As the crisp dawn breeze blows the wind of new beginnings, umber leaves fall in anticipation of a golden symphony.
With 2021 drawing its curtain, we’re honoured to wrap up the year’s artist-curated art kit series with none other than, Munich illustrator Iraville!
Inspired by the scenic landscapes of Autumn and the warm, rustic traits of the countryside, Iraville has curated her first watercolour art kit for everyone to indulge in the season’s warmth and beauty!
Scroll on to discover the artist’s experience as a designer turned illustrator, journey through creating the kit (and her favourite part of it!), advice for young artists, and more—
Hi Ira! We’re honoured to have you here. How about we kickstart the interview with a quick self-introduction?
Hello! My name is Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde, also known as “Iraville”. I am an illustrator and character designer from Germany, currently living in Munich. I like to paint with watercolours but also with other techniques. Was that quick enough? I hope so :)
Tell us your experience through creating your first self-curated art kit! What gave you the most joy throughout the whole process?
First of all, I was very honoured that you reached out to me and asked whether I wanted to join this collaboration with Mossery. I was happy that you gave me the opportunity to make a set of carefully curated art tools not only because I like the things you do, but also because I always get so many questions about the tools I use.
Throughout the process, I enjoyed choosing the basic paints the most. I wanted to provide the people with a basic, but also versatile set of my own favourite colours. I also had fun mixing and testing everything, until I finally found the perfect set! Using these colour mixes, you can easily get hundreds of other colours. And they’ll look great!
Did you encounter any challenging moments while creating the kit?
Yes. I am always working and learning intuitively. I am more or less self-taught when it comes to watercolour and other techniques.
So it was hard for me to find the official terms and explain my way of drawing. But in the end everything turned out great, and I hope that people will better understand my way of painting.
In the new Practice Books, you’ve detailed your tips on working with watercolour and creating warm, scenic illustrations. What do you hope aspiring creatives would gain from using your kit?
I hope that they will enjoy trying out the tools and lessons, and by doing that, get a good understanding of different techniques. All in all, I hope that the books will encourage them to paint in their own way!
Ideally, I hope they’ll just enjoy painting without being afraid to make mistakes. Because mistakes are a good thing, you cannot learn without making mistakes all the time.
As an artist who has worked in both traditional and digital illustrations, what advice would you share with artists who struggle to find a medium that suits them?
I would always recommend trying out a lot of different mediums and techniques. And I would encourage them to be patient, and not to be too ambitious. You should always do the things you like, and when you like painting or drawing with a specific medium, it is quite certain that you will automatically get better over time. Practice is very important, but you learn best when you are enjoying the things you do.
With traits of nature and architectural landscapes painted in a rich autumnal palette, your artworks ever-charmingly effuse a fresh air of cosiness and tranquility. How did you develop this unique art style of yours?
Thank you! Most of the time, I just painted things that I liked and/or have seen with my own eyes. I think it is essential to have a connection to the motives you paint. Or else, you will not develop your own style. But I did not intend to paint ‘realistically’. Instead, I tried drawing things in different ways.
I was inspired by a lot of other artists, living and dead, but I was very careful not to just copy them, but to explore how I could draw the things that I like in a new way that suited me. Over time, it happened automatically that my style got more unique and recognizable.
We’ve read that you were working as a designer but eventually rediscovered your love for illustration again, which led to your current artistic career. What led to that pivotal moment and how have you grown as an artist since then?
Yes, I have written about this moment in my art book: I was working as a designer back then, because at university, comparing myself with other artists, I did not think that I was a good illustrator at all.
One day, I worked on a design for a website that was based on floating ink. For that, I made some experiments with ink and watched how it spread beautifully when it touched the paper. It was so relaxing and joyful to watch that! I bought myself a sketchbook immediately and started painting again, just for myself. And here I am now, presenting my own art kit. Somehow this is like a fairy tale for me.
Could you share with us your sources of inspiration that might surprise us?
I am inspired by so many things: art (of course), books, movies, comics, things I see in my everyday life here in Munich, and especially when I travel abroad. During the pandemic, I missed that so I travelled via google maps and video games instead. Not the real thing, though :)
What is the best advice you have ever received from another artist?
There was one artist who once said to me that you will get better automatically when you keep on painting steadily. That is something young people do not know. Most of them are too impatient. It helped me a lot! And I always liked the John-Lennon-Quote: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
Trivia question! If you could instantly create a world of scenic landscapes and its society, how would you describe your ideal world and its people?
I’d love to live in a world where mankind and nature live in harmony, where all people would respect each other and live a fulfilling life without racism, sexism, war, borders and all those other terrible things. Sadly, it seems unrealistic and naive but to quote John Lennon again: You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.” He was right; I am one of those dreamers, and at least I can paint my naive dreams.
Stroll along the countryside as the morning mist lulls you to the scene of maple-scented dreams; Follow the trail of mossed cottage trees in amber-washed evenings, Autumn's warmth awaits your visit.
Ready to kickstart your watercolour retreat with Iraville? We hope you’ll enjoy trying out the kit as much as we did!
Remember to tag us with your unboxing clip @mosseryco on Instagram so we can share it!