Gisele Murias

Gisele Murias

Represented by Good Illustration
Gisele Murias Interview

Gisele Murias

Children's Illustrator

How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?

When I was little, drawing was my favorite thing to do. However, despite the fact that my training has always been linked to design and creativity, it wasn't until a few years ago that illustration became a professional career for me. As soon as I started illustrating again, it was like riding a bike and everything flowed naturally. Now I can't imagine my life without illustration. 

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What would you say is a distinguishing feature of your artwork?

The use of color is something very important to me and I work on it from the beginning. The color is like the melody, before decoding the message it already generates an emotion, a state of mind in those who see it. For this reason, in all my illustrations I try to make the color direct the emotion of my illustrations. At the same time, I like that both the composition and the color have harmony, that they add meaning to the story that I am telling, as well as the textures.

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Are you an author/illustrator?

It's what I really aspire to be. I have a small child and would love to read my own illustrated stories to them. I’m currently working on two projects as an author / illustrator that I hope to finish soon.

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Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?

Painting is one of my biggest sources of inspiration for as long as I can remember. Henri Matisse, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, David Hockney among others are great references and I’m forever inspired by their treatment of color, shapes and everyday life subjects. But there are also countless contemporary illustrators who I greatly admire, such as Naida Mazzenga, Alice Piaggio, Felicita Sala, Carson Ellis, Laurent Moreau, Mariona Cabassa or Julia Sardá.

Are there any children’s classics you’d love to illustrate and/or re-tell?

Well, I think that like almost all illustrators there are classic books that we all want to illustrate. Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book or The Secret Garden are some of the classics that I would love to illustrate and explore in my own style. Folk tales also interest me and it would be wonderful to revive some of the great unknowns of Native American literature such as The Arikara Indians and the Firebirds.

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What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?

I love incorporating nature and natural landscapes into my illustrations. It is always inspiring, mysterious and a symbol of creativity. I consider myself a person who is aware of the environment and I like nature to be the protagonist wherever possible.
Everyday life where life is celebrated is another of my sources of inspiration. I think it's important to find beauty and emotion in the little things of everyday life.

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Talk us through the process of creating one of your latest illustrations or books.

My process always starts with a few small sketches to arrange the characters and the composition. Then I will select the colors from palettes that I have already created in other illustrations or I will create new ones if I am exploring new combinations.
Once I have the composition, I work the sketch up a little further until it is clear enough to start coloring up. I go directly to color, playing with contrasting combinations and I do this in a rather intuitive way.

The whole process is usually digital, but my way of working is quite organic and freehand. It would be like painting in pencil and paper but with the ipad and the advantage of Photoshop layers.
Once I have the composition, I work the drawing up a little more before detailing each character and giving the final touches.

This is the last illustration I did a few days ago about an everyday moment with my son and dog, which I have called "Looking for stars". 

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Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?

I love illustrating animals and enjoy giving them a particular anthropomorphic character traits. It's a great way to tell universal stories that feel familar, inclusive, and is an easy way to connect with children.

Of course I have a pet, ia dog called Lila who has already made several appearances in my illustrations!

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