Interview of Marlene Juliane by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Marlene and I‘m an illustrator based in Cologne, Germany. I draw women and explore female forms with my illustrations. Currently I’m studying media psychology in Cologne.
How did you get started in the arts? What drew you to illustration, and why is that your medium of choice?
I’ve always been drawing and it was always about human faces and bodies. About 2 years ago, I got myself a drawing pad, as I wanted to experiment with a new medium. I liked it because it gave me so many new creative options and enabled me to bring my ideas to (digital) paper. That’s why digital illustrating became my favorite technique.
It seems like most of work illustrates women and female bodies. Why are you drawn to drawing this subject matter?
That’s true; like I’ve said before, my drawings are always about humans, especially women. I think one reason is that I can identify myself better with my figures when they are female. I often try to draw relatable situations and feelings. Another reason is that I explore questions about the perception of women and what it’s like to live inside a female body with my drawings. To say is simply: It’s probably because I am a woman.
Tell us a bit about your work process.
I often use photographs as reference for my illustrations. I draw with an iPad Pro, using an app called ProCreate. First I draw the outlines of the figure and then I draw some extras plants, etc. After this, I try out different colors—that’s one of the reasons I like digital drawing, because it gives you the option to change colors and details or delete little mistakes as often as you want. After that I draw the lights and shadows with colors and with little dots and lines, too; I like to mix these two methods. The last thing I do is draw details like little freckles or the lighting in the eyes.
I don’t post an illustration right after finishing, instead I wait a few hours or sometimes a few days to come back and see if I’ve missed something. The problem with that is that it’s hard sometimes to really finish a drawing, because there are always a few details I’m not sure about that I want to change. Posting it online puts an end to it and is a good way to really finish a project.
What inspires you?
It’s often a photograph I find or take that inspires me to make a drawing. Also I find inspiration in situations and feelings in my everyday life. Or when I’m on Instagram and look at illustrations or paintings by other artists, then I feel the urge to draw something, too.
Who are some of your favorite artists and why?
I like Lucian Freud, especially the portraits and the nudes he painted; “Hotel Bedroom” and “Girl with a Kitten” are really nice paintings by him. I like his paintings because they are intense, honest, and kind of unapologetic, especially the nudes. Another artist I admire is Frida Kahlo, I’ve even named my cat after her.
Do you have any advice for new, young artists just getting started?
I don’t think I am an all-knowing old master artist who is able to give some wise advice about getting started in the arts, I feel like I am at the beginning, too. But I think an important thing to do is to not get discouraged if drawings don’t work out or you don’t find a way to bring your ideas to paper or you see other artists who you think do a better job than you or when you submit your stuff and it doesn’t get accepted. Just keep on drawing.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
This will sound so boring, but most of the time I’m pretty good with just being at home.
How can we keep up with your work?
You can follow me on Instagram.
If you’d like to support my art, you can buy a print here.