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Artist Focus: Müjde Başkale

Updated: May 28

Hello, I'm Müjde.

I live in a neighborhood in Istanbul where I say, "Take the trees from here and what's left?" Can you believe it, there are trees. This is my workspace. I'm a person who can not work anywhere but my house. I envy everyone who draws on the beach or in cafes. The most I have managed to do is to move to the living room.

I can never listen to music while working. I tried. But whenever I listen to music, I stop what I'm doing and immediately start drawing something related to the song playing. Sometimes I cry. I know it's a bit ridiculous, but that's exactly why I stopped listening. Listening to audiobooks is what helps me work longer hours. I thank the audiobook gods from here.

I illustrate children's books, do poster design and editorial drawings for theaters. From time to time, I do graphic design. I work with digital collage technique.

When illustrating children's books, I force them to leave the boundaries of bright colors and texturelessness imposed by popular culture without ignoring the act of thinking like a child. There is always a message that I try to give them with the pictures apart from the text.

The emotion of that page is more important to me than the exact sentences of the story. Colors and metaphors come into play here.


If I'm drawing a city, I'm in favor of understanding the city. If I'm going to work on the story of a city I've never been to, I research the texture of the city, its habits, the fruits and vegetables grown, the climate, the animals living there, the choice of clothes, etc. This process is amazing. This process is amazing. In one book, I even talked to an anthropologist who knows the region. Maybe in another time we could have been friends with Shaun Tan. Love me for my passion for details.

Designing posters might be one of my favorite things to do. It's like solving a puzzle. It still excites me, except for the millions of moments when I find myself inadequate.

One of the simple pleasures in my small life is plants. I love growing plants, rooting them, propagating them, giving them as gifts to people who I think will appreciate them. If you're a smart kid...

And of course children's books... I am trying to build a library of quality books. Finding out-of-print books could be my hobby.

Note: I have recently been interested in textile design. Let's see where this path will take me.

Of course, I'm one of those who believe in inspiration. I like to watch human and animal behavior, their faces, their gestures, the way they sit... I'm interested not only in the moment but also in their past. For example, I think witnessing an old woman who has never owned a toy passionately playing Lego is inspiration itself. Or the way my mother wears her backpack and goes to school every day to learn how to read and write. I think we need to lift our heads a bit and see the details.

From here I would like to thank my dog friend Nazlı, my cats Monşer and Fazla, action and crime movies, the lonely tree in the middle of the field, the cold snowman and all the muses.

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