Hello Lilla, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm Lilla Bölecz, illustrator and pattern designer currently living in Budapest with my boyfriend and a lot of plants. My passion is to create peculiar, thought-provoking, mystical scenes, characters and worlds based on both imagination and reality. My works are inspired by spiritual experiences, literature, nature, mythology, history, inviting the viewer to an inner adventure.
What does your daily routine consist of as an illustrator?
I'm a freelancer so my daily routine can be quite independent, but I like to start working in the morning. First I usually check my mail and social media sitting with a tea on our terrace because plants and flowers fill me with vitality I need for creating. Then I start working on one of my ongoing projects. Sometimes I stop for a short meditation to get centred again but I tend to work for hours without even noticing time.
How long do you spend on your patterns and sketches?
It depends on how detailed they are but I think I work quite fast. My first job was being a designer at a creative agency so I had to develop speed.
Which illustrators or artists inspire you the most?
I love the paintings of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, but there are so many great artists!
In your online shop you have a lot of prints for sale, how did you come across the idea of Witches of the Nine Worlds?
It was based on my spiritual studies about chakras. I wanted to know more about the topic and was interested in visualising them in a figurative way beyond the usual, traditional symbols. I came up with the idea to create a witch-like person for each of the nine chakras (the nine worlds) as the ruling spirit of these realms. I added a lot of other figures, animals, plants and different symbols that can be connected to the certain chakras to make each of them unique. I used brush, ink and acrylics for this project.
Please tell us a bit about your Bla Graphics brand, how did you start it?
I created my brand back in graphic design school based on an assignment of designing our personal brand identity. As I had already been approached by clients I started using it right away.
By the way my logo has changed since then and I've started to use my own name because I moved from graphic design to illustration and my work got more personal so I feel this more appropriate. But the personal branding can be kind of a never ending story for an artist I guess.
How do you normally start on a new illustration?
When I have a new commission or an idea I usually start with daydreaming about it first while doing other things. This actually looks like doing nothing related :) but it's an important phase of my process as I let new ideas flow in during different activities like gardening, taking shower or in that open minded state before and after sleeping. Inspiration often comes like an incomplete spark of a vision but I keep on filling the gaps in until I have something to start a drawing with.
In this phase I usually still don't know all the details, but the ideas come one after another while working. I also do research about the topic I want to deal with (I tend to overdo this part and dive in different studies for hours if I don't have a deadline…) Anyway finally I start drawing and whatever I do I always start with pencil sketches. Then it depends on the technique I want to use, but lately I work a lot digitally so I scan my sketches in and start repainting them on the computer. This is an exciting part as the work starts to take it's final form and I can play with colours a lot.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Some of my favourite bands are Type O Negative, She Past Away and Rasputina, I also love darkwave, medieval and folk stuff but I really listen to a wide range of music and love to explore new bands and styles. Sometimes it depends on the work I'm doing as it helps me getting in the mood. For example while working on my Alice in Wonderland illustrations and patterns I listened to the soundtracks of the films countless times. It actually drove me mad I guess.
Any words of wisdom you would like to share?
Well, I don't really know if it's wisdom or not, but at least it worked for me, is that I put a lot of effort into finding out how I really want to live my life, what's my most passionate inner desire, and focus on that, work for it, even if it seems far from possible at that moment. Of course this is continuously shaping and getting more precise. I believe that our desires illuminate the right way and it's never ever too late to take that path.
Any books or websites you would recommend reading?
I've spent about half of my life with reading novels so I could totally recommend loads of them. In the moment I'm reading Steppenwolf from Hesse who I really adore and it's a fascinating novel.
In the matter of books on illustration, I found How to be an Illustrator from Darrel Rees and the issues of the Graphic Artists Guild very informative and useful.