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interviews nadia nurhanifa.

Small progress is still progress – Nadia Nurhanifa

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January 21, 2022 March 8, 2022 13 min
Feli Arrieta photoAuthor by:Feli Arrieta

Presenting Nadia Nurhanifa, a freelance surface pattern designer based in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

In her personal project, Galeri Hani, Nadia offers her designs and patterns applied to everyday products, such as foldable bags, reusable masks, pouches, and stickers.

She also works her textiles in a handmade way, with the shibori dye technique, producing monochromatic but nevertheless eye-catching textures.

Botany, nature, and flowers are recurring themes in her art, mainly in the patterns she applies to products. But she also enjoys drawing still life, mainly food and beverages: browsing her social networks is like walking through a food truck fair, it is impossible not to end up feeling hungry!

You can get to know more about her inspiration and the tools and apps she uses in this brief interview.

What life events influenced your decision to become an illustrator

Since I was a child, I always loved to draw many things. When I was 10 years old, I started participating in Indonesia’s Independence Day Challenge drawing contest, in which I got 3rd best place. Then, I knew I had to do art for life.

Even if I haven’t won, every competition further inspired me to be an artist. But as time goes by, I think illustration and surface pattern design is my expertise.

Have you studied art or design?

I didn’t finish my bachelor’s degree. I tried to study at Telkom University majoring in textile and fashion craft. But in the middle, I thought that I wasn’t really suited to be a student, sitting there in the class. So I decided to change my way of learning by attending some courses and practicing things that I loved!

Woman in mask with a bag with a same color pattern.

Illustrated foldable bag & reusable mask

How would you define your illustration style?

Realistic, but a bit cartoon.

What is the first thing you do when starting a new project, and how do you know when the job is complete?

I ask the client what the illustration is for, or in the case of pattern design, on what product it will be printed on. And when I have a review from the client saying it’s ok with it, I know that the job is completed!

What is the project you are most proud of?

The project I love the most is when I got the chance to make illustrations for a fabric calendar. When I was a teenager, I wanted to make designs for calendars on my own, so in a way, my dream came true. And the result is awesome!

Where does your passion for drawing food come from?

Well… It is only because I am a food lover!! I usually take photos before I eat them, and upload them to my social media. And one day I thought it would be great if I made those photos as a reference for my illustrations. So that’s how I started!

Drawn croissants on a sheet of white paper.

Croissant and cupcakes illustration in watercolor

Do you think pattern design is the easiest way to apply your art to different products?

Pattern design is very interesting because you can use the same pattern design in different products, as it repeats itself, no matter how long and big the products are.

Composing a pattern has its difficulties, to make the repetition of the rapport look continuous. Where did you learn to do it?

I learned it from college in the beginning. It is when I first fell in love with pattern design. Currently, I still learn from platforms that provide courses about pattern design.

Do you develop your rapports on Procreate? Or use any other software for that?

Yes, I develop my rapports directly on Procreate.

What inspires you or motivates you to create?

My family! Especially my mom, my father, and my one and only sister. Because when they look at my artwork, they are always happy and love it. I want to see their smile every day.

What is your favorite drawing or painting in your portfolio and why?

It is Japanese food art! Because it always gives me cravings hahaha.

Actually, it’s because it is one of the first illustrations that, when I saw it finished, I thought the result is not bad at all! I love that salmon head texture, it’s so detailed. Sometimes, I just can’t believe I drew it.

Drawn sushi and fish head on plates.

Japanese food illustration.

Do you think habits help creativity?

Yes, habits do help creativity. Every time you practice drawing each day, it will make you progress in your drawing journey.

What is the hardest part of creating an illustration?

For me, the hardest part is when I have to search for a brand new idea, sometimes I don’t have any fresh ideas to start with.

Do you believe that illustration is a form of art?

Yes, of course!

Black bag with a pattern hanging in the front.

Botanical waist bag, inspired by growing plants around her environment.

Who are your biggest influences in art and design?

My lecture in college. She teaches surface pattern design. She is the reason I started having such an interest in this field.

What illustration software are you familiar with? Which do you prefer to work with?

It’s Procreate, because it’s very easy to use.

How has your practice changed over time?

There is progress. Little by little.

Before you did a lot of hand-drawn illustrations, in watercolors. Now you sketch directly on Procreate? Do you place photos as a base for your illustrations?

I’d prefer to sketch directly on Procreate. I do some raw sketches, then color tests, base colors, and details to finish the final drawing.

Banana bag in pink color.

Nature waist bag

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Small progress is still progress. No effort is wasted.

What work do you most enjoy doing nowadays?

Being a food illustrator.

IPad on covers lies on the table.

“Campin’ in the mountain” and “Vases” iPad cases.

How do you handle clients that continually reject your presented drafts?

I ask what they want, and try my best to fulfill the brief… When they still rejected my presented draft, I ask which part of the draft they don’t like or is not suitable for them, in order to modify it and make it more appropriate for my client.

Do you have a network of designers with whom you collaborate? How do you support each other?

Yes, I do. We make creative workshops together.

Tell me more about the creative workshops you do with other designers.

I did a collaboration with a friend, who is also a designer, to do a creative workshop. We have two learning subjects, acrylic painting which was delivered by my friend, and a digital illustration demo, which I deliver myself.

The creative workshop was attended online by Zoom platform, and it was a really fun experience!

Strips of uniquely printed material dry between chairs.

Shibori handmade printing fabric.

Have you heard of MasterBundles before? What do you think about this project?

I’ve never heard of it before, but after looking for it, I can say Master Bundles is a good website to find and buy bundles of design and art. It’s really great!

Nadia Nurhanifa quote.

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Book editor and content creator
Feli Arrieta is a book editor and content creator from Buenos Aires. Tirelessly curious, she is passionate about traveling, living new experiences and learning different disciplines, to be shared through her writings.
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