Nantia is a designer and a passionate illustrator, who loves experimenting with many art techniques. Here’s a short interview originally posted in the Animation & Creatives blog.
About two years ago i saw in vcdc, The Extraordinary Story Of Hedgehog The Hugger. An illustrated poem by Konstantina Louka (a.k.a. Nantia) , utilising a coffee watercolour technique, it is the first part of a trilogy inspired by human nature. Two years have been passed since i met that little brown hedgehog but is never too late for a good talk and coffee.
So here is a few words about a poem that became an illustraed book, the piracy of a font, life, art and everything.
Primary media: Graphite or ink (whatever is in the reach of my arms)
Education: ΑΚΤΟ, College of Art and Design, Diploma of Higher Education, Middlessex Univercity, UK in Graphic Design.
Major projects: The Extraordinary Story Of Hedgehog The Hugger, We are going to tie the knot. Wedding Invitation
Web site: www.nantia.co
– What is art?
– I can’t provide a definition for art, I think the word has lost it’s meaning.The word “art” has been misused as no other word has. Art to me is expressing ideas or feeling in any shape or form, regardless of whether the original message can be fully communicated. This is also it’s distinction from design, which much communicate a message, fully and clearly.
– What you will recall as your influences?
– I’m not sure I have specific influences. Of course, growing up in a picturesque place like Ioannina, images of it’s lake and environment will be a part of you. I may have also been influenced by my childhood memories of my father doing lettering and painting.
– Any project you wish to have been involved?
– Any project that I happen to see makes me wonder how I would do it if I was to implement it.
– What is the most important lesson in your education and why?
– I’ve associated the word “education” with a freehand drawing class. I believe that anyone involved in art and design must absolutely take drawing lessons. Drawing requires observation of your surroundings, which opens your mind to new paths.
– What skills do you wish you had been taught earlier in your career?
– Skills are acquired by investing time and energy into practice and experiences. Learning is a process that you need to go through, there are no shortcuts.
– What is the most valuable piece of artistic advice you have ever received?
– Not spending my time in useless occupations (like social media) and instead doing something creative.
– What is the skill that you believe is most important for an Illustrator?
– Figuring out a way to instil in the final output of every illustration, your own signature, leaving a small piece of your personality. Allowing the viewer to see something of you in each illustration.
– What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in education or at work?
– For many reasons, the fact that my vision is quite nearsighted, always created obstacles in my edu
cation and work. Perhaps because of this weakness, since my default was not be able to see clearly, I developed a sense of curiosity for my surroundings and how I could output it on paper through an illustration.
– Why is it important to you, to be in this field?
– The important thing to me is not exist in this field, but to be able to express myself.
– Tell us your best story from the field.
– A few years ago, after a long day at the office, I stumbled upon some online illustration contests. I participated in all of them without much though. On one of them I actually won the grand prize of $100 (!) and the rest I forgot about it. Only after several years, I found through a Google search that in one of the contests I had not won but I was awarded a special mention. Without reading the specifications, I had submitted a traditional media proposal for a digital illustration contest…
– Any words of wisdom that you like to share with us?
– Always read the specifications thoroughly.
– Choosing a career as Illustrator was an easy decision?. How you decided it, and how did you pursuing it?
– I’m not a person who waits from others to give her a chance, I try to create my own luck. It wasn’t that I took a specific decision to become an illustrator. Life happened and I found my way of expression.
– Do you have ‘something’ for those times where you brain run out of ideas and deadlines is running?
– Each designer after some time and experience finds “small tricks” to come up with ideas. For example, for my Inktober project I decided to have a common theme of drawing hands, since this is something I have experience with. This way I wasn’t starting every day from scratch since I already had my general theme.
– Can you describe what your biggest challenge in a project?
– When starting a personal project, it is difficult to put limits and schedule your work. Ourself is usually the worst type of client.
– What is the most delight and the most difficult part as a professional designer?
– It’s always great to be trusted by happy customers who come back again and again, and even bring in new customers. On the other hand, the financial aspect of the profession is the most difficult one, especially in Greece and even more outside Athens.
– Your most beloved work and your best-selling work. Am very sure it’s not the same. Am i wright? How you feel about that?
– Of course they are not the same, although sometimes a commercially successful project is also loved one and it’s quite satisfying. My most beloved work is a poem I wrote and illustrated, it’s main theme is the hedgehog’s dilemma.
A best-selling project, with lettering I really like is my “Limited edition” t-shirt
– Also you design fonts, who you feel when saw your work on pirate sites? Does piracy, affects your creativity or your job?
– It’s wasn’t something unexpected, although I didn’t think it would happen so fast and to such extend. I had to file hundreds of DMCA reports. The plethora and efficiency of these groups, making money out of advertising on pirated products, is terrifying. The worst part is that it is designers that feed these groups. Once as users, by downloading pirated fonts with an actual cost of as little as $10. And then by inadvertently providing them with our free fonts, which we distribute in an attempt for self-promotion.
That said, I’m not in the position to tell younger designers not to offer free self-promotional fonts, but they should be aware that these end up on pirate sites, which profit from their labour. Honestly, I’m not sure if the exposure they receive in most cases is worth their trouble.
On a more practical note, in terms of fighting piracy, the Copyright infringement Facebook report feature is an exceptional tool that should be used along with Google’s DMCA form to deal with these illegal actions on a first level. The problem is that these reports take time, tire you emotionally and distract you from the creative process.
There are a lot of artists who have decided to simple ignore the entire thing and focus on their creations and the clients who respect their work.
Like most designers, I’ve had to deal with various forms of mishandling and theft of my work. I’ve seen my illustrations badly copied being passed on as someone else’s work, use of my work without permission or credit or even other designers misuse and distort logos I had designed for past clients. Such issues and practices can have not only a financial but also a psychological effect. Still, I try to find ways to reward people who prefer the legal use of creative work and they seem to appreciate it!
Nado Konstantina Louka interview by:
Panagiotis Gournis. Web Site & Eshop Development
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