Nicolae Negura, a Portugal based artist, has kept us in awe for years over his creative and very original artwork. From his sketch-like designs to his hair motif, we only expect to see great things coming from this Ally to Watch. Don’t forget to check out his full portfolio here.
When do you first remember getting into illustration?
I’ve been drawing and doodling since I can remember but it was only later, in University, that things got serious. In my last year of Uni, I applied for a semester abroad and during that time I’ve realized that this is really what I want to do.
How do you start your process for working on a piece?
If it’s commercial work, I start with a proper debriefing and research on the subject but for my personal projects I go, sometimes, directly to the second step which is the sketching. After that, I draw the subject in detail, then comes the inking and then the final process: coloring, which can be digital or traditional.
What has been your favorite contest you’ve worked on?
The “Hangout” contest from 2014. I don’t know exactly why, maybe because I love summer and festivals and for it I had to work on this idea of “summer fun”.
Also, I had the original drawing hanging on the wall for a while in my previous studio and I received quite a few emails from people saying how much they liked the poster and requesting prints of it.
What kind of contests would you be really excited to see?
I’ve always liked contests that are music or movie related because of working for bands I love or films I’ve enjoyed, even though that opportunity is quite rare. Having the chance to win a contest like that and to have your work seen by people you admire is quite exciting.
I love this sketchy quality to your work. How did you develop your style?
It was a long process of experimenting with techniques and different styles that lead me here. As a student I was not feeling ready to “have a style” and the first commissioned projects were of different a style from each other. So I took things I liked from every experience and repeated them in future projects until they became part of my signature.
Another thing that is really important in my work is the traditional inking process; with it I decide most of the things that concern the overall aspect of my illustrations like the shapes dynamism, the character features, the flatness or depth of the image, et cetera.
How are you able to fit so much into your designs? I love all the little details you put into the illustrations of character’s hair holding various items. Is this a theme you gravitate towards?
I work each project on big scale. I like detailing, so this allows me to do that. Then in the coloring process, I give every element the same attention and treatment.
The character’s hair holding items I see it more as a concept that I explored for different subjects. What supposedly should be in the background here is merged with the character. So like this the background becomes a new character feature or emotion.
Where do you pull your inspiration from? Does your culture in Portugal ever influence you?
I used to think that what inspires me was this or that but at this moment I find inspiration in everything. I often ask myself of any place, thing, social situation, so forth if this could be the subject for a new illustration and how would it look like. So this new way of seeing things enlarged my perspective and number of sources of inspiration.
Yes, Portugal still influences me a lot, it is a country with a rich cultural offering and ever since I moved here I feel that my work grew substantially.
So, why Creative Allies? What introduced you to the company?
I don’t remember how I discovered Creative Allies. I think it was in 2012 when I stumbled upon one of the contests. Then digging more into the website I found other contests that I could not resist not to participate to. So it became a thing for me.
Any suggestions for other up and coming designers?
Enjoy yourself and be patient and persistent with what you do.