Hi, I’m Jean (originally Gyöngyi) and I am from Romania. I am a passionate illustrator, full of imagination and lots of love for watercolor painting. I work with my cheeky assistant, Felix, a cat I found on the street when he was just a kitten. We make quite the team together: we both love the visual arts, music and nature.
How I Started
Just like every other kid, I was always interested in art and loved experimenting, drawing and painting, not only because it was a fun activity, but because it allowed me to express myself freely. When I was a teenager, I knew I had a passion for the art world, but I still thought I should study something a bit more serious, something that would offer me a real life job.
So I picked up mathematics and computer science as main subjects. Although my personality is quite pragmatic, I often felt numbers and computer science were not for me… and you could see me doodling on the last pages of my notebooks during classes. I finished high school and I felt hopeless, so I decided to follow my heart and study art.
I became a graphic designer student at the local university and I had the opportunity to study multiple subjects, including illustration. After the first few weeks I already knew I fell in love with it, and I started dreaming about my future career as an illustrator.
After graduating university, I started working as a designer and later as an illustrator, but during the course of many years, I would often put aside my illustration projects in favor of graphic design. Why? Because it was a more popular field and everyone was so hyped up about it. I slowly started to feel crushed because I couldn’t express myself as an artist.
I’ve always had a huge hunger for learning new things, exploring art and different mediums. I had lots of illustrations in my mind and I needed to express myself, but even while working as a freelance illustrator, I couldn’t. So I was dreaming about becoming an independent illustrator, where I could express my own ideas and emotions, and create the illustrations that I love.
For 10 years I designed vector illustrations and I loved it, but after such a long time I needed a change. I remembered that I always loved watercolors, but found it a very difficult technique to work with. I even created watercolor textures that I added to my vector illustrations so they would look more like watercolor illustrations.
365 Days Of Art Challenge
In 2017 I took a break from digital art and I started to experiment with watercolors. I really loved it, I loved it so much that last year in December I made a brave decision: to complete my 365 days of art challenge with watercolors. So right now I have a whole year ahead of me to express myself, to bring out all the illustrations I’ve been wanting to create and to get better and better at it.
I’m very happy for this challenge and the progress I’ve made in such a short time, and I am looking forward to seeing where this journey brings me as an artist. Another reason why I love this project so much is because it’s quite difficult… and that challenges me.
Creative Process And Materials
I have a very vivid imagination and often get a clear image about what I want to illustrate next, but sometimes, nothing comes to mind. So I keep browsing photos and materials until I feel inspired. I love to illustrate idioms or surreal things, and anything with a positive or funny message.
I also love to create botanical illustrations, landscapes, character designs, children illustrations and so on. For sketching I sometimes use reference photos that help me understand the shapes and subject details better, but when it comes to children illustrations, I often draw from memory.
Once I am happy with the sketch, I trace it (I’m quite old fashioned and use my window for this) on watercolor paper and start painting. While sketching I need silence, but when I paint I love to listen to calm/relaxing music.
Usually, I paint the first layer with simple colors, then work on the second layer where I add more colors, follow up with darker tones, shadows and finally the black layer. I love to use gouache or acrylic for white parts or highlights, and sometimes watercolor pencils for details. I scan the finished painting and adjust the colors, and edit if necessary before publishing.
I use the Schmincke Horadam watercolor tubes to paint, and most of the time, Canson Aquarelle 300 gsm cold press watercolor paper. I love to use watercolor pencils too, mine are from Raffine Aquarelle. The brushes are all different, but most of them are from Daco and Milan.
While painting for my 365 days of art challenge I often start with something simple, and during the process, I find more and more meaning and inspiration connected to my illustration. So, in the end, it turns into something I haven’t even thought about at first. I love when that happens! I even try to write stories for some of my illustrations.
I decided to film my painting process whenever I can and post it on Youtube. If you are interested in how I create my illustrations, I invite you to check out my channel at the link below. To see all of the illustrations I create for the 365 days of art challenge, you can visit my Instagram link below.
I’m very thankful for being featured as a guest artist on Doodlewash, among so many talented artists. Thank you so much Charlie!
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!