FK chats to Luka Va a Melbourne based illustrator who brings a great sense of humour and love to her work!
How would you describe the style of your work?
Hey! I keep searching for my style and use different techniques but even when I try to make to something serious, it comes out still a little bit funny and naive. I don’t have the word for my style, but a lot of people call it quirky. So, let it be it.
What is your background and when did you start illustrating?
I’ve been drawing since childhood. You know, almost every child likes to draw but one day they just stop. Probably like many illustrators, I just didn’t lose it. Later I studied design and thought that I can make logos or chairs and other things. A few members of my family were architects and designers. I thought – that’s what grown up people do. But soon I had to realize that illustrating is a much bigger joy. Especially drawing quirky animals. When I moved to Australia, I found that it’s pretty popular and ‘normal’ profession, not just a hobby.
Your illustrations have so much life and character! What inspires your work? and where do you head for regular inspiration?
Usually I draw what I see. Simple, isn’t it? All best illustrations were inspired by real people/animals/situations/etc… There are times when you are kind of sensitive to everything – like when your traveling anything can surprise, everything seems new and inspirational. So many minds and ideas that it even becomes hard to choose one, make it clear and place it on paper. But, it may sound funny, sometimes I feel like my head is empty and I have no ideas. Then I just go for a walk into the city and people watch. Or take a field guide with colourful birds. Even if I don’t draw a lot of birds, they just have a character. And Melbourne is a fantastic city – it’s art scene is amazing, small shops and galleries are full of inspiring objects and creations by talents.
What materials and mediums do you enjoy working with and exploring? And what other areas would you like to explore or expand into?
So far my favourite is ink on paper. I have my grandparent’s old school pens – the refillable ones. They are much better than any fancy disposable pens. But I also love colours! Now I’m rediscovering coloured pencils – so much fun!
I’ve always loved graphic printing and doing screen printing is my old dream. Also letterpress. It’s a little obsession I have with printing. Maybe soon I’ll find a wonderful printing studio to get my hands dirty in!
And paper. Paper itself is an amazing thing with so many possibilities and it comes in an unbelievable variety. Some companies sell sketchbooks packed in cellophane. How can you buy it without touching the paper? Oh no, it sounds like I have a paper fetish!
Describe your workspace and surroundings and what your creative process is.
Are you expecting some nice pictures of those beautiful inspiring artist’s studios? Well, I don’t have one. I work at the dining table from our temporary rental home at the sea. It is pretty empty, clean and white. When I’m not working all materials are hidden in the boxes and drawers.
Everything is much simpler than you think, so the process looks like this: 1. Take a piece of paper/sketchbook 2. Take a pen/pencil 3. Draw.
What advice would you give others wanting to follow a similar path?
It might sound boring and banal – ‘just do what you like’. I should say – ‘work work work’, but I can’t – I’m pretty lazy and can spend a whole day drinking cold coffee in one of Melbourne’s lovely spaces. But you can always say – oh, it’s a part of process, a way of getting inspiration or something, ha ha.
What kind of clients have you got to work with, and what have been some of your favourite projects?
My clients are different – from teachers getting illustrations for their schoolchildren to an independent surfing apparel brand or Paper Sea magazine. Recently I worked with a fair trade design company Etiko and created illustrations for flip flops. It was fun to work and I loved the cause – they were made to help a few different charity organisations.
What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?
I’d love to make my own brand of illustrative objects like cards, t-shirts or maybe even whole range of stationery or household objects. And my dream project would be to illustrate a book, I think.