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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

"When creating books, you're under much more pressure" • Jana Svobodova

Many of you know an illustrator and art teacher, Jana Svobodová, thanks to her creative project “Ateliér Radost,“ which has great success on social networks.

In addition to sharing advice and tips on Instagram, Jana also dedicates herself to teaching and publishing activities. Immerse yourself in the following interview we had with this artist from Zlín, and be inspired!

Hello Jana. What were your very first beginnings in art?

I must laugh, as one of my first large-format works was a painting on the bottom of the sofa table in our living room. You could see it only if you wanted to or were invited to look, as you needed to lie down on a carpet, under a table under which only a little kid could fit.

As you can see, I'll remember this forever. The work was created over a long time, and even other children participated, as I also invited my brother and friends. I'm grateful for this creative process to my parents, who were very liberal and modern for the time, for I'm aware some children wouldn't get away with it. :)

I've been a creative person since childhood. Sometimes I took inspiration from foreign art supply catalogs and was amazed. For me, it was a source of inspiration, but we talk about the time of socialism, so there wasn't much of that here. For example, I discovered polymer clay in beautiful colors there and tried to imitate it using white modurite, at that time the only modeling clay material available in our country. I modeled it and colored it with various colors and nail polishes.

Beautiful memories! Did you study at some art school, or are you a complete self-learner?

I started taking art lessons when I began going to school. Then I studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Uherské Hradiště, the field of shoe design and leather haberdashery. It was a wonderful time. If you're interested in whether I can sew shoes, then yes, because students in this field design and also sew them. Also, drawing was an equally important and integral part of education at this school, and I still consider it one of the basic elements of creation as such. Even nowadays, even though I draw a lot digitally, I start by sketching on paper. It's where I record my first ideas.

So you've been gaining experience your whole life. How did the Atelier Radost project come about?

From the desire to dedicate fully to art, which, of course, also includes official matters such as trade license and name.

Could you tell us more about this project?

Under the brand Ateliér Radost, you'll find my author's, custom, and lecturer's work. I have a studio at home but only use it for my work. As a teacher, I travel.

You use various techniques for your creation. Is it possible to choose one or two favorites?

I love various techniques, and to be honest, there'snot much that doesn't appeal to me. As for classic techniques, I love watercolor in combination with a colored pencil. To tell the truth, I've been working primarily on digital art lately. But you can also digitally draw with watercolor or colored pencil. It's good to know how it looks on paper.

Interesting. Are there any Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth products in your art supplies?

Of course, these products are an indispensable part of my supplies. I have several of them, from pencils of different hardnesses to aquarelle colored pencils, aniline colors, inks, and erasers, and that's definitely not all. Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth is a brand that means quality to me.

Thank you, we're happy about that. Is there any technique that appeals to you but you haven't had the chance to try yet?

Yes, I'd love to try classic screen printing, I've never done that, and lino printing. Graphic techniques generally attract me.

In addition to classic drawing and painting, you create designs for porcelain or tin mugs. What made you do it?

It's kind of an accessible art form that I place on objects of everyday use. I also like to surround myself with nice things.

It looks amazing. Do you make custom orders? Or, how can one order such a beautiful tin mug from you?

I create custom orders, both for the end customer and for companies. You can definitely order a tin mug. Usually, I make low-cost editions, meaning I have only a few pieces of tin mugs from the given motif. All the motifs come from my author's work. I still need an online store, so I communicate via Instagram or Facebook. You can see them live in several local design stores in Zlín, Place store, and Redbrick.

Besides, I can also create sceneries and wall paintings or do a tailor-made workshop for employees and the general public.

Speaking of which, do you remember a project that has been the most challenging for you so far?

I can't say the most challenging, but, for example, when creating books, you're under much more pressure. There's always something that needs to be finished or redone, the date with the printer is always set, and everything has to be done on time. Therefore, the book for children I illustrated, published in April last year, immediately came to my mind.

You've even published your own book. What is in the book that readers can look forward to?

In all, I have published several books, and I even created illustrations for poetry once. Author's books that were published in cooperation with Albatros Media, are called Supermáma (Supermum), Nejkrásnější nápady z přírodních materiálů (The most beautiful ideas from natural materials), and Zoohrátky se zvířátky (Zoo games with animals). They all include concrete ideas on how to create with children. They are full of step-by-step photos and are accompanied by illustrations of mine.

The last book I illustrated, Proč psi chodí do práce (Why do dogs go to work?), was a custom order with fixed text and the concept of educating children and adults about the world of dogs. The book is also full of illustrated tasks.

You've worked on so many beautiful projects. In addition to all this, you also teach art courses. How do you enjoy your work as an art teacher?

The work of a teacher is crucial to me. My course students are also my inspiration to some extent, and the courses also give me room for personal growth. The creative atmosphere just makes me feel good. I've been working predominantly with a children's group lately, and there's always plenty of it there.

I'm part of the teaching team at the Regional Gallery of Fine Arts in Zlín. It's a completely new format for me, where education takes place in a studio located in a permanent exhibition area. It has its unique charm, and I think it's a huge benefit for children and their parents. With young children, it's beautiful to see their authenticity and how they can perceive art and then process it together. Our youngest participants in the Galeřiště courses are children from 2 years.

It's great that something like this exists. Do you plan some art courses or other bigger projects in the near future?

I approach each of my projects with the utmost care. I'm now working on a sample illustration for a new book, and my illustrator's heart swells.

Art courses in the gallery continue, and every education is equally important. There will even be a week course during the summer holidays.

To conclude, do you have a dream concerning fine arts?

I have plenty. I dream all the time. Dreams are very important to me and are a part of my life. I'm a stubborn dreamer. When I have a dream, I pursue it.

We'll keep our fingers crossed, whatever your dream may be. Thank you, Jana, for the interview and the tutorials you created in collaboration with Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth.



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