- Guest Illustrator -
Welcome to my interview with a professional illustrator and digital artist from Romania. Check out her amazing works of art.
Welcome, Teodora ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR ILLUSTRATING JOURNEY.
My name is Teodora ( Teo for short) and I am an illustrator. I am sarcastic person with a passion for the creative field.
2. WERE YOU GOOD AT DRAWING AS A KID?
I personally never thought I was, but everybody else seemed to think so. As a child, I never took drawing seriously, it was just my favourite pass time, but I always did enjoying creating things. My family had always been very supportive of my drawing and doodling around, but I just didn’t feel it as something I was actually good at.
3. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I could say almost by accident. When I was growing up I didn’t believe a career in illustration would be possible for me. I always though being an artist was synonymous with not having a good job or not being able to afford a comfortable living. I really did buy into the “starving artist myth”. Strangely enough nobody ever told me I would end up a starving artist if I went on this path. Everybody was very supportive. I was the only one who wasn’t supportive of myself.
As a result, I ended up going to law school. At that time I liked the idea of being a lawyer. I always loved and still do to this day, a good debate.
I had a very idealistic vision of what lawyers do.
I thought they were nights of justice.
But as the studying years went by, I liked it less and less. I kept drawing but I still couldn’t see a way that could be my job. The more law I studied, the less I drew.
I don’t think I ever considered it seriously. Then my last year of law school came and I had an epiphany. I realised I was really miserable and that I was setting myself up for more misery in my adult life. Right then I decided that I will not allow that. So I finished law school and then quit the idea of law cold turkey. I didn’t have any plans at that point or any backup, but I just knew I couldn’t go down that path anymore.
All my friends at that time, most of them from law school, told me I had lost my mind, that I was nuts giving up law, that I would fail and that I should start thinking of a law master degree and to stop fooling around. I ignored all of them and even cut tied with them after a few months. I never looked back and it was one of my best decisions.
And then came salvation in the form of a magazine article my mother gave me. It was a business magazine and the topic was freelancing. There were interviews with successful freelancers and tips on how they made it. I took it as a sign and started freelancing that very week. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped since.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I love the creative freedom and making ideas come to life. It makes me feel like an inventor. I take a concept or an idea that exists only in the realm of imagination and bring it a step closer to reality by putting it on paper. It is one of the best things I can think of. I also enjoy the freedom it gives you and I am not just talking professionally. You get to be as wacky as you want, come up with the most insane things, be wild, be crazy and nobody is going to be surprised or judge you. You are an illustrator, it’s your job to be wacky occasionally.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I would have to stay inspiration dry spots. Also you always have to be on your toes. It takes a lot of practice. You are always learning. This can be difficult sometimes, but it is also the best part. Creative work is always fluid and you need to treat it as such.
6. DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF, OTHERS OR BOTH?
I work for myself. At this point I am turning the freelancing gig into a full time business and I am running it as such. I do not see it as working for other, more like working with others. At the end of the day I am my own boss but the client will always be the supreme boss. This does not change, even in the creative fields.
7. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME AN ILLUSTRATOR?
I think I was still an illustrator. Some things you never cease to be. If not an illustrator, possibly a doctor or healer. I have very little tolerance for human suffering and I would like to see it disappear from the face of the earth.
8. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
I would have to mark 2 different ones here. I am happy I managed to drop a career that would have made me unhappy in the long run, although almost everybody told me I was crazy giving up law and the safety net that came with it.
And I am proud that I managed to become a successful freelancer in an international market, where competition and skill are the norm. When I started I had no serious portfolio, nor professional experience in the field since I always treated it like a hobby. And in 1 year I was a top rated freelancer.
9. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
At this moment, I am focusing on some personal projects, but I am also building a tarot deck for somebody. This is turning out to be a really fun project. I am looking to have my own exhibition this year and also start marketing my non-freelancing related work internationally.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM?
Photoshop and freehand. I also love painting on glass, but I rarely get a chance to do it these days. Plus it is always terribly messy, I always end up washing paint out of my hair and eyebrows.
11. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I draw my inspiration from nature and music. Movies are also really good for inspiration. I guess it depends on what draws my eye first. I am also a huge fan of reading. I have full reading days, when I just hit a tea house with a book and leave around closing time. I find it is a great way to connect with yourself.
12. WHAT DO YOU PREFER TO ILLUSTRATE?
My all time love is and most likely always will be anything surreal or fantasy related. I prefer bold colours and contrasts. I enjoy things that have a lot of detail if you look close enough, but that are a cohesive image if you look from further away. Surreal nature is my all time favourite thing. Although nature on its own is breathtaking, I always try to push it a step further.
13. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR EMERGING ILLUSTRATORS?
I think I have a very long list of tips I could share. And I actually do share on my Linkedin page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/teodora-chinde-01a5b86a?trk=hp-identity-name )
I write articles in order to assist authors and designers to get where they want to get. I like the idea of community and I think it is important to help others along the way. I have recently started writing but I will definitely be posting more and more as I have gotten great feedback so far. Trying to get a newsletter up and running soon.
I think my most important tip would be to never give up illustrating or whatever creative activity you have. Even if it doesn’t work out as a full time job, you should never give it up. It is a part of you and who you are. I almost gave it up and felt hallow on the inside. Respect who you are and good things will come.
14. DO YOU SUFFER FROM ILLUSTRATOR’S BLOCK?
Yes, quite a lot actually. Thankfully I have productive days that compensate for the bad ones.
15. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED SCHEDULE?
I am desperately trying to be a morning person but I am a night owl. I prefer working evenings into the night. I am never productive in the morning and that is the timeframe with the most illustrator’s block. I don’t drink coffee, so not much backup there either. If I wake up early I cannot get through my day without a mid-day nap. I am just terrible when it comes to early mornings.
16. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE TO ILLUSTRATE?
Not really. Anywhere I can sit comfortably and listen to music. If I were to imagine an ideal situation, it would be a big study with walls of shelves with art books that end in a big garden.
17. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN YOUR WORK?
This is a tricky one. What I do makes me very happy for multiple reasons. I am true to my passion and I can make a living out of it and also in the process I make people happy with what I make. I do not think it can get any better. At times I have found that people don’t really take illustrators or artists in general seriously. They think we just sit around in our underwear and waste time. But I don’t judge them, because I used to think like that about artists too (even though I was one). I just accept people as they are. I think this is also due to my new found freedom of creativity. When you are happy with yourself and with what you do, it is really hard to be angry at the world, even when the world is angry at you.
18. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATOR AND WHY?
This is a hard one too. I love the work of so many people. If I were to think in more traditional terms, I would say Alphonse Mucha. I love his style. I personally do not use it or try to use it, but I just love it. I find it very refreshing.
19. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
“You might not actually end up a starving artist after all.” This was a bittersweet one, but I took it as a personal victory in the end. And yes, I did not end up a starving artist.
20. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
“I hope your parents are ready to support you full time since there is no way you can make a living out of this stuff”.
“ I could have something similar designed for 5$ on Fiver”. I still get this one at least once a month. But like I said, I no longer take things personal.
21. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
I am definitely influenced, but I do not think it shows up in my artwork, at least not in any way an outsider would notice. But even if I had the worst time, it would not show up in my work. My work shows things as how I would want them to be, not how they are.
22. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU ILLUSTRATED?
I admit at this point I have lost track.
23. HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
Not yet. Hopefully someday I will, but it is not something that I consider important at this point. I am more focused on building the business, networking, connecting with people and spreading creativity and fun as I go along.
24. WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
25. OTHER THAN DRAWING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love small things. I love spending time with my family and friends, I love the beach and the sea and anything that has to do with nature (except for bugs). I love archery. I have a bow and play Robin Hood around the yard, or better said….I play Merida around the yard. I love drinking tea on my comfy couch while pondering random thoughts. I enjoy alone time but I also love every second I get with the people that I love.
26. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ALL WORLD LEADERS IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY?
Stop arguing among yourselves, there are more important issues to solve.
27. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
I wake up to the sun shining through my window. I have my morning tea while listening to zen music playing in the background. I would get my work for the day done and then go for a long walk in the park…..and probably more tea at the end of the day.
28. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I avoid making plans on a long term. I am always curious what the future will bring me and I try not to fight it too much. I go with the flow. Swimming against the current has never worked out for me.
29. HAVE YOU MET SOME GREAT PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY?
Yes, I think I meet great people around every corner. I have learned something from everybody I know. Most people I have met are amazing, yet they make an effort to hide it or tone it down, or they are so used to being told they are nothing special that they end up believing it.
30. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I consider myself very lucky and I am very thankful that I get to do what I want to do. I understand that not everybody can scrap everything and start again, some are even worst off and have nothing to scrap to begin with. That is why I thank my lucky stars every day and I try to give back.
You can find on FB at Teodora Chinde Art or Linkedin or on my personal website www.coversought.com
Also I have a portfolio on carbonmade : https://teodorachinde.carbonmade.com/
If you need anything, please feel free to drop me a message. I do not bite ^ ^.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Teodora. Great work! The book covers are stunning.