I'm Greek. I grew up on a small island called Spetses, which is two hours away from Athens by boat. During my childhood I used to draw a lot and with my environment's encouragement, I grew up having a conscious creative identity. As a perfectly logical step when I finished school I wanted to study painting. As it happened, I studied painting and attended the mosaic and graphic design studios at the Athens School of Fine Arts. The latter was the one that defined my next step. I loved its process and discipline and I started working as a freelance graphic designer. I came to the U.K to do a postgraduate degree in graphic design and I decided to stay in London for my present future. The graphical work that surrounded me influenced me a lot. I started illustrating as part of my work, and gradually it became my work! The transition came very naturally as a progress and it felt the very right thing for me to follow, it combines many things I love doing. I have been illustrating professionally for a little less than a year.
what steps are you going to take to have the career in illustration you'd like?
I think it is essential to be aware of what is happening around, what are the current trends, the concerns etc. so I try to keep up. I look to find the ways that enable me to get my work promoted better. I am taking care of everything that is related to my work, like my website, blog, flickr photo stream, prints and promotional material. I aim to update my internet sites regularly with new work, so to keep others well informed of what I am doing. Also I seek to introduce my work to people that I respect and admire because of their work.
can you talk a little about your process?
I always start by expressing my thoughts on paper. Rough sketches with several notes are part of my usual beginning. Sometimes I even add cuttings from newspapers, and alter the image with the use of a marker. When I reach a clear idea that I like, I start to create my desirable composition on illustrator software. This would be my framework. Sometimes a very careful and detailed sketch on paper may precede it to use it as a guide, and I may also use some pictures to draw specific information like: shoes, glasses, clothes etc. I create the artwork gradually, I make the outlines first and I always leave space for improvisation. Usually I don't care much about the details in the early stages. And quite often, I enjoy printing the work and interfere with my pencil in a way to speed up the process of finding design solutions, which I adapt afterwards on illustrator. As you see I may think with a pencil or a marker, but I prefer the digital medium to make my artwork. It offers high accuracy, which I like very much, and I maintain control of the result.
what inspires your work?
Everything I think; a phrase on the wall, a riddle, the clutter and the unexpected. Markets, vintage objects, toys of all kinds and books! The supermarkets, museums, the city traffic and the tranquillity of the countryside. The posters in the underground, the early Renaissance period, décor magazines, cheap gravures, newspapers, the news. Generally, I love to observe things around me. To observe people, guessing things about them from their behaviour and the traces they leave in their passing.
favourite time of day to work on a project?
Usually when I have a deadline I work without time preference. It could be all day long. But in general I'd say that I very much enjoy working early afternoon until evening. I think concentrate more at that time of the day.
what's the best way for you to come up with ideas?
Firstly, I want to understand what's the general idea of the subject, what are the key issues and what's the purpose. I always do research on the subject; trying to find as much information as possible. During this process, I begin to have many ideas and almost always I start to think about more than one at the same time. In the process some elements are merged, and I end up having at least one good idea to suggest. That's my standard way. But also sometimes my ideas start with a case and a lot of questions. Something like a mind game. For example, if the subject is migraines, I will begin to "play" with the things I see around me by having questions like: if my coffee mug had a headache what would it look like? That's actually great fun and very helpful to approach my subject from many angles and to enrich my pictorial narrative.
who are your top 5 dream clients?
Oh, I don't know, I haven' t thought about it.. Mmm... The other day I was looking at The New Yorker magazine's covers, and I got jealous! I would definitely feel ecstatic to make their cover. And that is not just because of the cover, but also it would mean being part of the tradition of good illustrators.
advice for new illustrators like yourself?
Never give up! Fabulous things are about to happen!! It's something I often say. So, keep going!!
advice for older/established ones?
Cannot think of something right now.
all images copyright Eleftheria Alexandri - check out more here: http://www.ilikeyellow.com/
its all very very awesome!!!