Featured Illustrator

Gizem Vural

April 2018

Starting off by studying graphic design, Gizem Vural, soon discovered she prefered to solve problems with illustration rather than design. Read on to hear about how Gizem discovered her abstract style and some advice for those starting out!

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied graphic design at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Istanbul. Even though I didn’t like design, I like seeing posters and books that are well designed. I think I always wanted to find solutions to problems not with design but illustration. So that’s why I was so interested in drawing. My first job was drawing illustrations for a perfume company's website. My second job was drawing theme work for a music, book, gift chain shop in Turkey. Even then I didn’t like working in advertising. I’m glad I found editorial illustration later. I love what I am doing now.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

I usually wake up at 8 or 8.30, first I make my coffee and then prepare a small breakfast, while eating I read the news, then I sit at my desk with more coffee, look for emails if I have something urgent to do, if there is nothing I start working on my personal project. I always give myself a break for lunch and then go back to work again until 5 or 6pm. It’s always the same for me. And three times a week I go to the gym to workout before work. It helps me to  stay healthy and avoid sitting a lot.

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

Concept, character, good color use and composition understanding. I think when you have strong ideas and also a unique character of work, that’s all you need.

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when you have strong ideas and also a unique character of work, that’s all you need

"

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I always felt more comfortable when I didn’t need to draw everything in detail but in shapes. Maybe you can call it lousy line work. So when I first started getting interested in editorial work, I didn’t find much abstract artwork to express ideas. I always wanted to tell the stories in a different way so that’s how I got so interested in abstract paintings. I searched, read and looked for abstract work everywhere. I found whose work that I loved and I tried to understand why I loved them. Then I developed my own style and found the color palette that I wanted to work with. Also it’s good to find the medium you’re comfortable with. So I could produce traditional work too. Because I loved to work digitally but right now I am so interested in working traditionally. It adds more life to the work. That’s what I think.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Look around. I mean exhibitions, galleries, talks, books. Understand yourself, so you can find your own voice. Work hard, be nice. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

2018 for you in a sentence.

It’s the year to explore myself.

Website: gizemvural.net

Instagram: @gizemvdrawing

Twitter: @gizemvdrawing

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