Artist Interview: Illustrator, Estee Preda

Situated in the heart of Quebec City, Canada, is illustrator Estée Preda. This artist has and continues to create beautiful water-based illustrations working with clients such as La Maison Simons, Portland Mercury, and Spirituality & Health Magazine just to name a few. Everything that she knows is self-taught and self explored through her imagination and childhood inspirations.

As a child Preda would read Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm Fairy Tales every night with her mother. A mix of these tales and the experience of watching her grand-mother battle with night terrors became the root that grew into her lust of colourful, yet dark, imagery. Though this might make her home life as a child sound grim it was something that she loved and emphasizes how wonderful her parents had been to her. She had been the one who enjoyed making up stories of living as an orphan and who had built multi-level cardboard houses in the summer and igloo villages in the winter. Now she is able to live an adult life enveloping her artwork between the ephemeral seasons, night terrors and folk tales.

“I like to think that my work looks pretty and light at first glance but then darker elements surface as you look into the details,” Preda comments when asked to describe her illustrations.

Each image tells it's own tale, whether it is a three-headed dragon living among the fire and the flowers, or flowers with the faces of young woman. These drawings are much like character sheets of creatures living in the same environment but with little interaction with one another. Preda further explains that, “At this point, I feel more like a builder than a story teller.”

There is a narrative there, though, even if the young illustrator has yet to piece it together to completion. Frequently she uses similar faces of the girl, with flowers in their hair or being fused together with the flowers. These creatures are their own little collection of a community who are benevolent and fragile.

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“I feel like I'm still unraveling some sort of map and soon I'll have a better idea of what each character and animal's role is in my universe.”

Everything that can be found on Estée Preda's website and social media was created by hand. She has a distinct passion for using water colours in her work and shows off how beautiful it can be in fine details. Usually the medium can be messy and acts with a mind of it's own but each of Preda's illustrations are fine-tuned in nature and show off her maturity with using ink. As a child, Preda drew consistently until she was a little older and found interest in snowboarding. She was finally reconnected with painting back in 2014 on a trip to Alaska. Knowing that there was going to be a lot of free time on her hands she had made sure to bring a brush, a small collection of ink and paper with her. Since then she has not stopped painting.

When asked about where she hopes to see her art work go next she explains that, “In the near future, I would love to keep exploring different medias. Illustration and paintings are really at the base of my practice but I want to transpose my universe into the real physical world.”

At the moment Preda is learning how to work with ceramics and integrate her illustrations with them. She has constructed shrines with her fragile ceramics mixed with her drawings and living plants to start off this journey. With the self-sufficient attitude and persistence that Preda has shown off in her two-dimensional work it is only a matter of time before she is able to have villages of her creatures much like the multi-level cardboard homes and igloos she had constructed as a child.

“On the long term, the grand goal is to be able to construct a full encompassing high fantasy world.”