The Illustrations of Illulina
Melina – or Illulina, as she is known online, describes herself as a ‘tea drinker, woodland dweller and illustrator.’ I’ve been a fan of her work on Instagram for a long time, falling in love with her colours and texturess. I caught up with her to discuss her workspace, how she is influenced by the natural world and why illustration has always been her passion.
Tell us about yourself?
First of all, hi! I’m Melina. I was born and raised in the north of Germany’s beautiful Bavaria. I am very passionate about hot drinks, especially tea, which is the reason I am constantly sitting in Cafes or exploring old, Diagon-Alley-like tea shops. I love books, especially the ones about faraway places with wizards, magical creatures, flying broomsticks or pipe-smoking Hobbits.
What is the story behind your online name ‘Illulina’?
Lina is one of my nicknames and ‘illu’ is short for illustration. Little me was so creative! I got used the to nickname and learnt to love it.
How did you begin illustrating?
My interest in art started to develop in kindergarden, when I was lucky enough to spend my days in a small library full of illustrated children’s books. From a very early age I realised that I might want to do this for a living, so I began to take the wish seriously. Studying art has been my dream ever since.
How did your illustration style develop?
At first I didn’t really have my own style. After a long time of pressuring myself to find my very own way of drawing I realised that I just have to let go and draw in a way that is the most comfortable for me. This was the moment I started to develop the style I have today.
Does your work feature particular themes or colours?
I’m in love with muted, earthy tones. Sometimes I dip my toe into the world pastels and strong, saturated colours, but I prefer my palette inspired by nature.
What inspires you to create?
The people and things around me, my dreams and wishes.
What are your artistic tools of the trade?
My favourite tools are coloured or graphite pencils, because they create a lot of texture and movement in my illustrations.
What is your creative process like?
I actually just go for it. If I see something I find interesting or an idea jumps into my mind, I start doodling rough shapes and colours. If I like what I brought to paper, I start working on more detailed pieces.
Where do you create your work?
Most of the time I’m working in my room. It’s cosy, safe and silent. My desk is in front of a window, facing a beautiful old oak and a forest. Often enough I space out and just sit there, forgetting about my tea, which is then becoming cold.
What is your favourite piece you have created?
I haven’t really thought about a possible favourite. I cherish all of my illustrations, since each one of them shows my progress.
Have you ever lost passion for you work?
Actually, yes, quite recently even. Art school rejected me and I started doubting my skill. I was sulking for about a week, but I never stopped drawing. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up. In Germany we have a saying which goes “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” – it’s true.
What is the most challenging part of illustrating?
Frustration caused by not being able to visualise the image in your head right away.
And what is the best part?
Telling stories in my very own way and the loving and heart-warming art community.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in illustration?
Go for it, and don’t give up if it doesn’t work immediately. The beautiful thing about art and illustration is the progress you make and looking back after months of hard work.
You can find Illulina’s work on Instagram at @illulina and on Tumblr at www.illulina.tumblr.com.
All images copyright of Illulina. Images used with permission from the artist.