Illustrator Martina Paukova about her love for kids’ drawings, climbing trees and designing a Face This T-shirt

Artist Martina Paukova is a Berlin based artist. She also works there as a freelance illustrator. Some of her clients include The New York Times, Converse, Wired Magazine en Refinery 29. Her style is colorful, fresh and graphic and so is the amazing Face This T-shirt she designed for us! In this exclusive interview, journalist Michele Bevoort talked with Martina about her Face This T-shirt. How did Martina experience this project?

Every Face This T-shirt is designed by famous illustrators worldwide. They are given an Indonesian kids’ drawing to work with. And Martina worked with an illustration from Rani (then 8 Years old) whom Face This met at the Darul Funun school nearby Bogor, Java. Rani drew this during our session in 2013 when we visited her school for the first time. She called her drawing Veni, a very happy girl, always seeing the positive things in life and in people. Veni has lots of energy and is full of life. Like Martina captured so beautifully in her illustration.

Illustrator Martina Paukova was born in Slovakia were she studied politics. But her creativity took lead and she moved to London to study Graphic Design and Illustration.

From London to Berlin?

“Yes! After 9 years in London I started to have this itchy feeling as where to go next and what to do next?! I was craving something new and I guess I was ready to start over once again. I visited Berlin in 2017 when I was invited there to speak at Pictoplasma Festival and I fell in love. Happens to many I hear! Berlin seemed a very natural choice.”

Was drawing already an important part of your childhood?

“I don’t even dare to answer this one… I don’t remember that I ever drew! I guess some compulsory drawings did happen at the elementary school, otherwise not really. My younger sister was the drawer in the family. I was a kid always getting bruises being outside on my bicycle and climbing trees.”

How did you become an illustrator then?

“It’s still a bit of mystery to me. I’ve always felt I had a creative streak. As a kid my mind was always quick to come up with a story, an idea or with a funny rhyme. It was only after I moved to London after finishing my Masters where as a part of reinventing myself I signed up for a graphic design course at the local adult college and I fell in love! The university degree followed and on illustration too.”

How would you describe your illustration style and way of working?

“My style fell into place some years ago. I tend to draw awkward looking skinny characters set on the flattened backgrounds. I play heavily with perspective and flatten down whatever I can. The story is important too, usually it’s a rather neutral and daily topic. No heroic actions, unless a client wants it. I do not work with one specific color scheme, but I always try to make a new combination. Coloring is always cherry on the top of sorts, even though it sometimes doesn’t work out. I start with a quick sketch on the paper to nail down the idea and the composition. Then I move to the computer and the rest follows.”

What brands or clients do you mostly work for?

“I work mostly editorially and commercially, so for magazines, startups, various campaigns and only every now and then I have time and headspace for personal work. But recently I’m realizing more and more that it’s also important to make time for non-client based output. So I made creating of a personal piece part of my creative practice. I do sell my work, people email and I print it out and send it. So I totally need to get a nice online shop at some point!”

Can you give us a little feel of your Berlin (work)days?

“I work both from my flat and from my creative studio. I must say I have a very comfy setup! Morning always belong to me: I get up early, tinker around, do yoga, have a long shower and breakfast and then I start working around 11. Around 14 or 15 I cycle in 20 minutes to my studio and work there till late evening. I think it’s my kitchen table at home where most of my idea generation happens and the studio is great for vectorising and coloring. And of course socializing! I share the studio with other creatives and we’re a nice bunch there.”

We are very happy you said yes to making a design for our Face This T-shirt!

“I am very happy I did it. I love kids, I love kids drawings and this project was a sweet little challenge for a great cause!”

How was it for you to work with a drawing from a child in Indonesia as a base for your design?

“Fun! Those little drawings were so super charming. I just had to find a way how to incorporate it into my work without each of them cheapening each other, and I think I found the way!”

Can you share how you came to this end result?

“I approached it like any other brief really, pondering about it when doing something else like cycling or cooking. Trying to think of a way how to solve it. Cause every assignment from a client, or a personal project or a charity project like this, is just another puzzle that needs solving. Then the initial ideas got sketched out and eventually after a little back and forth I arrived at the final result.”

Martina Paukova’s tees are available in all shapes and sizes:

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