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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

"I'm a terrible perfectionist" • Gosia Sabaj

Discover with us the creative world of an artist Gosia Sabaj, with whom we had a chance to have an interview recently, not only about pencils marked 1500. In the following lines, you'll also learn, for example, how Gosia relates to photography or what her artistic dreams are. We wish you a pleasant reading!

Hello Gosia! Looking at your great drawings and stunning photographs, it's clear that you've been dedicating yourself to art for quite some time now. For how long has it been approximately?

I remember that I've always loved photography. First, when I was 9 years old, I got a film camera, then a simple digital camera, and during my studies, I bought a digital SLR camera for money from my first scholarship. And I was completely absorbed by it. That was like 14 years ago.

I started drawing when I was 12 or 13 years old. Unfortunately, at the moment when I got stuck and I have seen no progress, I gave up drawing for almost 20 years.

Interesting story. Are you a self-taught artist, or do you have any professional education?

I am completely self-taught. Unfortunately, limited possibilities are the disadvantage of small towns. Today we have the Internet and I feel that anything is possible. Thanks to this, about 3 years ago, when the pandemic started, I accidentally found a drawing course. It confirmed that I had a very good start years ago, and learning a few simple tricks allowed me to make a big step forward.

That's amazing! Did you like graphite pencil drawing straight away, or did you also work with other media?

As a kid, I started with pencils, so the sentiment remained. However, due to the fact that there is a lot of inspiration around, I also tried water markers and watercolor, just for fun.

Why, of all things, was it a portrait drawing for you?

Actually, I started with drawing nature. Mostly some simple flower sketches. However, it seemed to me that I would never learn how to draw portraits in my life. It was a challenge for me that was tempting and didn't want to get out of my mind. First, I tried with an eye sketch, then practiced how to draw realistic hair, and finally dared to do the first portrait of the whole face. And I came to the conclusion it looks pretty nice.

Fortunately! How long does it take you to make one such portrait?

Too long! I'm a terrible perfectionist and I don't let go until I achieve a satisfactory effect. And sometimes I can't stand that trait! And the question is quite difficult, because everything depends on many factors. For example, paper size and the type of it. I always promise myself that I will measure the time of creating each portrait, but eventually, I forget about it. The second thing is that I'm never in too much of a hurry, and I don't draw on time. It seems to me that so far the longest portrait took me about 20 hours. But it was a large format drawing. A small portrait is approx. 6h.

That calls for a great deal of patience. Are there other motifs you like to capture, or nothing compares to creating portraits?

I love nature and I think that I will do anything to create some kind of landscape eventually. With oil paints necessarily.

We're already looking forward to the results. Do you plan, for example, to switch to painting in the future, or will you keep drawing and developing your drawing skills?

As I mentioned - this is my little dream. However, for now, I am not putting any pressure on myself to achieve this goal. I know that I am still at the beginning of my artistic path related to drawing, so I give myself more time to explore it. But I wouldn't be surprised if I found the time to learn new things only when I retire (haha).

Is artistic work just a hobby for you, or is it a job as well?

Just a hobby, unfortunately. Unfortunately, because I have very limited time for art. I am a civil engineer by profession.

Time goes by too fast. What subjects do you prefer to focus on in your photographic work?

Briefly this time - nature, nature, nature. Lots of greenery :) Oh and city reports! I absolutely love it!

We could have thought of that right away! Do you have any artistic role models, whether in classical techniques or photography?

Of course. As for the drawing, it's Silvie Mahdal. Thanks to her, I fell in love with subtle, mysterious portraits and I really fell in love with graphite pencils.

In the case of painting, I like to follow Sarah McKendry's artwork. She transfers to canvas images that I have somewhere in my mind, that I dream about. Wonderful aura.

In the case of photography, I like to follow less popular artists, who do a great job and inspire in such a way that makes my soul happy. I just feel a real passion in the things they're making. Out of the popular artists, I can mention Karol Nienartowicz for sure, a landscape photographer. For me, he is a master in this photography area.

Interesting choices. How often do you devote yourself to your own artistic work?

Not as often as I'd wish. Sometimes I draw every day for 3-4 hours or even more, and sometimes I don't have time nor inspiration (or both!) and I’m having a break even for a few weeks. Fortunately, it hasn't happened to me in a long time.

Luckily for your fans, too. Is there any product from Koh-i-noor you cannot do without?

Oh of course! I don't use any other pencils than the Koh-i-noor 1500 series! :) Mainly 8B and 3B. The second thing is the pencil eraser. Pure gold!

You made us very happy! What do you think the creation of drawings and photographs has in common? Do these two fields enrich each other in some way?

In both cases, what counts is sensitivity, imagination, and some kind of fantasy. Without those qualities, I wouldn’t be able to look at the world as through the viewfinder of a camera. Anyway, it seems to me that both forms are simply a way of looking at the world and expressing emotions for me. The beautiful ones, but also these very difficult ones. The whole spectrum.

Besides, when I want to show some of my drawings, I just can’t imagine taking a simple picture of it! It would steal the whole fun from me.

To conclude, we would like to know what is your artistic dream?

Besides oil paintings, which I've mentioned before, because it's really a dream from this least realistic kind of list at the moment, I dream about travels, during which I would fill my memory cards in the camera to the brim. When it comes to drawing, I'll leave here a bit of a mystery. I'll just give you a hint that making this dream come true will require a large format of paper and a lot of Koh-i-noor pencils. :)

That sounds great! We're already curious about the result. Thank you so much for the interview, and we wish you many beautiful experiences, not only with Koh-i-noor pencils.



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