Pretoria-based illustration and design student, Sonia Dearling, is one to watch – with an impeccable eye for colour and a certain knack for creating things that’ll make you smile. Here, we chat to Sonia to find out more.
Tell us about your studies – what are you studying and where?
I’m currently finishing my last year at The Open Window. I spent last year majoring in Illustration and this year I’m majoring in Design. By the end of this year I will have a degree in Visual Communication.
When did you start becoming interested in illustration and design?
I guess it’s just something I was always drawn to. As a kid I would draw on my hands, serviettes, test papers – anything that was around me, until eventually I started to see and appreciate other people’s work. At first, I thought art was just art, but when I realised that art had all these crazy, amazing, contemporary facets like Design and Illustration… BAM. That was all I could see and all I wanted to see.
How would you describe your work to someone who’s never seen it?
Tactile, energetic and bright.
What influences your work?
Obviously I’m influenced by all the current design and illustration that I’m exposed to, as well as all the imagery I collect from Behance and Pinterest; however; I have four younger cousins that I’m very close to. As they were growing up I used to spend a lot of time with them. Drawing, making things, teaching them to experiment. Often they came up with the most amazing characters, stories and compositions (my youngest cousin; age 7; still does). I think this time spent with them, experimenting, has had a great influence on my work. I’ve learnt to get my hands dirty and not to be too precious about anything.
What are the mediums you most enjoy working with?
I’ve worked quite a bit with Marley Tile printing and I really enjoy the surprising textures and images you get in the end; however I’m still really interested in trying other traditional printing methods; I just haven’t had the opportunity yet. I think it’s important to experiment with traditional mediums now and again, not just relying totally on digital means. It also seems that all the illustrators I’m most inspired by use traditional printing methods.
How accurately do you think your work represents who you are?
Pretty accurately. I’ve noticed: as I change, my colours change, my work changes.
I love your use of colour! Have you always been drawn to colour in the way that your work seems to indicate?
Yes. I have always been very aware of colour and because of this, I think I have developed an eye for it. Colour is one of the most defining factors of my work and I personally feel it is one of the important elements in the process of creating an illustration.
What are some of the other things you enjoy doing with your time?
I love dancing and I love eating. Also, I’m currently learning German which takes up quite a bit of my time. I enjoy learning new languages and it’s a nice mental break from the creative stuff.
What do you plan to do after you complete your studies?