Russian-born Illustrator Marie Muravski had no idea she would end up becoming a book illustrator, having grown up in a small Sibertian town in Russia and continuing her studies in the Czech Republic.
Since she began working on book illustrations as a freelancer, the role has allowed her to travel extensively and live in different parts of the world. Her work today focuses more on her own book projects, but she admits it is still in its early stages.
We are all growing and developing as we progress through our careers, and Marie’s path is no different. When asked how she would describe her illustration style and how it has evolved, she shares that “it is very difficult for me to describe my style and anybody’s style as I think that the biggest part of the creative process remains in the artists mind, not in the result of the work.” She notes that for several years in the beginning she experience more frequent and widespread changes to her style, but now there is a stability in her style that she has come to appreciate, as she says “this makes it possible to pay more attention to the content than to the form.”
When asked which part of the creative process excites her the most, Marie says it is the elaboration of details.
“This is a process filled with tenderness to the character, to its condition, its environment, to the changing meaning of details. This is the most sensual part of the work, which determines my attitude to the illustration, connects the illustration with a certain atmosphere. For me this atmosphere will remain associated with a particular illustration for a long time. Like when we listen to an old song that evokes old memories.”
Drawing is a process through which Marie can share her own, often ambiguous emotions and feelings with her readers, though Marie recognizes that how her readers and viewers experience her work maybe entirely different than the feelings she had at the time of the piece’s creation. She notes that one tiny detail change can cause instability in the drawing, which is actually what attracts her most in the drawing process.
Marie’s creations depict short silent stories, which she compares to a diary, chronicling different stages of life and reflection. The action of forming the drawings into stories helps her go deeper into each topic, and sometimes she can work on a story, leave it for a while, and return when inspiration sparks. She shares that “Some themes and stories seem exhaustive to me, others want to come back and repeat the plot with some changes. So in a way it’s a process of thinking about life, about our perception of ourselves and each other.”
For aspiring illustrators looking to develop their own style, Marie advises to respect their own way in which they work, as the desire to develop their own style is already a good start. She notes that “even within the framework of popular stylistics, it’s possible to create unique works by means of personal ideas embedded in them - the content, I think, is more important than form.”
When she is searching for inspiration, it can come from her reflections, emotional state or books she reads. Thought it’s tough to choose a few names, she refers to the author of the beautiful book “Ovoce čok”, which lies on her desk. It is a book by Czech illustrator Anna Pleshtilova, who creates fascinating and simple illustrations full of meaning with an ordinary pencil.
When Marie is not pondering big questions in life leading to her next artistic expression, she loves to learn new languages like English, Czech and German. While she’s ready to sit behind textbooks for days and hours on end to devote herself to her linguistic skills, her upcoming projects are keeping her busy. The only details she can reveal at the moment is a potential name of the new silent story, called “Twin”, which may be combined with a short text in multiple languages.
Stay up to date with Marie’s latest releases on her website here.
All photos courtesy of Marie Muravski.