Brightness Magazine No 15

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Digital Journal of Illustration |


SPOTLIGHT | 18 Mariela Teragni






In This Issue of

Brigh |4

htness 10| TMC MOUSE

Mariacarla Taroni

Art Director & Editor In Chief

Creative Director & Graphic Designer

Web Design

Hasmik (Narjes Mohammadi)

Sadegh Amiri


International Contributors


Sales & Marketing

Concha Pasamar | Ana Rodriguez Ali Ghafele Bashi | Jen Yoon

Darya Ghafele Bashi

Brightness Studio

cover :I llustration by

Special Thanks To


M ariacarla Taroni

Mr.Keyvan Ghafele Bashi

a s k q u e s t i o n s a b o u t y o u r s u b s c r i p t i o n , p l e a s e e m a i l u s at:


w w w. b r i g h t n e s s m a g . c o m

Š All Rights Are Reserved.


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ABOUT BRIGHTNESS Brightness magazine was founded by Narjes Mohammadi (Hasmik) and Sadegh Amiri in 2016 as a digital magazine to present exclusive interviews with experienced illustrators, whose wisdom and knowledge are treasure troves for young artists. We aim to promote the current works of popular as well as up and coming artists, so that people can be inspired by the beauty and effectiveness of illustration in expressing powerful ideas. For those who want to dive deeper into the wonderful world of illustration we present articles that give valuable insights into the creative minds of the world. We hope you enjoy reading our publications as much as we enjoy publishing them.


We want to change the world with art and love...








Are you interested in submitting to Brightness? If you’d like the chance of being published in one of issue , get in touch via this page. Please note that we receive many submissions each day and have limited space in each publication. So show us the work you’re most proud of or the work you specially enjoy creating.

Submission Info Email your submission to with “ART SUBMISSION” in the subject line. • Submit images as JPEGs or GIFs • Submit up to 5 images • Image sizes should be at least 600px wide and no more than 1000px wide


Digital Journal of Illustration |


Mariacarla Taroni

Exclusive Interview



Taroni Mariacarla


Mariacarla Taroni works in Faenza and studied at the “Minardi. She achieved many important recognitions and her works have been shown in Italy and foreign countries, too. She draws her inspiration from the world around her. She brings the reality that she lives into her fantasy world where the people turn into animals. In every work there is a message and a wish to touch the observer and to interact with him. Her works have been shown to Forlì, Genoa, Imola, Paris, Ravenna, Modena, Ferrara, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Naples, Murano, Timisoara, Zacatecas, Carpi, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Pescara, Lodz, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Berlin, London, New York, Reggio Emilia, Gliwice, Campobasso, L’Aquila, Subotica, Fabriano, ...


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Mariacarla Taroni

Exclusive Interview

The technique used in my illustrations is chalcographic engraving, in particular, etching.

1) Tell us about yourself, when did you start to dedicate to the world of illustration? Since I was a child I always liked to draw, as a teenager I fell in love with a wellknown Italian cartoon character, Lupo Alberto and I enjoyed playing it recreating stories and real situations of friends. In 1991 and 1992 I participated in the competition “The Young People Meet Europe� of RAI (national radio and television broadcaster) winning both editions with artwork and this made me understand that I had to carry on my passion for art. 2) Do you have art studies, or were you self- taught? When the following year I enrolled in the evening Municipal T. Minardi Drawing School I wanted to make comics, but then I discovered new worlds, with new artistic techniques, such as chalcographic engraving, which led me to the path of illustration. I’ve always had creativity, but thanks to my teacher, Professor Ferretti was able to express my style, my personality and create my own characters. 3) How do you define your illustrations? How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started? What inspires your work? My works were born from an absolutely personal vision, sometimes even provocative, but that wants to be a meaning to create moods with people so to interact with them, also sending messages, thus not making my works static, cold, dead, but rather alives despite the themes discussed. In my works, fantastic subjects are depicted taking inspiration from the world around me. They are often populated by animal figures and bizarre elements with strong symbolic connotations. All this sometimes represents an ironic interpretation to fully understand the message of my art. The animal symbolism becomes, therefore, the filter, which I use to describe reality, charging it in this way with greater and more authentic vitality. Behind every work of mine, there is a profound intellectual study and research process on the chosen theme, which is the backdrop to my creativity. Starting from the careful study of my world, I draw inspiration from emotion, from the somatic and psychological traits of a friend and myself to transform them into animal caricatures. Some works are an original interpretation of the places I visited in my frequent trips, I myself become part of my stories identifying myself in some of my characters. The immediacy and legibility of the representation derived from the desire to establish a direct relationship with the viewer, to send him a message that he can understand without problems. 4) What are some of the techniques or processes that you used in creating the artwork for the book? Where does an idea of the mouse come from and how does it transform from an idea into a book? Can you speak about your process coming up with and creating an illustration? what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?

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Mariacarla Taroni

Once the topic has been decided, the research, documentation, study, for a realization, even if fantastic, of the setting and characters of my illustrations begin. All this takes care of the smallest details, to make it very realistic. In my projects, the book conceived in a classical way is the final phase. First, with the illustrations I create an artist’s book, a book never saw before that I exhibit in exhibitions and events. During these events, I often tell the story to visitors, so then the final phase begins: writing the story. The technique used in my illustrations is chalcographic engraving, in particular, etching. But in recent years my sensitivity has also developed in the photograph that I decided to take in my illustrations. I’m also very fascinated by conceptual art. Initially, fantastically, I identified myself in a giraffe, but then with time I reflected and identified more in a mouse, so my stage name Tmc Mouse was born. 5) How do you feel in receiving such an honour from the Sharjah festival and Bologna Awards? When you receive important awards like the one in Sharjah and Bologna, it’s always an emotion. They are feedback and opportunities for one’s artistic work. 6) Do you have side projects you work on? What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us? I don’t like to talk about future projects until I have certainty of realization. However, I am examining the opportunities offered to me. 7) What are some trends or visual styles you appreciate in contemporary illustration? What are some of the most important considerations in creating an illustration today? Where do you see illustration going in the next few years? In addition to being an artist, I also work in the cultural sector of children’s books and my favorites are wordless books, pop-up books and illustrated books. My genre is usually the fantastic illustration populated with humanized or bizarre animals. Nevertheless I like to discover all the illustrative genres, from the past to the present, from figurative to abstract. The illustrations in the books are the first works of art with which the child comes into contact, it is for him the first art gallery. I see the illustrations as a meaning of a communication for those who make them, but also as a tool to stimulate the imagination and make the mind more elastic for those who look at them, trying to snatch the story or inventing a new one. Among the people that I admire and respect there is Jella Lepman who has been able to make children’s lives better through books. She created the most important children’s library in the world in Monaco and established IBBY. Both of these exist today and carry on the ideals of the Lepman. | 12

Exclusive Interview

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Mariacarla Taroni

Exclusive Interview

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Mariacarla Taroni

Artist Books, Books Never Ever Seen | 16

Artist Books, Books Never Ever Seen | 17

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I am an illustrator and graphic designer. I was born in Argentina in 1984. And since I was a baby, I live in Buenos Aires. The drawing was always my ground wire. studied Graphic Design at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), where I graduated and had teaching experience. During the first years of my career, my interest in book design and my passion for drawing led me to study illustration. There is no university Illustration career in Argentina, so I had to learn to find my own way. I studied illustration for more than 12 years with renowned artists of the picture-book. I also did a lot of workshops: watercolor, narrative, lettering, serigraphy, artist’s book, coaching, and creativity. I love watercolors. It‘s a technique that connects me with very deep aspects of my being. I really enjoy the dialogue with water, the surprise and the unexpected. In my work, I usually use reduced color palettes. I like to explore the depth of color, work from the stain and let the paper texture express itself. My inspiration comes from nature, abstract art, and textile design. With my illustrations, I tell the stories that move me and make me think. Nowadays, I work from my studio in Buenos Aires, doing design and illustration projects.

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M a r i e l a Te r a g n i

I l l u st r a t o r w w w . m a r i e t e r . c o m

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The Creative Space Spotlight

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HALLOWEEN P u f f i n te a m |

w w n g u i n.c o.u k

The witching hour is nearly upon us. Get in the mood for Halloween with these spinechilling books, perfect for ghouls and boils after a long night of trick-or-treating. But be warned, they may send shivers down your spine…

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The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch, and she’s got a lot of work to do. She always manages to land herself in a spot of bother – from disastrously mixing up spells and potions, to crashing her broomstick. Written by Jill Murphy, this classic - and often shambolic - boarding school tale is perfect for fans of the magical Harry Potter series.

The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett This compendium of laugh-out-loud stories is perfect for tricksters this Halloween. From acclaimed author Terry Pratchett, The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner features 14 hilariously chaotic stories, combining everything from wizards, pirates, and errr… a mysterious vacuum cleaner!? With fantastic illustrations and a little bit of magic and mayhem, this is a light-hearted but spooktacular collection, that will delight Pratchett fans as well as newcomers to the author’s work.

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud The Screaming Staircase is not a book for the faint-of-heart. The first in a chilling series by Jonathan Stroud, it’s set in a time with a sinister problem - for over 50 years ghosts and menacing ghouls have been troubling the country. Focusing on a ramshackle Psychic Investigations Agency, plucky Ghost Hunter Lucy Carlyle tackles a grisly assignment in one of the most haunted houses in England. Will she survive to tell the tale?

The Witches by Roald Dahl The Witches HATE human children, and have a grand plan to eradicate every single child – permanently! They plot, scheme, and terrifyingly, turn children into unwanted creatures (like mice!). It’s up to one sevenyear-old boy and his grandmother to try and stop them. Can they save the day, or will they succumb to The Grand High Witch and her bloodthirsty gang of child-hungry foes? This is an enduring tale, by one of the greatest storytellers of all time. | 23

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Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens Do you fancy yourself as a real-life supersleuth? Then this book is for you. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a ‘secret’ detective agency at their school – The Deapdean School for Girls, but there’s nothing interesting to investigate. That is until they find the Science Mistress lying dead in the school gym! The body disappears, and the girls set out to prove it was a murder. But with no body, they have to convince everyone a murder even happened first. Follow the clues with these budding detectives in this thrilling novel, with a crime perfect for some mysterious Halloween reading.

Danger Really Is Everywhere by David O’Doherty Halloween can be a terrifying, and dangerous time – there are goblins and ghouls, and witches and tricks. If you’re scared of things that go bump-inthe-night and need a little reassuring, or perhaps just a good old chuckle, this laugh-out-loud guide will show you how to avoid the dangers that lurk ominously in the background of everyday life. What, you didn’t know ghosts were afraid of bubbles!? You can even learn how to tell if your teacher is a vampire. Stay safe!

The Twits by Roald Dahl Mr and Mrs Twit are a foul and horrible couple who love to play ridiculous and spiteful tricks on each other. Mr Twit smells terrible and has cornflakes and sardines in his beard. Mrs Twit isn’t much better, and has a glass eye – you certainly wouldn’t want to bump into this horrifying duo on a dark Halloween night! The nasty pair keep a family of pet monkeys, the Muggle Wumps caged up all day, with a cunning plan to create a silly circus. But not for much longer, because the monkeys are planning to trick the terrible Twits, once and for all...

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The Demon Undertaker by Cameron McAllister A terrifying kidnapper known as ‘The Demon Undertaker’ is on the loose, and he’s unleashing a reign of terror on the streets of London. Snatching victims across the capital, this masked man in his ghastly hearse seems to have a sinister plan – but is he a man, or is he something altogether more alarming? Make sure you lock your doors before going to sleep after reading this sinister tale - The Demon Undertaker will leave you chilled to the bone.

Where Monsters Lie by Polly Ho-Yen The children of Mivtown have grown up knowing the legend of the monsters of the loch. Every year the villagers throw an offering into the dark waters to appease them – though of course no one actually believes the stories behind the legends. But this year peculiar things begin to happen. Protagonist Effie’s life starts to slowly unravel. First, her rabbit goes missing, and then, so does her mum. This atmospheric book is a gorgeous tale of legends, curses, and local mysteries.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney Double Down, the eleventh adventure in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, follows Greg Heffley’s escapades over the spookiest time of the year – All Hallow’s Eve. With the frightening night just around the corner, the scares are coming at Greg from all angles. Will Greg survive Halloween, and, even worse, his mum’s embarrassing party games? | 25

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Exclusive Interview

Exclusive Interview with

NICOLAS BARROME FORGUES Nicolas Barome Forgues was born in Saint Jean de Luz in 1980. He grew up in the Basque country and made his debut in the School of Applied Arts in Bordeaux, before getting into illustration and creating with his friends Jeanspezial collective. He started out by painting on walls with his mates, where his images rapidly evolved thanks the discovery of new techniques including etching, which had a real impact on the way he produced his images. Passionate about the cinema and staging, obsessed with frames and textures, his world is full of details, complex images and several different reading levels. He can bring life to fruit and vegetables, make fun of religious icons or portray his childhood memories with ease, such as the carnival or his mum’s homemade dishes. With no limits, his style ressembles both the works of masters of classical painting and the creators of SpongeBob Squarepants. | 27

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Exclusive Interview

1. Tell me a bit about you and your background: where are you from/ where did you study? So my name is Nicolas Barrome forgues and everybody calls me Nico because this name is definitely too long. I am a 38 years old illustrator and I was born in the southwest of France, in the Basque country close to the Spanish frontier. After very classical and general studies during my first grade and one disastrous year in a commercial school, I remembered I loved drawing and creating things since i was a child! At that time art school was not popular and I didn’t know these kinds of studies before. I decided to start a new challenge in an applied art school in Bordeaux ( France ) and that was a revelation. After 5 years in two different schools, I decided to start my career as a freelance illustrator, which was in 2005. 2. Have you always wanted to be an artist? Not really that was not something very natural. As I said, during all my childhood, I spent a lot of time drawing, building, cutting ... creating all kinds of things. I was an only child and I needed a lot of imagination to invent new games and activities so I painted my toys, I built settings for my GI JO characters, I drew deformed monsters, etc ... But when it became the time to go to college and do my first grade, I forgot that a bit. It felt very good to draw stupid things on my copies in order to make my friends laugh, but I didn’t think I would do a creative job later...I was wrong. I am a freelance artist and illustrator for 14 years now and I’ll not give my place to anybody! 3. Can you talk to me a bit about the things that influence your work? If I had to find a short definition of my influences and what’s in my mind, I would say that it is a mix of references to science fiction, horror and fantasy movies, memories from my childhood, a bit of classical painting and a lot of SpongeBob. For example, imagine Godzilla and his friend Roswell having dinner with Jerome Bosh and Salvator Dali. they are eating a delicious grilled chicken and an apple love in the middle of an amusement park and Spongebob is their waiter! But it also could be a giant octopus eating a delicious boeuf bourguignon ( famous french plate ) with a german shepherd in this bar from the painting night hawks and ... Spongebob is the cooker. 4. You worked on a different basis. What impact on your style? I’ve always wanted to be polyvalent. I think it was one of the first rules I had when I started to work as an illustrator. And i always worked in collectives, with my friends from art school so it helped me to test a lot of different technics! At the end of our studies, we decided to create a JEANSPEZIAL collective and it was for us as a laboratory for any kind of experience. Each one of us had is own references and favorite disciplines so that was very easy to exchange. One day one of us wanted to try silkscreen, so we tried it, the day after another one proposed to try etching, so we bought a press and tried etching and that was like this every time.

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5. Your creatures are so cute and are really personal, where do they come from? I have been influenced by a lot of cartoons I watched when I was a kid but also recent ones like SpongeBob so you can see a lot of references in my creatures. In general, you can see it in some details which give stupid attitudes to my creatures ( for example, the eyes are often references to SpongeBob ). But I also like anthropomorphism! It means I like to use food and objects of everyday life and transform them into characters ! This is a very good way to give personality to my creatures! For example when you see an ice cream character, it reminds your memories and how much you liked it when you were young.. so you’ll love him and think he has a cute personality... And in my bestiary, I like to mix realistic and surrealistic things. For example donuts, dogs, monsters, vegetables, and unicorn! It is important for me that the people will have a point of references when they look at my pictures so it will be easier to play with their emotions. And finally, some of my iconic characters are direct references to my childhood. For example, I am often drawing a cookie with bright eyes, and it was exactly the one I loved when I was a kid! 6. How many times do you tend to draw a character until it’s right, and also how do you know that it is right? This is a very complicated question because it depends on the technic I use, the size of the drawing or painting, etc ... But in general, I am not fast! I am obsessed with the details and the textures and I need time to be satisfied. And there are no logic because, strangely, this is when I use spray paint and when I paint very big pictures that I am the fastest. On the contrary, when I am doing an original drawing with inks for example it can take a lot of time... And at the question how do I know when a character or a drawing is finished.. sometimes it has to be finished because I don’t have time anymore :) 7. With what technique are you more comfortable? As I told you I work fast with the spray paint and I have to admit that this is my favorite medium and technic now. I practice it for more than 15 years now and I have my tricks, the colors are amazing and I am not afraid anymore when I start a new wall even if it’s very big! But I also really like to work with my computer, the possibilities are unlimited, the eraser is magic and it is very comfortable... 8. What do you think about the effect of the illustration of special mural painting in the city? Of course, I like the fact that it becomes normal to paint huge walls and buildings in many cities all over the world, some of them are becoming real museums, people love that, this is very positive. I had the chance to paint some of them and you need an entire day to see all the different walls that have been done ( For example Rabat in Maroco, Saragoza in Spain, Mexico city..). 9. What is the best part about creating art using various art supplies and found objects? This is very important to me because I am getting bored very fast if I am doing the same thing for a long time. For example, I am very impressed but the artists who are spending their time only producing drawings or paintings for the next exhibition, always with the same technic. I can’t do that, I have to regularly change or I am getting bored.

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Exclusive Interview

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10. which of your projects has been most important to developing your personal style? To be honest I have no idea. I have worked on so many different projects and many of them had a good impact on my personal style. For me, the fact that I started to work in a collective has been the best positive and formative moment in my career because it had an impact on everything. 11. Besides hard work and talent, what other traits has led to your success? I am smiling and laughing a lot ... People remind you! And seriously, I don’t know if I have so much talent but more than technic, I think I have imagination and my own universe. This is for me the most important thing. You can be the most technical illustrator ever but if your ideas are boring and your universe is not personal, your technic will not be enough. 12. What are you passionate about besides your work? I am passionate about cinema and as I said before especially science fiction, horror, and fantasy movies. When I was a child, I was very lucky because my mother had a VIDEO CLUB. I think that was from my 4th-year-old to my 6th, the internet didn’t exist so that it was not so easy to watch movies. And in my mother’s shop, there was so much science fiction, adventure, and fantastic movies. I spent so many hours watching the star wars saga, Indiana johns, Legend, Dune... and I watched them sometimes 10 times ... I never asked my mom why I was not at school? Anyway, that was a perfect education and when I look at my pictures now, I must admit that these years in the video club had an impact on everything! 13. What is your favorite piece of work in your portfolio? Why did you make it? an Another hard question, to be honest, one more time I have no idea... My favorite is always the new one. 14. Any projects coming up you would like to share with us? For the moment I have some advertising projects, collabs, illustration jobs and some walls on my planning and I hope it will be like that for a long time. I mean, have the chance to work on a lot of diversified projects! And I have to think about how I could use my characters in a movie... this is one of my dreams!

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Exclusive Interview

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Around The World

Concha Pasamar ‘‘The Kite of Dreams’’ is published! Mohesiwä’s wishes take shape in the jungle where he lives and plays. Amunet smiles as she thinks about her future. Juana daydreams when she cleans car windshields and, on the other side of the world, Anja and her brother Tovo search amongst mounds of trash, without ever losing sight of their dreams. The boys and girls in these short stories fly their kites and dream of a better world. Grab on to its string and join them as you fly away with the Kite of Dreams. Concha Says: ‘‘I have to say that I liked both the idea and the texts: both authors showed with realism and simplicity, but at the same time with lyricism, the different situations and dreams they had devised for their protagonists, avoiding easy solutions or commonplaces.’’

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Narjes Mohammadi Hasmik

“What a Brilliant Idea!” is a book that is written and illustrated by me and published by Tuti publishing house. Two years ago, I had an art class with students. One day, I asked them to bring a photo of themselves and paint a portrait base on the picture after analyzing it. However, I was surprised at how much Social media imply them! They couldn’t see lots of beauties in their lovely faces and speak about their ideal look. I thought with myself, why should a seven-year-old boy or girl think over beauty surgeries! In this book, I tried to talk about the importance of differences in society. I wanted to remember them how much they are a beauty with all of their positive and negative aspects. I’m thrilled to announce that it was select in the COW and Hakka festival. It’s also translated to Greek, English, and Chinese.

Society of Illustrators

The Original Art 2019 Exhibit. Founded in 1980 by illustrators’ agent and art director Dilys Evans, this exhibit showcases original art from the year’s best children’s books as determined by a jury of outstanding illustrators, art directors, and editors. This year’s Silver Medal winners are Frank Morrison for The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop (Little Bee Books) and Sydney Smith for Small in the City (Holiday House/ Neal Porter Books). The Gold Medal is awarded to Melissa Castrillon for The Balcony (Simon & Schuster/ Paula Wiseman Books). The Original Art honors exceptional children’s book artists with two other awards each year. The Dilys Evans Founder’s Award celebrates the year’s most promising new talent in the field. The 2019 jury has selected Chris Sasaki for Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist (Random House Children’s Books/ Schwartz & Wade Books). The Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize artists whose body of work documents an innovative and pioneering contribution to the field. Nominees for the Lifetime Achievement Awards are put forward by past chairs of The Original Art, and the winners are selected by artists whose work has been juried into the show in the previous five years. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners are Nancy Ekholm Burkert and Mary Blair (posthumously).

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Kinga Britschgi

Exclusive Interview




Kinga Britschgi is a Hungarian artist who has been living in the United States since 1995. She has a degree in Fine Arts and a Masters’ in Bilingual Education. Kinga’s work has been published in magazines such as Advanced Photoshop, Photoshop Creative, Practical Photoshop, and Digital Studio. In 2013 Adobe chose her images as part of their official marketing campaign for their new Creative Cloud project. She has a love for surrealism, magical realism, and dark whimsy. Kinga also enjoys creating “story-pictures” that consist of mysterious images with multiple layers of meaning.

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Kinga Britschgi

Exclusive Interview

1. Tell me a bit about you and your background, what originally made you want to become an illustrator? I am originally from Hungary; I moved to the US in August 1995 with my American born husband. I was working for the Peace Corps for 5 years in Hungary, and he was a volunteer there, that’s how we met. We got married in a small country town in 1994, and one year later we packed up our common life and settled down in his home state, Idaho in the United States. Although I was engaged in traditional media for a long time, my art degree has a graphic design concentration, that’s how I got into digital art. I have been using Adobe products (mainly Photoshop and Illustrator) for decades, and have had illustrious clients to work with (Adobe, The Washington Post among others). As for becoming an illustrator, it started out with all those ‘weird’ visual ideas that have always been in my head. Even when I was doing traditional art my pictures often depicted surreal, dreamlike, magical elements. Digital media, with their convenient and easy ways of experimenting, lead naturally and evidently to enigmatic and mystical depictions and images, so that was the way I took when I started to create visuals in Photoshop and Illustrator. I published my works in magazines, books and online, and fortunately I found out there was a need for this type of illustrations as well, mainly in the book and music publishing industry. 2. Do you have art studies, or were you self- taught?’ Do you think there is a link between art study and success in art market? From Hungary I have a BA in Elementary Education and a BA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In the US I got an art degree and I also acquired an MA in Bilingual Education. The degrees show my two passions (apart from my family): art and linguistics. I think success in the art market is very much luck based as the ‘competition’ is huge. (I don’t like to use the word ‘competition’ in this situation; I would rather call it ‘spectrum’ or even | 39

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Kinga Britschgi

One, you need to understand the author’s thoughts and intentions first and foremost. Second, you need to sense a kind of ‘void’ in the text (in other words, you need to recognize what is missing), which your illustration can and should fill to be able to create a complete, finished and successful art work together. It is very important to emphasize the word ‘together’; you and your partner in crime (the author you illustrate for) always, always need to be aware that you are equal in the progress, and as such mutual trust is really important and imperative. If this trust in each other’s artistic intuition does not exist, the final result will be a soulless, meaningless product only, not an artwork in which the two parts (text and illustration) enhance, amplify and complete each other. That said, this situation is much rarer than you’d think, and consider yourself very lucky if you have a chance to work with a partner like this. Sometimes, sadly, authors consider illustrators as ‘visual servants’ who have only one task in the process: serve them unconditionally.

‘menu’.) It does not mean of course that very hard work is not crucial in the process, but unfortunately you need much more pure luck than you’d think. It is quite discouraging sometimes. In this sense it seems it does not matter how you acquire your skills and knowledge if you are talented. However, studying in an institution can help in one very important area: making professional connections that can lead to more recognition. Your professors usually great mentors; your institution often has opportunities for you to shine and make your name stronger in your area (different shows and exhibitions; display places; chances to meet with outsider sponsors and art professionals etc.) In this sense there might be a link between your success and your study to become an artist. 3. What sort of skills do you think you need as an illustrator? I think the most important skills (apart from very sturdy technical skills) in this area are intuition and empathy. As an illustrator you add an extra layer to an already existing art work, mostly a text (prose or verse), either fiction or non-fiction. To create a successful illustration you simply have to be on the same wave length with the author of the text. It means a few things. | 40

4. How do you define your illustrations? What or who influences your designs and the way of thinking? As I have mentioned, I am very attracted to surrealism. However, I do not think my illustrations are surreal. True, they are ‘not real’, but I would rather call my style magical realist instead (referring to magical realism in literature). I am a story teller; in my images I always try to tell a story – and yes, it is very often ‘weird’ and above realism; however, I like to work with realistic elements that I expose to other peculiar, intriguing, unexpected and enigmatic things or environment. I cannot point out any one (or even more than one, for that matter) particular influence; I adore the surrealists of course, but I also love collages. I am fascinated by the Victorian era’s steampunk, and at the same time by the mid-century modern. Very often my images emerge while reading a book, mainly magical realism (think of Murakami, García Márquez, Divakaruni). 5. Your art is surrealistic and magnificent. Does your work represent your personality? Thank you! Honestly, I can’t help it; my brain works like that all the time – which can be very entertaining, funny and quite annoying and frustrating sometimes. My son could

Exclusive Interview

tell you long stories about my ideas of how he should create some of his school projects… “Mom, no! Just… no!”  But I think he loves his ‘crazy’ mom and her ‘fantastic’ ideas. (Mainly if they stay within the boundaries of mom’s art.) 6. Tell us about your technique? Why do you choose digital painting? How does it effect on your approach? To be honest, I first started to create these digital images because of lacking of time. It started out as a game, a playful escape from the real world, and it was so easy to stop at any time, and get back to it when my schedule permitted. I did not have to clean up real paint, fix the charcoal, stretch the canvas, making sure my paintbrushes are soaked, sharpen my pencils, and all that jazz. And when I did not like something I created, it was not a big deal to delete an element or even restart the whole image without any extra cost or tedious set up. In creating my images I mostly use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and often ArtRage (a program that I find excellent to create traditional art effects digitally, like watercolor, pencil drawing, etc.) Let me clarify a frequent misunderstanding: I am actually not a digital painter; I do not use the computer programs to ‘paint’ pictures (to imitate real painting effects or procedures). My creating process is completely different from what a traditional or digital painter does. I am not sketching (at least not in their sense), I don’t use (digital) paintbrushes to create a painterly effect on the ‘canvas’, etc. To simply put it, I use photographs and manipulate them into being part of my final vision. That said, I do use painting techniques sometimes to correct an element or even to create a new one from scratch, but the majority of my images consists of already taken and changed (by me) photographic parts. These characteristics often define my approach. I always have an idea in my brain first (duh!). Among other artists who like to create as they go I might be weird in this sense, but I cannot do that. Before I even touch any key on my computer (or rather: lift up my reliable stylus), I simply must see the complete result in my head first. Everything, even the smallest detail. I am a very, very conscious artist, I | 41

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cannot emphasize this enough. Every single element, every single color choice, every single form or shape or pattern is chosen and placed in the picture for a definite reason. (And I can always tell you that reason if you ask!) The funny thing is, though, that as soon as I start working, usually a lot changes from that original image in my head. As I am working with photographs that are available for me, I often have to change either parts of my idea or sometimes the whole concept (depending on what is at my disposal), but it does not bother me most of the time (although occasionally it causes a bit of a frustration). 7. You usually play a lot with colors to make magical and elegant illustrations. What is particular about them that attracts you? Color is extremely important to me in every aspect of my life, including of course my work. When I mention color, I mean deep, saturated, rich and bright colors mainly. (All the walls in our old house represented my ob-

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session with deep, rich hues for instance, and you can spot me from miles thanks to the strong and bright colors I love to wear every day.) I am a very passionate and emotional person, and I guess, my attraction to strong, intense colors is kind of the manifestation of my inner self. I am attracted to warm tones mainly, that have an overall vintage feeling. 8. what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work? I am lucky enough to be able to get on the same wagon as my work is on; in other words, I can easily get excited by any job related topic. Nowadays it is mainly mythology, gods and goddesses, and such. But again, it might change overnight. Other than that I am fascinated by steampunk and technical imagery as well (gears, clockworks, architectural elements, technical drawings, etc); quite a lot of my images bear lots of Victorian based steampunk influence. 9. what are you passionate about besides your work? I am extremely passionate about literature. I am not just an avid reader, but also, literature for me, through its linguistic issues, is life itself. I often feel uprooted (in several senses), and in those times the only constant and sure point in my life seems to be my language and its effect on me through literature. I know it is hard to explain what I mean, and it is even harder to comprehend it completely. “The words are not correct”, says one of my favorite (Hungarian) authors in one of my favorite books. “Somewhere he might know the essence without any words; (…) The rarer the words are spoken, the thicker the truth becomes; the final substance lies around the silence.” 10. What would you do if the printed colors were different from the ones you designed on your computer? I would probably be storming passionately  But seriously, I do everything I can to calibrate my monitors correctly, making several trial prints on different printers, and so on, and so forth, but unfortunately, because of the type of jobs I do I do not have direct access to or power over the final product. So I just hope for the best.


I am lucky enough to be able to get on the same wagon as my work is on; in other words, I can easily get excited by any job related topic. Nowadays it is mainly mythology, gods and goddesses, and such. But again, it might change overnight.

11. How do you prepare your work for production? It depends on how my client wants to get it, but usually in a digital file format. The final image always has to be print ready (high resolution, correct size, correct color management). As I work with a computer program that uses layers to create the final image I make sure I flatten all the layers before I send over the file. I try my best to satisfy my clients, so I make changes and revisions if necessary but I don’t like my final image altered by someone else after I send over the finished illustration, that’s why I do not leave it in layers. Every piece is a bit of my child, a part of me, and as they all have many personal references (that are often recognizable only by me), I feel like my soul has been invaded or penetrated harshly if any changes are made that are out of my control. (I am talking about major changes, not like resizing and such.) It makes working with me a bit difficult I know but I feel I need to preserve my artistic integrity if I consider myself a serious artist. I respect my clients’ needs and desires but I think the respect should be mutual. 12. What is your favorite piece of work in your portfolio? Why did you make it? Oh, this is such a hard question! I have mentioned that I consider every

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piece as my child a bit, so it is difficult to choose just one. The ones that I do (or will) have on my walls, are Tale of a City (Budapest), Midsummer Night (Titania/ Hyppolita), Midsummer Night (Oberon/Theseus), Compartmentalized Sanity, New Moon Rises, My Frozen Songs, The Deerest Ones, But a Dream Within a Dream, What Lies Above, and The Last Temptation. From this list the most personal one is probably Tale of a City (Budapest) as you can easily guess. I was talking a bit about feeling uprooted all the time; I mean it concretely (moved to another country from my native land, Hungary), and metaphorically as well on so many levels. My childhood was not the safest and most comforting, and I was always feeling insecure. At the same time I lived in Central-Europe when the Berlin Wall collapsed, and with all the exuberant happiness and hope came uncertainty and vagueness also. Our whole world, that we thought to be unshakeable and solid, fell to pieces. Tale of a City was born out of all these mixed feelings and emotions. We did not know whether we were ‘free’ or was it just an illusion? Were our senses reliable or were they just playing jokes in our head? Were we allowed to be happy or should we have gone on feeling miserably hopeless? Was there a sunshine above us or the fog was still covering up everything? Was our life then leading to the other side of an unknown territory or the bridge was stretching into nothing? 13. What’s your advice to young illustrator how to present their art and present their art? I am not sure I can give any advice that has not been given already. The usual things for sure: lots and lots of work, and as much exposure as possible (think of social media, local galleries, and such). I know it is important to establish ourselves financially but it is also essential to keep our artistic integrity and pride. I did turn down clients (very, very high profile ones as well), because I felt I needed to make compromises that made me lose myself and my self-respect. 14. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I hope to be able to do what I am doing now: telling stories in pictures. I also hope some of these stories touch people’s hearts, make them contemplate about their life a little, and bring a little bit of happiness to all of us.

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Creative Space

Street art, illustration and skateboarding

Bonobolabo by Marco Miccoli is the reference point in Italy regarding the fans and the street artists. On top of the skateboard deck, you have the skateboarder’s feet and under the deck, you have the storytelling portrayed by graphics designed by the artists themselves. Since 2013 a lot of artists and illustrators have been collaborating in highlighting innovative projects directly on skateboards, t-shirts and screen prints: Ale Giorgini, Alessandro Ripane, Basik, Camilla Falsini, Codeczombie, Laurina Paperina, Lucamaleonte, LRNZ, Marcantonio, Mauro Gatti, Millo, NemO’s, No curves, Van Orton and many more. Marco, in addition to being a skater since 1988, is the curator of the Subsidenze Street Art Festival in Ravenna, which in only 5 years has showcased 25 considerable size art walls created by international artists. Since 2016 Marco has collaborated with Magazzeno Art Gallery where he presents his projects. Every single deck is hand-crafted and made in Italy which has been brought to life by expert craftsmen. In this case the skateboard is transformed into a decorative object, an object that in the past few years has become a must have and it has deservedly made its way into the bookshops of the most prestigious museums in the world like MOMA, the Guggenheim, and also galleries and “sacred spaces” for the contemporary arts. A very peculiar detail is the fact that Bonobolabo utilizes the pieces of scrap wood and recycled packaging material, usually considered waste material at an industrial standard, to create the deck itself. The graphics created in collaboration with the artists are all supported by the augmented reality thanks to the team of animators of Alkanoids. Alkanoids is an important studio based in Milan which invented the free app for smartphones “Aria the AR Platform”. The combination of all these factors make Bonobolabo one of a kind and the cherry on top is that for every deck sold, a tree will be planted.

Marco Miccoli

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e Creativ Space THE

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Brightness Gallery



This section is devoted to the works of some of the best illustrators from all around the world. As with any real gallery, ours too aims to introduce and present those creative and elegant artworks which are created by both professional and enthusiastic young artists. However, as opposed to the real galleries, this one will not be restricted by physical barriers or geographical borders, which implies that artists could easily connect to a wider range of audiences worldwide.

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