Julia Sarda lives and works in Spain, where she has been creating unique characters inspired by fairytales and cultural diversity. After gaining some experience as an illustrator for Disney, Julia went on to illustrate several children books while working on new and exciting projects, including a video game.
What is your background that has led you to where you are now as an illustrator?
My father is a painter and I’ve always loved drawing and painting, so trying to make it a way of living seemed pretty logic to me. So far, it seems like it was the most natural thing to do.
Your work features a certain old-school Disney magic. Do you find story-telling equally as important or you design with no particular themes?
I find storytelling very important, but sometimes I just feel the need to design random illustrations without any thinking at all.
My favorite character was Ronja, a character from an Astrid Lindgren book. Ronja was the daughter of the leader of some thieves and lived in a castle somewhere in the middle of the forest. I also loved Disney’s Robin Hood (which was confusing as I used to find a fox really handsome) and Son Goku, who is one of the most recognised figures of my generation. I think that Goku was the most important out of all of them. Growing up with his cartoons taught me many important lessons about keep on trying with a pure spirit.
You have been working on an idea about an iphone/ipad game, designing various characters. What was the idea behind this project and how do you see it evolving?
I made these character designs for Jesse Lampert, a game developer based in NY. He had previously produced some games for big companies as well as on his own. The idea was to make an application for iphone/ipad, a fantasy game with an outstanding point of view and an atmosphere of mystery that would be fascinating but also somewhat scary. He just gave me some general guidelines and suggested I have my own way with it. I found the whole process to be real fun because of all the different characters. I recently had the chance to see how the characters are being modeled in 3d, which was amazing! I really look forward to the final product and can’t wait to play with it even though I’m not a gamer at all.
I made a big trip to China, Tibet and then India, and everything just felt so different and new to me. All this ancient culture, chaos, noise and strange calligraphies were a riot of external imputs that opened a huge spectrum of aesthetics and compositions. I felt like I had discovered a secret, it was almost vertiginous to be sitting in the dark of the temples only lightened by the smelly yak butter candles, felling so small in front of the millenary tradition. I haven’t been able to show all this so intensely in my illustrations.
You already have some publications under your belt. How did you land such an opportunity?
I only had a blogspot and I would submit my art to all social nets just to gain as much popularity as I could. As soon as I finished school, I sent a book to some editors and then offers came rushing in. I started working in a studio that made the editorial works of Disney. Despite all my years of learning, I wasn’t fast enough and it was very hard for me to keep up with the work’s high level. That was the hardest part. Producing children’s illustrations became much more easier and relaxing after leaving the studio.
The options for an illustrator seem numerous, for example one can work on fashion illustration, communication graphics, product design, posters, books, animation. Have you tried experimenting with any other themes?
So far I have only done book illustration and concept art for videogames. I’ve got some other projects on mind but these are just thoughts for now.
Could you give us a little taste of what to expect from you in the near future?
I would be very happy to be able to start some project with my illustrator and designer friends David Rosel and Josep Dols and try to do something by ourselves. It’s very cool to do illustration, but I have to find a balance and also illustrate my own ideas, try new registers and styles, explore new fields and continue learning always.