Thursday, 4 December 2014

Meet the Locals: Illustrations by Zyzanna


Just how awesome are Edinburgh-based illustrator Zyzanna's creations? Answer: very. The mix of naturalistic birds, sharply dressed animals and gorgeous jewellery in Zyzanna's Etsy shop creates some serious want. Her creations first caught my eye at a Craft Reactor exhibition where, as a feline lover and fan of animals in jumpers generally, her drawings of cats in Christmas jumpers charmed my socks off. These little guys are joined by some dapper dogs bearing candy canes, Christmas pudding and presents - all in Christmas card form. There are some other cute characters available on print or by textile, such as a berry-picking bear cushion or the tea towel featuring a labrador making a fry-up. Another covetable item is the illustrated origami jewellery, brightly coloured and fashionably geometric. There's a lot of variety in Zyzanna's work, including some beautiful drawings and simple leaf design jewellery.  If you visit Hula Juice Bar on Victoria Street you'll be able to see an exhibition of her work and pick some up for yourself or as a lovely Christmas gift.

Zyzanna is also one of the Edinburgh Etsy Team who have arranged a pop-up shop to be held this weekend, from Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December on Rose Street. There will be an array of work by local designers, including furnishings, art, fashion, jewellery and millinery.  It's a perfect opportunity to buy something unique and local if you're in town doing some Christmas shopping.

We were thrilled that Zyzanna was kind enough to answer our questions on her illustrations, inspirations, animals and Edinburgh!

(1) How did you get started as an illustrator?
I always knew I wanted to do something arty as a job. When I went to the open day at Edinburgh College of Art I was convinced that illustration was the one!

(2) Do you have a furry inspiration at home for your cat and dog illustrations? What or who inspires you most?
I don't have a pet at the moment because my flat is too small for that (I have a jungle of plants though!) But I grew up surrounded by animals: we always had animals at home and my grandparents had a farm. My dad used to run a pet shop too! My biggest inspiration is definitely the natural world. I love watching documentaries, especially Sir David Attenborough ones! You can also sometimes see me drawing animals in the museum on Chambers Street.

(3) You've got a great exhibition on at Hula Juice Bar right now, do you have any exciting plans for 2015?
Having some rest to start with! But I really want to expand my brand and pretty much do more of everything: cards, prints, cushions... There have been talks about some collaborative projects too, but it's all very hush hush now. I also started teaching art recently and would definitely want to do more of that - it gives me great satisfaction.

(4) Do you have any other favourite Edinburgh/Scottish illustrators?
Yes! Aimee Lockwood who does most beautiful drawings using inks (they are not watercolors!) and Ell Walker who is currently working on her first webcomic - Galdr. Have a look! 

(5) What's next for the Etsy Edinburgh team?
At the moment we are still pretty overwhelmed by the Pop up shop which is running this weekend! But a craft party will possibly also be happening, as it's a big one on the Etsy calendar and this years was a great success!

(6) When you're not busy drawing, what are your top Edinburgh spots to visit?
It's a bit hard to say because I often end up drawing there anyway! The Camera Obscura is a place I always go to when friends or family come and visit and want to do touristy things. I actually really like it, I think I have been there about 8 times in the past few years!

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