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Artist Focus: Burcu Koçer Oruç

Updated: May 28

Hey there, this is Burcu! I’m an illustrator based in Delft, a charming city in the Netherlands. I work from my home studio and here is how my desk looks like when I dive into drawing. My day starts with a cup of coffee at my desk, but I enjoy changing my workspace throughout the day. Depending on my mood, I might let my bike take me a comfortable cafe, or to a park if the weather is nice. I am not much a morning person. So, I feel more productive at evening hours. During work, if I am reading, I love listening songs, preferably ones in my ‘liked songs’ list on repeat. But during drawing, my need is to listen conversations; an audiobook or a movie that I like to just listen.

When starting a new book, I read the text multiple times to thoroughly get to know the characters. I research the relevant subject across various disciplines. Simultaneously, I take notes and create rough sketches. Then, I develop a color palette to convey the characters' emotions and the story's mood. My favorite part is capturing expressions! As the story unfolds, I focus on the character's current emotional state and design scenes to match that vibe. After finalizing sketches and storyboard, I have fun with the details and the colors!

I create my artwork digitally, but there's something incredibly relaxing about returning to traditional drawing methods or working with clay to make small pieces. I am so passionate about keeping sketchbooks. It's my must to have them in my backpack all the time with a couple of pencils. Painting about a feeling or any piece from that day turns my sketchbooks into a visual diary. I love spending time in museums, sitting and drawing in front of a painting.

I find the biggest inspiration in reading. My bedside book is ‘The Creative Act: A Way of Being’; simply mind opening with every read! I am so into art history. Artists inspired by nature are the ones that inspire me the most, such as Henri Matisse, William Morris, Sonia Delaunay and Van Gogh. My desk houses various illustration and picture books.

Nature is great inspiration for me, too. Cycling on a green path, lying on the grass and taking care of my plants fuel my desire to draw. Women, both familiar and unfamiliar, inspire me deeply. Drawing women portraits is where I express my style with comfort. Also, I'm a big fan of graphic novels. I keep up with film festivals. I practice meditation, yoga and tai-chi, even if briefly, to relax, clear my mind, and calm down a little.

In addition to embracing the convenience of digital tools, I seek to capture the essence of traditional methods. This is why I choose brushes that give a pen-like effect. I often use textures and enjoy filling even large shapes with small brush strokes. My preference is toward the use of bright reds, yellows, and greens as I also enjoy having a soft, inviting atmosphere in my illustrations.

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