Basia Grzybowska

Hello, Basia! 
How did you first discover illustration?
I think I was 3 or 4 and I didn’t want to draw at all! My mom was a bit worry about this. But finally, one day, I took a black pencil and piece of paper, and I drew a big, black, circle-shaped mess. When my mom asked me what this is, I said it’s a “fear.” That’s how it all starts. I put my fear out, and I never stop to draw again.

You have a very distinctive style. Is it an art style something you work to develop and make conscious decisions for, or is it something that just forms naturally?
I think being an artist is a constant work in progress. Experimenting and developing new stuff. Although I feel comfortable with my style, I’m still trying different things from time to time. As I am changing, my style is changing too. Evolving, I hope. But I would also say its a conscious decision. What I am trying to achieve is to get to this inner “me” put it out and make my art as natural as possible.

We mostly see the primary colors in your illustrations. If you would like to be a color, which would you like to be?
I would be red. I would blue. And I would yellow. So I could mix myself from time to time, to get a little bit more.

Can the creativity be learned later, or is it a feeling that is always within the human being?
I think it is in human nature, but you need to take care of it and work on it, to not let it fade.

Are your illustrations pre-sketched or spontaneous?
I always start with a sketch on any piece of paper with my favorite black inked Lamy fountain pen. Always, always, always. Without my pen, I am lost.

Could you talk about your process a bit?
My process always starts with coffee. And as lately I work a lot with editorial illustration, just after I have my coffee, read the article, for which I need to make the illustration. I love to work with text, because just reading it, gives me so many ideas for the art. I am impressed how creative writers can be! After that, it’s pretty simple: pen, paper, and just draw. 

Was there any moment when you lost passion for your work? If yes, how did you get it back?
I have to admit that from time to time, during some challenging projects, or short deadlines, I have some panic attacks. And I want just to hide myself under the blanket, forever. But instead of spending rest of my life in bed I’m calling to my parents. They always know how to put me back to earth and makes me believe I can do it. And so I do.

You’re originally from Poland, how does the creative scene differ there compared to Brasil or other countries that you lived before?
I started to be a full-time freelancer illustrator just a little bit more than one year ago when I was already in Brazil. Most of my clients are out of this country, so for me, I found illustration scene in Brazil harder than in other places.

Are there any dream projects that you want to work on in the future?
I want to publish a book and have an exhibition in New York! 🙂 

What does a typical day look like for you?
More or less it’s like this: I’m getting up (not too early, not too late 😉 Having my coffee (in the bed with my dog…just don’t tell my husband :P) Reading the news, checking the emails, making a list. Then shower (place of an intense thinking process, and most of the time best ideas there). Then walk with my dog, the only time when I can turn off my brain. And then the work begin. Sketching, drawing and suddenly it’s midnight.

What is your work set up like?
Last year was a bit crazy for me as I was in a constant movement, moving out and moving in, traveling here and there and now I am moving out again. So myspace was pretty simple: desk, computer, tablet, lots of paper pen, some pencils, paint, coffee, dog. Not too much, just enough, so I can quickly pack everything and move on.

What are you currently reading? And what three books would you recommend to others?
The books that are on my desk right now is “In the Company of Women” by Grace Bonney. Great inspiration material from over 100 female Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs. The other book is “Wondering Around Wandering: Work-So-Far by Mike Perry.” I am a great fan of him!
There is one more book on my desk with right now, But this book is always on my desk. It’s “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. I take this book everywhere I go. It’s my talisman.  

What’s inspiring to you these days?
Going for a walk with my dog! I also love to watch art documentaries. Looking at a strong, creatives gives me great energy. Besides of this, I found very inspiring to go to the galleries (sounds a bit cliche, but it’s inspiring me 🙂 Reading children books and books in general. Chatting with people. (I love to discuss projects with my husband. Most of the time he has completely different point of view, and it helps me to look at a project in a different way.) I also have to admit that the internet is one great place to explore amazing illustrations and this is a great inspiration too! And of course all my travels, they have a strong impact on my art.

You lived in Ireland for a while then moved to Brasil. Do you see yourself living in another country any time soon?
Oh yes! In one month I’m moving out from Brazil to spend some time in Poland. I can’t wait for this time. The more I travel, the more I miss just to be there with my family. But as I can’t stay too long in one place, because of the need of traveling, so in around May I’m thinking about moving to Spain. And maybe one day I will come back to Ireland? Who knows 😉 

Thank you!