This week’s featured artist is BBP artist Barbara Azul. Both a delicate illustrator and self-proclaimed cookie monster, she enraptures others with her fairytale-like designs and quirky images. Read on to see and how she discovers new ideas for her paintings and transforms them into glimpses of fascination:
BBP: Describe your style in 5 words or less:
Barbara: Whimsical and serene.
BBP: What is your creative process like?
Barbara: There is no formula, really. But there is always music involved! Sometimes I sketch before, others I go for it with just an idea in my head, either on paper or on a computer (I’m now exploring drawing on a tablet). I often resort to my moodboard or look for subjects on the internet. I usually prefer an aesthetic that combines simple images with small and intricate details, such as fur or patterns.
BBP: Do you always work from the same a spot- a studio, a particular desk, etc.- or do you move around?
Barbara: I usually work from home but also have a borrowed place downtown where I do most of my digital work.
BBP: How has your style changed over the years?
Barbara: It has definitely become a little more refined but I’m still learning and improving. There is always place for improvement and evolution. And change.
BBP: Tell us about the colors you use- how do you choose them, what inspires them?
Barbara: I normally decide the colors before painting, having in mind the feel and theme of the drawing. I usually prefer a soft palette with subtle contrasts.
BBP: Did you always know that you wanted to design for kids and families?
Barbara: Well, to be honest I never had that goal. I just started to explore themes that inspire me, like animals and nature, and therefore appealed to people who share the same love and respect for them. And definitely children are animals’ biggest fans!
I’m just always very happy when someone likes my art enough to buy it and take it home or give it to someone. It’s a little piece of me traveling all around and that’s very special.
BBP: Do you think art is important for kids? Why?
Barbara: It is proven that art helps in the development of motor skills, language and visual recognition. I think that it’s important for spontaneity and divergent thinking as well and a resourceful way of expressing thoughts and feelings they cannot verbalize for some reason.
BBP: Tell us about your favorite design on the site: Which one is it? Why? What inspired it?
Barbara: They mean different things to me and they are all favorite in a way, but if I had to pick one… maybe Wolfville. It was inspired by an amazing photograph of a grey wolf pup sleeping and immediately I thought of serenity and peace (two very important things to me), hence the tiny civilization peacefully resting on it’s body.
BBP: Do you have any pets?
Barbara: Two cats, Flea and Mina.
BBP: Where did you grow up?
Barbara: In Porto, the second largest city of Portugal.
BBP: What was your most prized possession as a kid? Tell us about it!
Barbara: A big brown teddy bear that my grandfather gave me for my first Christmas.
BBP: What did your room look like growing up?
Barbara: Tidy but unorganized. Lots of paper, pencils and markers laying around.
BBP: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Barbara: The original Spiderman. He is the ultimate underdog, yet always manages to keep a sense of humor. And he climbs walls and swings around the city. How cool is that?
BBP: What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Barbara: Winter requires tea and cookies, but in summer I prefer an apple. And cookies.
BBP: Are you usually late, early, or right on time?
Barbara: Early or on time. I hate being late.
BBP: Beach or mountains?
Barbara: Both, I really can’t choose.
BBP: Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
Barbara: I can do the neck dance just as good as anyone in a Bollywood movie:)
Check out more of Barbara Azul’s art here!