Cristina Daura

Barcelona-based illustrator Cristina Daura creates vibrant, enigmatic and enthralling images, revelling within the confines of a limited colour palette and subverting visual narrative conventions to striking effect...

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Describe your work in three words...
Surreal, personal, colourful.

What first made you realise you wanted to pursue a creative career?
Like a lot of people who enjoy drawing, or for whom drawing is how they communicate best, it was when I started to wish that I could do this for a living. So, I guess, since I was a child.

What are your tools of the trade?
I work with pencil to sketch or draw ideas, and after that, it’s all digital, done in Photoshop using a Cintiq graphics tablet.

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How do you choose the subject matter that you explore within your work?
I usually try to work with compositions where I can tell a story about what I want to express. If it’s a commission, then I try to interpret what the article, or story, or music, is about. Then, with all this, I try to explore how many stories you can tell within one illustration, and also let the reader interpret it in their own way. It’s interesting to see how the reader reacts to that, because they relate it to their own personal life.

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Describe your working process to us...
I usually develop my ideas first by imagining their composition and the different elements and symbols in my head, then I try to put them down on paper — sketching, without sense, or just lines. When I have something that I think can work, I will convert it into digital form and try to see if it really does. If it doesn’t work, I’ll start again. Sometimes, if I’m stuck, I start to look through my folders of references: pictures, maps, buildings, colours, and so on — anything that can open my eyes, and especially music.

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How important is sketching and experimentation in your working process?
It is a big part of the process, because that's when I can clarify my ideas and see if they work. It’s when I really get my brain working; after that, there’s a lot of “mechanical” work which is all about polishing.

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Tell us about a recent project you've particularly enjoyed...
I really enjoy working with musicians, especially when they let me do what I want, and this year I had the opportunity to create cover art for a Spanish musician called Joe Crepúsculo who I really admire. It took me around thirty different ideas before I started on the final art work. It was a long process, but I enjoyed it all the way because I really wanted the result to look beautiful and personal, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. But I do have to say that in general I’m happy with all the work that I create.

What are you working on now, and what's next for you?
Right now I’m working on an illustrated book, which hopefully will come out next September. Also, I’m preparing an exhibition.

Cristina Daura

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