Meet Toffu’s Featured Contributor Esra Demirel

Every month we are featuring a contributor from Toffu. Let us introduce you this month's contributor Esra Demirel as StudioRaleu..

Meet Esra Demirel, illustrator, architect, and the featured contributor of Toffu!

A quick introduction

My name’s Esra and I’m from Turkey, living in the Netherlands, working as a Landscape Architect in an office. I like to explore digital design mediums but really enjoy to use traditional design methods as well, pen, brushes, ink and watercolors. I am (not now) a traveller, spending lots of time with crafting, indoor plants and analog photography.

Deciding to be a content maker

I’m creating watercolor illustrations onto notebook covers since 2015. The process moves on like drawing, scanning and editing in Photoshop and copying the notebook covers. I realized that there is always missing part in this analog to digital transition like colors, small spots then I decided to create directly digital illustrations. This was the beginning of diving deep on digital illustration tools.

While my notebook journey continues I was focused on computationally designed Architecture, I noticed I was enjoying illustration more than computer based Architectural drawing/realization process. At some point I wanted to explore Architecture and illustration intersection more detailed scale. 

Getting inspired

Most of the time inspiration is on the streets for me. Sometimes a coffee table when I’m having my coffee alone or a corner building while I was wandering. I need to create space for myself, travel and stay alone to sketch what I see.

Yoga Notebook
Merry Very
I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I like to get inspired from songs. I have lots of illustration of Devendra Banhart, Tom Rosenthal’s songs reflections. Music helps me a lot to relax and illustrate in a hygge way.

I find inspirational lots of artists as well, I really like Nina Cosford how she represent human nature, or Anne Lies’s color pencil illustration kits for everything. 

Apollon – The God of Healing & Music
Stay Warm Drink Coffee
You’re My Passion

Content creation process

I come up with the idea in my mind then look for the examples or sketch to see clearly. Most of the time I avoid to look examples not to change image in my mind but sometimes it helps to clearly see. I collect all the sketches in an illustration page, I choose one of them.

Next step is deciding the color palette in consideration with the content. I try to update my color palette according to each projects. The last phase is drawing on my tablet. I should admit that it is easy to use brush tool with tablet, I love natural lines instead of pen tool (no straight line needed).

Tips for beating the designer’s block

I’m still not sure about my illustration style, I don’t know if I should stick on one style so I try every time new styles. That means I always find different mediums with illustrate so …

… When I feel stuck I change my drawing materials, tools; small brush, huge brush, acrylic pens, charcoal, huge papers, different textured papers.

Thus I try to explore something new on my illustrations.

Bonus facts

Illustrator / Photoshop ? I am having hard time with accepting Photoshop purposes, definitely Illustrator lover 🤍

Interior / Exterior Design? Exterior (more space) 🏡

Music / Podcast? Music 🎶

Morning person / Night owl?  Night owl 🦉

Want to catch up? Follow Esra’s Instagram and store on Toffu

Read more interviews on Toffu Blog

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