Geometrical scenes and slow tempo

Nadia Hafid

ART  .  September 26th, 2019

To start with, what’s your story?

I’ve been drawing since I was a child. I grew up thinking “I want to be a painter artist!” When I finished school I did mural arts courses, but I came back to the origin of my passion: drawing. So, I ended up naturally studding fine arts at the University of Barcelona with master in drawing.
For me drawing is a powerful tool for to tell stories, complex ideas and narrative concepts. But as well, the comic book (like a physical book) is an artistic object by itself.

How did your drawings look like when you were a teenager?

When I was on my teens, I had a dark and harder aesthetic. I was thirteen when I discovered the world of comic books and this finding it conditioned me in the way that I understand drawing nowadays. At that time I flipped out with comics like The Sandman by Neil Gaiman or
Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka. I went to the library of my city obsessively and I loved spending hours in the comic section discovering authors I didn’t know… I felt attracted intuitively by those covers with dark and reddish colors.

When and how did your style become what it currently is?

Probably about three years ago, around 2016. I started having interest in geometry, straight lines, flat colors, etc. I found new references that are very present in my work: cinema and photography. I think it is very inspiring to be influenced by different disciplines besides your own. This helps you to grow and to understand your own work.

What’s your favorite thing to draw?

I love composing those elements that appear in my drawing. I also love to draw human faces, but I simplify them until they look like symbols; or human figures in the simplest way, so become almost abstract shqpes representing very concrete ideas.

Looking at your instagram, it seems like you have color moods or phases. Can you tell us about that?

Yes, it’s true, glad you realized so! There are some periods of my life where I get obsessed with certain colors and some periods where I am obsessed with others. But I usually like to use only a few colors within the drawing, maximum three, and then play with lighter or stronger tones of the same color.

Do your characters look a bit like you?

I don’t think so. In my illustrations, my characters are part of the representation of very abstract ideas. Anyways, when I draw my comics I think there is something about me, especially as the stories are usually based on my own experiences or thoughts. In any case, I think there is some distance between me as a person and my works due to my symbolic and geometric style.

Do you like drawing actual people or do you mostly draw random faces?

That one of the band The Coat Hanger (see image above) was a commissionned work for Amadeus Magazine about art and music. In that case it was a portrait, but I usually draw people that do not have features that are that distinctive.

What’s your process like?

I always draw by hand! I always begin with freehand sketch. Then, I polish it with rulers and circle templates. Sometimes I use the light board to polish the drawing even more. Finally I scan it the illustration, and clean the drawing with Photoshop very well before adding the color with it.

Do you write the scenarios beforehand? How do you conceive the scenes of a “multi-scene” illustration?

Well, I try to imagine like a stage that provides particular sensations and feelings through the spaces, the objects… It helps me defining the tempo of the story, which is normally quite slow. The objects help framing a situation. When I do comics, the feeling that I want to convey in my story, the elements and the composition of those are all part of the narrative.

What can you say about the rhythm of those mini stories?

In this specific case, this is part of a longer story, where there are characters and a narrative thread. I like to introduce these stories with elements that are repeated as the story progresses. The objects at the same time serve to mark time, time to breathe.

What’s your favorite comic?

Tough question! It is difficult to pick just one comic… I love many of comics to tell different kinds of stories. Anyways, if I have to pick one, lately I have some weakness for the author Nick Drnaso, with his comics “Beverly” or “Sabrina”.

Have you ever published a book?

In fact I am working right now on my first comic. Previously I have done many fanzines but now I am working on my first long comic story! I can’t tell that much about it because I don’t like to share too much about that content of my work during development. What I can tell you is that is about family relationships and it will published early next year.

With whom would you dream to collaborate with?

There are many cartoonists that I admire, from young to more renowned ones. I guess I would love to collaborate with those artists that I admire and with whom I have good feeling about working together. For me the mood is very important in teamwork.

To finish, what’s on your plate at the moment?

First I really want to see the comicbook published! And then I’ve new ideas for the next comic and my idea is to experiment with new materials. Also by the end of this year I participate in a collective exhibition with other illustrators and graffiti artists about take care of planet earth. I am looking forward to continue working!

Nadia Hafid is a photographer from Barcelona. You can find her work here, and follow her on instagram.