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Artist Focus: Gonca Mine Çelik

Updated: 16 hours ago

My workspace consists of a corner of our small house in Kalamış, Istanbul. Until recently, I didn't have such an area and I used to work wherever I found it free, but at the point where I decided that I should have a desk, I prepared this sweet, peaceful corner for myself. Sometimes I take my tablet or sketchbook and work in a cafe, it feels good to work in different places. Many of my illustrator friends watch something in the background while they work, but I can never concentrate, even moving music is sometimes too much. I can relax in environments with calm music and not too many stimuli, and I am also a morning person, I sit down to work early and work intensely until noon.

I have written and illustrated more than 15 books so far, and the character/characters of each one have been completely different in accordance with the story. Although I try new styles, different brushes and techniques when I start a new project, it is always said that I do not go too far out of my line when viewed from the outside -even if it does not seem so to me-. I think the fear of "my style is not established" is a subject that every illustrator thinks about and worries about, maybe it is an unwarranted fear, because it is actually clear whose hand the work comes from.

The point where my works reveal themselves the most is always the colours. The purples, turquoises, mint and of course pinks in the colour palette I use... Recently, one of my students from the workshop even suggested "Let's call this pink Gonca Mine Çelik pink", I think it is clear which pink it is 😊

Apart from writing and illustrating books, one of my favourite jobs is organizing workshops. I think the reason why I like this job so much is that I like to motivate people in general about my own pursuits. If I ride a bike, I like to encourage people to do so. I have tried to get many of my friends to start playing Go, or if I have tried a different recipe, I immediately send it to my friends. Motivating and mobilising might be the words that best describe me, maybe the fact that I was born on the 24th of November and studying to be a teacher also had an impact on this 😊

Nature has always been the thing that has inspired me the most. Just being in nature itself means tens of hundreds of ideas and materials for me. Watching a herd of ants, looking closely at a cow's nose, wondering about the world of a snail inside its shell... For this reason alone, I spent 2012-2014 in the countryside and I can say that I still feed on the inspirations I gathered then. Even from those two short years, I still get ideas and stories when I go through my sketchbooks.

Besides, I love riding my bicycle and travelling up and down mountains, playing Go, travelling and rediscovering the world from scratch with my son Dünya.

When I draw, I like to use both digital and traditional techniques. Both have a special place for me. For example, Flowery Poems was drawn using only watercolour. The naivety of the watercolour harmonised very well with the haiku-like little poems there. In the books The Insect Hotel or Chicken, Auntie and Me, the colours had to explode, because the stories were very lively and funny, so the digital technique was better. Besides that, one of my biggest passions is to keep a sketchbook and I think it helps me a lot to get to know the colours and improve my line, even if I work digitally at the end of the day.

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