The banal becomes bold in Martina Paukova's illustrations

We talk to Slovakian illustrator Martina Paukova about her vibrant interpretations of everyday life in the first of our WeTransfer Featured Artist series.

In the first of a monthly interview series in our yearlong WeTransfer Featured Artists programme, we talk to London-based Slovakian illustrator Martina Paukova. Paukova’s illustrations are vibrant pen drawings of jubilant characters and risqué scenes that explore the body in the everyday. Always bold and flamboyant, Paukova’s work often sits against a jumble of pattern and colour.

How would you describe your illustration style?

Hmm... I’d say I work with black outlines filled with flat areas of colour and occasional texture thrown in. My work is often very colourful, sometimes eclectic and usually playful.

What is the best thing about illustration as a medium? What can it do that other art forms cannot?

Illustration can be super quick and have an immediate impact. Especially with the digital tools available, an image can be born within couple of mouse clicks. Illustration is everywhere, transferable and digestible.

Talk us through your process – hand-drawn or digital, where your ideas come from, whether you work quickly or slowly and meticulously?

My process changes depending on whether I am working to a client brief or on a personal piece. When illustrating for a client the process becomes some sort of restricted playground where one actually has to sit down and spend time researching the brief, extracting what the client wants and then mix it with my vocabulary. Then after couple of sketches I bring it all to the computer – Adobe Illustrator is my loyal tool. With a personal piece the story is different – the idea usually appears quite organically, my turn then is to test and poke and chew.

Who or what are your biggest creative influences?

I don’t think I have one! I keep track of a couple of artists I like the work of. Recently the work of Victor Hachmang and Sac Magique caught my eye. I just find them super fresh with their weird worlds and feelings.

Can you share one or two pieces that you are most proud of and tell us why?

Looking back, I am quite pleased with what I did for Italian IL Magazine or British SITU publication. In both cases the brief was rather unconstrained, which gave me the chance to play with concept and just go for it. Another project I can’t wait to see put into production is a design for a silk scarf for Fritha Lewin from Spitalfield Sirens - Fritha hand picked a number of female illustrators and is just about to produce an exclusive line to be stocked at Tate amongst other places. So yes, am super excited to see my design on a 150 cm x 150 cm scarf!

What do you do when you’re stuck and can’t find a way to start?

This actually happened to me recently – none of the concepts I thought of were working out, ideas were just not catching on. Stepping away from the computer and cleaning the bathtub did the trick.

Do you sketch and draw every day?

Not at all. Often days are spent on an existing commission, polishing and finalising, and other days it can be just admin and researching. Days just fly away.

Has being an illustrator changed the way you look at the world?

Am not really sure how much of a change it brought. I definitely became more aware of the world from the visual and tactile perspective – shapes, objects, textures and angles just seem to be catching my eyes more.

Whose work do you admire – any genre, any industry?

Recently the world of film has caught my deeper attention. To me it is this colossal impenetrable mechanism at work... how directors manage to get their vision across along with telling the story and the production along with massive reach out to the audience - that is wow! I am a big fan of Greenaway, Jodorowsky, Haneke and Altman. Another direction I have been increasingly looking into is that of post-war architecture and the concept of social housing and human dwelling. Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower or Corbusier’s Marseille buildings and the concepts behind them are super impressive.