Friday, October 23, 2009

An Interview with Isabella Baudelaire

Places to reach Isabella:
The Official Home of Isabella's Art
Isabella's Blog
Isabella's Etsy Shop

Your full name: Isabella Baudelaire
Your age: 24
Your location: Holland

When did you first become interested in art? Was there anything specific that prompted this interest?
-I don't really know how it started as it is such a long time ago that I first started drawing. Also I don't believe it was one thing that prompted this interest but a process of different experiences which resulted in this interest in art. I do remember as a child I loved book illustrations and animations and I don't have any doubts this triggered my interest in drawing. There was some sort of freedom in it, you could create a world of your own and that world wasn't limited by the rules of the "real world" and that is something every child is naturally attracted to.
When I became a little bit older, my uncle, who is very fond of art and culture, started to take me to museums and I do think this played a big part in my will to become an artist. I still remember all the trips we made and the stories he told me. Even the paintings I didn't like became interesting because he could tell so many things about them. He really taught me how to appreciate art, even when something was not really my taste.

Do you have formal training in art?
-I never went to art school, but I have followed many different courses through time . My first drawing lessons I received at the age of 9 and the last course I followed was only three years ago.

What inspires you to create?
-I know it's not very surprising for those who know my work but my main inspiration comes from folklore, myths and legends. Every time I read a book or listen to someone story or even when I hear a song I just want to draw. I can't help it, but every tale I hear and I like MUST get illustrated. It's almost an obsession for me.

You create breathtaking silhouette images. Is there a specific reason behind your choice to work in this style?
-I made my first silhouette drawing 4 years ago when I followed a course in Illustrating. While I was working on this drawing I had so much fun. I literally had sleepless nights because I was so enthusiastic about making the next drawing in this style. I never had that before and it was also the first time I was satisfied about my own work. It is not that I prefer silhouette drawings above other styles, it just suites me.
If I would have had this feeling with other styles such as traditional painting, I would have done that but that never happened.

Can you explain the "Tell me a Story" project? How did this get started?
-It started out of frustration :) As said before my biggest inspiration is folklore,myths and legends but there never was much reason for me to draw these stories. You must understand that there aren't many publishers of folk tale books or magazines. Though I made illustrations for magazines etc, this was only occasionally. Besides that, at my shop the illustrations I made of folk tales were the ones which sold little, because many people didn't know these stories and thus went for the other drawings they could more relate to. Albeit I didn't made much money with these drawings, but it is my one and true love.
So, to find a solution for this I came with the idea of creating a book myself, filled with folk tales from all over the world accompanied by my illustrations. I was especially interested in oral tradition. Sure I could have filled a book with tales collected from other books myself but I preferred collecting them from the people. Also because I was curious if these tales were still "alive" or if they were nothing more then a vague memory in our minds.
Thus I made a call for stories at several places on the Internet, asking if people wanted to tell me their story. In advance for this they would receive a free print of the illustration I made of their story. I received many wonderful stories, though I can still use some more, the book is already getting shape.

What are your ultimate goals for the "Tell me a Story" project?
-Of course in the first place I just want to make a book which I can be proud of and a book which other people enjoy reading, showing my best work and the best stories people have shared me. It is my goal, as it is with all illustrations I make of folk tales, to contribute in preserving these tales.
I know it is quite a task but I also hope this project will help me spread my name as an illustrator of folklore, myths and legends, as that is what I really am and want to do the rest of my life.
I hope this will be the beginning of many wonderful projects!

Can you explain the importance of story-telling and fairy tales in your artwork?
-They are the center of my work. Every drawing I make is a fairytale in it's own right. Sometimes it's a story I created but most of the time I make drawings of existing tales. Without stories I would not have become an artist, it's because of these stories I draw.

You also create stunning shadow puppets. When did you begin creating shadow puppets and why is this art style interesting to you?
-When I started making silhouette drawings I also became more fascinated in the history of this art form. While I was reading books on the subject and visiting exhibitions I once came a cross a Victorian, paper, shadow-theatre. This really caught my interest and soon afterwards I started experimenting myself.
I find this art style fascinating as it brings life and movement in my work. Normally these figures are just "standing still" on paper but as a puppet they really come alive.

What message do you hope your art will convey?
-I do not really have a message, apart from the message each individual tale I illustrate tells. I know, nowadays every one seems to have a message but I just don't think I can say something that has not already been said. I just try to preserve these wise words, so we won't forget. There are so many voices in the world these days, so many people who want be heard. I do not think the (art)world is in need of another person who speaks but instead of more people who listen. And that is what I try to do. My art is not a way to show what I have to say but a way to show what I have heard.

How does art affect your work life? Your personal life?
-Well, I am very blessed that making art is my work. Art has shaped a big part of my life as I am now running my own business. And I am certain of it that being able to create new art every day made me a much happier person. This however is a big contrast with the other side of my work. It is also hard work and there isn't one day in the week I am not busy with my work in some way. Thus It affects my personal life in many ways. It's hard keeping balance between work and my personal life and I often fail in keeping that balance. It is just a way of living which asks for a lot of sacrifices. I therefore ask myself one question every day: "is it worth making these sacrifices". And as long as the answer is yes I will continue doing what I do.


  1. I'm really loving this interview series.... It's fascinating and inspiring!

  2. I'm so glad! I had such a good time doing them!