Nuria is an amazing illustrator from Spain who paints with a twist. Forget acrylic. Forget oil. Forget watercolor. Nuria uses coffee!
What's your story?
My name is Nuria and I’m a young Spanish architect. I finished my degree two years ago and after six years of hard work I just wanted to take a break and rest for a couple of months. I had always loved drawing and I used to draw during the degree while designing buildings almost every day. But going back to my childhood I remembered how drawing (in a more artistic way) had always made me feel better. So I thought it was the perfect time to give it a second try and it was the perfect activity to relax and have fun while I was taking a break.
It all started as a hobby but after a while it changed. My story changed the moment I decided to start sharing my work on social media. I was not so good back then but with the support of some loyal followers I decided to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot to improve but after a couple of years I think I am better now. After trying a lot of techniques and a couple of styles I came across an artist who worked with coffee. At that point I needed something that made me stand out from the rest of artists because I was not good enough with coloured pencils or with other traditional techniques so I decided to give coffee a try. I have always liked being creative and coffee gave me the possibility of working with a similar technique to watercolors but much cheaper and also made my work recognizable.
Now coffee has become my distinguishing mark and drawing is much more than a hobby. Becoming an illustrator or an artist was not in my plans before but who knows what will happen in the future. I just need to believe in it.
What's your creative process?
A new illustration starts with a new idea and that means looking for pictures that “tell a story”. I spend so many hours looking for reference pictures and at the end of the process I have a lot of pictures that I put together to create my own idea. Sometimes the process is easier and I find a picture that is beautiful on its own but I try to change a couple of things at least so I can give my personal signature to the work. And then it’s time to start drawing. When I work with coffee I start with a sketch using a brown pencil and once it’s finished I start coloring it with coffee. Coffee works similarly to watercolors and all you need is coffee powder and water. Keep in mind that with more water the colors will be lighter and with less water the colors will be darker and that is all. After applying a couple of layers of coffee I always add the details using again the brown pencil. Details are probably one of the things that made my work more unique.
What makes your work unique?
I think what makes every artist unique is his or her different way of seeing the world. In my case I love spending hours and hours searching for new reference pictures, choosing the right ones, merging together ideas and creating my own picture.
But something I really like doing is detailing my work to the limit depending on the size of the paper. I love spending time retouching flower crowns, pieces of jewelry or clothes patterns. It makes all the parts of the illustration come together. And probably using coffee is a bit unique too although it is becoming something very popular these days. I guess by itself it gives something unique to a piece.
What advice do you have for other painters and illustrators?
From the point of view of someone who is still learning, spending many hours working at improving their drawing skills, my biggest advice is to test different techniques and styles, until they find the one that suits them the best. Interacting with people who like their work is really important too. They let you know their preferences, what works better, and if they would buy it, so you can find the right balance between what you like and what people interested in your work would like. But don’t forget that it’s all about being happy with what you do so be true to yourself.
Spending time working on social media is useful too. Instagram, Facebook or Twitter allow people of different countries to connect and open the way for new opportunities.
Where can we find your work?
Hey, do you know someone who loves coffee and art?
Support Nuria and show your coffee-art-loving friend you care about them by sharing this interview:
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