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

Thursday 24 March 2022

Meet The Illustrator: Ofra Peeri

Name: Ofra Peeri

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
Figurative with a twist and a smile, lots of layers.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
I would say, acrylic colours, colour pencils, scissors and glue but also many other media like ink, gouache, liquid pencils. Other than that- always coffee and surrounded by art and objects I collected over the years.

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I really love working with several layers. Usually I have an acrylic base and then work on it with colour pencils, graphite and sometimes a collage. The base layer could also be watercolour with colour pencils on top. I prefer working the traditional way- getting my hands dirty and mixing up the coffee mug with the brushes water jug. I do use the digital illustration option, not for book illustration but for more graphic works like illustration based surface pattern design.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
First and most - my mother, who was an artist all her life. I grew up with the smell of paints and oil pastels, joining in when possible. She always searched for new ideas and broadened her boundaries and techniques. I still use some of her paints and brushes today. The 2nd I would say is Giacometti. I always loved his sculptures. His characters are so unique and recognized in a blink of an eye. The 3rd I would say is Matisse, especially his cut outs and the style of the characters.

 Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I think meeting some of the impressionists would be an honour. I am amazed by their ability to capture the light and textures with the colour schemes and brush strokes. I can look over and over again at Monet’s water lilies.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
I have been an exhibition designer for many years, but being an illustrator is something I always wanted to be. I always had stories drawn in my head. About 15 years ago I pursued this dream and found an amazing book illustrator and mentor Yana Bukler who introduced me to this amazing world. I learned so much from her and her guidance. Truly the best teacher I could wish for. Since then I accomplished several projects, illustrated books and participated in group exhibitions.

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often? Talk us through it.
I have my own corner with my studio table and all art materials. I collect around me all the things I like. It could be prints from illustrators I love, photography, anything I picked outside during a stroll, and illustrated books I collected over the years.


What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
If the project is a book then my favourite parts are researching the periodic elements, the environment in which the story takes place, researching the characters of the book and how they relate to each other. Of course I love to do the final illustration with all the fine tuning.
With stand alone illustration, I really love the process of capturing the essence of the theme- be it an animal, an object or a human character- it’s a process of getting from the realistic stage to almost an abstract point that represents the theme.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
I would say, don’t let anyone tame you! Follow your inner voice. Keep your creativity flowing whatever works for you- read, listen to music, go to museums or go hiking. Be persistence in your art. Finding your unique style doesn’t necessarily mean staying with the same technique or themes. I think it is very important to try many different media, in the end everything you try influences, one way or the other, everything else you’ll do next.

Ofra Peeri was born and raised in Israel. She studied Industrial design and worked for many years as an exhibition designer. She also studied illustration for many years and in recent years it became her true passion. Ofra usually works traditionally using different techniques and media like ink, charcoal, colour pencils, watercolour, acrylic and collage.

Ofra lives and works in the UK with her husband and 2 grown up daughters. All of that combined makes life just perfect for her.