Interview: Tamara Domuzin

Tamara Domuzin -portrait

Name: Tamara Domuzin

Where do you live? Rijeka, Croatia.

Known for: Creating cuteness that melts human hearts.

Currently working as:
Freelance designer for the Lucky Little Moose, a Swedish brand selling children’s products.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Last year I visited Dublin and took a trip to the cliffs in nearby Howth Head. The landscape was the most beautiful thing I have seen. I remember the wind was howling tirelessly at hurricane strength, and you could hear the branches cracking, but in the middle of this mess I felt peaceful as I have ever been.That image still lives vividly in my mind, and although I am a bit of a wanderer, I would like to have Dublin as my final destination.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
My interest in children illustration began in the last years of college. I had the opportunity to work on children apps, and I realized that is something I’d like to focus myself more and explore other opportunities.

What do you do at the moment?
Currently I am finishing designs for the Lucky Little Moose products. As they are still not up for sale I can’t say much, but I hope they will raise the level of cuteness among similar products.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Most important, those voices in your head that encourage fear and self-doubt will grow louder each day. It is a war you can’t win, but try to silence them. Be prepared for the lack of understanding from people in your life. The look of excitement and support they might have had will soon be replaced with incomprehension. They won’t see the devotion you put in your work, but lack of time you have for them. They might not understand the amount of detail you devote to a project, because to them, it always looks ”okay”. Imagine everyone you know dancing on a thin ice, not knowing whether the ice is strong enough to hold them, or to break under the pressure.

Tell us how it all started.
I wasn’t one of those people that have been drawing since they’ve learnt how to speak or hold a pen in their hand. I drew now and then, as most normal kids do, but nothing more than that. It wasn’t until high school that I began to draw a lot more. Then, being an outcast of some sort and spending most of the time on my own, I figured I’d make something useful out of it. And so it began. At first, I used only pencils and markers, drawing some mysterious things that lurked in my mind, using a lot of black ink and supernatural powers to keep those drawings away from anyone to see. Eventually, I decided to share my drawings online on sites like deviantart, and receiving mostly positive comments encouraged me to further develop my ideas.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Feeling comfortable. This involves a relaxed atmosphere, a place to put my coffee, and people resistant to loud music and conversations I often have with Photoshop when it refuses to cooperate.

What is your favorite film?
I’m sure it’s hard to tell from my illustrations, but I am a big Tim Burton fan, and the first place on the podium has always belonged to Edward Scissorhands.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Instead of saying a name of some successful illustrator or admirable individual, I guess my heart and sense of logic work in mysterious ways, as I would still invite an old friend.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
I enjoy simple things. Buying myself a new sketchbook or pencil will do the trick. If I want to stretch the budget a little bit, I treat myself with a concert.

What is luxury for you?
Being able to do the things I enjoy, and making a career out of it. I believe that the proud and content you get from work on a personal level is much more valuable than any material things.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom?
I can’t pick a certain comment, but any compliment I get from fellow illustrators is as much valuable to me. Having positive comments from few publishers has been very encouraging as well, as that is the business I hope to see myself in one day.

What do you fear most?
The fear of the unknown, that seems to either pull us two steps back or leave us paralyzed. I guess we shouldn’t let the fear control our future, but none of us are unbreakable.

What is a happy life to you?
I wish I had found the words to answer this by now. I guess it is being able to do the things you like, while having people you like supporting you.

What does a regular day look like for you?
Until recently I’ve been a student, and my days were rather hectic sometimes. My regular day would be filled with lectures and work. I had the opportunity to work for a great Slovenian company that, at the time I was there, had some children apps projects. However, my favorite part of the day were evenings, when my responsibilities were over, and I could start drawing some of my own ideas.

Tell us about your dream project.
There are many projects on my list that I would call dream ones. I guess that we all want to do something that matters, and for me that would be any kind of design for children with developmental disabilities. There is a certain joy for me in the illustrations I am doing, but I would be even happier knowing they can help someone. We would all like to change the world at one point, wouldn’t we?

Who is your favorite designer?
There are many creative people that I admire,and they all differ in styles. It varies from the beautifully twisted world of Mark Ryden, across hauntingly dark characters of Tim Burton, to fairy-tale tenderness of Kate Greenaway.I also have to mention the numerous illustrators whose work on Behance astonishes me every day.

How would you describe your style?
Cute, soft and unique. The warm colors that I use tend to support this, as I was never prone to using strong colors. In fact, if it was up to me, we would be living in a black and white world. Although I prefer simplicity over complexity, I try to find the perfect balance between these two on the canvas. I also try to make my characters as lovable as they can be, so you would wish they are your imaginary friends.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
Music. I know that as an illustrator I should say it is pen, Photoshop (or any other weapon of choice), but music is what gives me superpowers. Or at least, makes me believe I have them.

What inspires you?
People and music. Whether it is someone from a friend list or other illustrators, I believe others behaviour and work is an endless inspiration. Music is something I simply can not work without, it gives me a certain ”push” and I often find my hand and the music rhythm in sync.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
The book I have read back in high school, the infamous ”Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. I have to admit that I am not much of a reader. Those tiny letters on hundreds of pages often don’t get my patience to read them, as my eyes wander off more quickly than I can turn the page.

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