I’m still waiting that big dream work to create.
This year my biggest achievements I think are two works of mine getting chosen to appear in American Illustration 34 annual book. It was my dream since I was in the university. Sometimes it feels unreal to me. And one of my works was also chosen to be in Latin American Ilustracion 4. Also I worked with Len Small for Nautilus, one of my dream clients. I love every work in their magazine; also the articles are always so interesting! It’s going to be published this month. 🙂
What are your future plans/projects, ambitions, inspirations etc.?
I want to work harder, I hope someday I can do work for the New Yorker or NYTimes. I am going to draw more, read more to become better at what I do.
It’s hard to pick, hmm, lately I am looking back again and again to The Iron Giant book by Ted Hughes, but I love the illustrations in it by Laura Carlin. They are amazing! One of my favorite films is Metropolis! I love it! For music, I’m lately listening to Joey Alexander’s My Favorite Things album. Most of the times I listen to jazz music when I draw.
Something to say to our readers or aspiring artists:
Work hard, be patient, make some friends in the same field. Friends are important!