The past ten years or so have seen a new generation of Romanian freelance artists, especially illustrators, emerging and working at full potential—whether it’s in Romania or elsewhere—mixing traditional and digital, constantly and fearlessly experimenting and innovating. Social media, as much as we love to talk against it, has been a huge platform for many of these artists, and it actually enabled us to discover most of them.
Romanian folk tales are a stunning combination of fantastic legends, rich imagination, vivid characters and timeless symbols. It’s no wonder, then, that they continue to stimulate people and creativity, so here are eight illustrators that use folklore as a source of inspiration for their work. Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive, we’ll come back and introduce you to new illustrators in the near future.
Based in Bucharest, Aitch draws her inspiration from travels, nature, naïve art and folklore. Her illustrations are richly patterned, colourful, folky and whimsical and it’s very probable that you have seen her works on many a book cover or the famous Google doodle she designed in 2017. She works in a wide range of media—from drawing and painting to book illustrations, fabrics and even murals.
Madi, as her friends call her, is also based in Bucharest. She studied illustration in London and has developed a quite unique and easily recognisable style, being heavily inspired by fairy tales and folklore. Her work is quite varied, ranging from book illustrations and stationery to ceramics—jewellery, tableware—to t-shirts and other wearables.
Illustrator, graphic designer and comic book script writer, Maria, based in Cluj-Napoca, sees herself as a story teller. Indeed, she published quite a few picture books, graphic novels and comics, many of them illustrating famous Romanian fairy tales. This past October she regularly updated her Instagram feed with work in progress, in a challenge that creatives call Inktober.
Illustrator and graphic artist, Oana is based in U.S.A. Her mixed media illustrations are inspired by her love of flora and fauna, folklore, nostalgia and everyday life, which she also translates to various paper goodies with an ethnic vibe. Her work is hugely influenced by Romanian folk motifs and her Instagram feed will probably make you want to take a trip down the memory lane.
Livia is based in Timișoara and she mostly does illustration, which she also applies successfully to illustrated goodies, such as book illustrations, packaging, apps, toys, ceramics, etc. She loves and is inspired by animals, plants, nature, vintage kitsch and history.
Adriana is an illustrator, graphic designer and art director based in Bucharest. She works on paper, canvas and wood and has already illustrated a series of 9 books. Her main sources of inspiration are her own passions: literature, music, dance, etc.
Yanna is based in Bucharest and she is specialised in book illustration, combining hand techniques and digital work. Besides illustrating books for both children and adults, she also does editorial work. She’s inspired by nature, reading and everything around. Also, cats.
Graphic designer by day and illustrator by night, Mădălina is based in Berlin and loves hand drawing, black ink liners, intricate details, floral elements and abstract patterns. She uses little colour in her works, which gives her style quite a unique touch. She is also obsessed with drawing cities and dreamy houses, so make sure you check her awesome series Midnight in.
Featured image: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash