'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 25 July 2019

Meet The Illustrator: Sona Babajanyan

Name: Sona Babajanyan

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Poetic. Textured. Sometimes dreamy. Sometimes funny. Sometimes mysterious. Well, it’s still less than 10 words, even with all these 'sometimes'.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
My bed, where I think and doodle. My graphite pencil and my Mac with the Wacom tablet.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
It changes over time. I love experimenting. And it depends on what I am working on. Pen and ink is my all time favourite, but for the illustration projects I mostly use Photoshop recently.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Ohhh… It’s so difficult to name only three. Well, if we are talking about illustrators, I’ll just name the first three names that come to my mind – Rebecca Dautremer, Shaun Tan, Gabriel Pacheco, but there are so many others…

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
Can I please first be sent to some medieval Armenian monastery to learn the art of illuminating manuscripts? Then I’d love to visit Europe during the Renaissance to learn some secrets of the trade from the great masters. And then we can go to Paris of the beginning of the last century, to learn how to forget what I learned and how to break rules. Then it would be super cool to visit year 2052, to see what’s happening with art…. Ok, enough, I guess, I am getting overexcited.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
My Dad. He wasn’t a professional artist, but he was a great drawer and an incredibly creative person and was constantly involving me in various projects. And my Mom, who was reading to me a lot, making sure I pay attention to the illustrators. I was actually dreaming about becoming an illustrator since I was a kid, because I just fell in love with the books illustrated by an amazing Russian artist Viktor Pivovarov. 

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it. 
My work space consists of three parts. One is my bed, as I already mentioned, (that’s very important), the other might seem rather messy, (but actually is surprisingly ordered) – that’s where I paint and draw. And the other one is quite neat. That’s my desk with the computer and Wacom tablet.
What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
I enjoy every part of the process, but probably the most exciting stage for me is the the very beginning, when I have to think about my general approach to the style, composition, and characters. That’s basically when you try to see the finished book with your inner eye. You can end up with something quite different, so the very end is also quite exciting, when you look back at the whole journey and can see how the book comes together. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Learn about other artists and their processes, get inspired, but never try to do the same. Be free, experiment, try to find your own voice, but don’t stress about it too much, because if you do what you really want to do, it will show anyway.
Then it’s always helpful to find like minded people, fellow illustrators, who will support you, help with advice, share their own experience. I am really happy that I’ve found my own gang here in Brisbane. BIG people you are great! (BIG – Brisbane Illustrators Group)

Sona is an artist and illustrator from Armenia, living in Brisbane since 2008. She has been working as a translator, editor, and designer, and it was not until moving to Australia, when she finally decided to become a full time artist and illustrator. She works on her own personal projects and enjoys illustrating children’s picture books. 

Please visit Sona's website for more information or follow her on facebook or instagram.