Sofia is a talented and humble artist and illustrator prevalent on Instagram, with 43.6k followers at the time of this writing. In this interview, TCN dives into what drives Sofia a.k.a Isledari creatively and her work; past, present and future.
First of all, what got you interested in making art?
Well, I have been drawing and making art since I was in elementary school, but I don’t remember becoming obsessed with art until middle school, when I read this book about drawing dragons. It was the first time I ever fell in love with fantasy art, and I haven’t stopped drawing since that book. I think it was called Neon Dragon Art or something like that?
What inspired your artist name?
My artist name, Isledari, is actually the name of the world I’m developing in my free time. It is one of the oldest stories I have floating around in my brain. A friend of mine in 2015 told me I should create an Instagram and I couldn’t think of a name I liked. So I chose that one because it was a word I made up and therefore could use for any social media I ever plugged into, and on a more metaphorical level, it is a word that encompasses all the things I spew from my imagination, haha!
Which of your own drawings are you most proud of?
I actually wrote and illustrated a children’s book for my senior project back in college, and that entire book as a whole I am extremely proud of. It was the first big project I ever completed all by myself, and is hopefully the first of many more to come.
Do you own any work from another artist that gives you inspiration?
I RARELY buy art from other people (I don’t know why, I’m just a penny pincher I suppose) but I DID buy the first two graphic novels from the web series Stand Still Stay Silent which, if you haven’t read you totally should because it is AMAZING. The other book I own but was actually gifted to me from a professor is a copy of Middlewest that he got signed by the artist Jorge Corona who is SUCH an inspiration to me.
Which artists are your biggest influences?
Easy! Jorge Corona, Bill Watterson, and Minna Sundburg.
Do you have a list of projects that you work through, or do you think of an idea and just work on that until finished, and repeat?
I have a list of projects I try to work on as often as I can, but I also try to prioritize just one to try and grind through until I hit a wall with it and I move to something else. It’s not the best method, but if there’s a project with a deadline, it gets top priority.
Do you have any upcoming commissions you are excited about?
I actually just finished a commission for a really awesome couple who were just so quirky and fun and open minded to the whole process! It was really refreshing and their idea was just SO COOL. I would probably print a copy for myself if I had the chance to, haha!
Are there any franchises you want to design for?
One day, I would like to either work with a writer or write and illustrate my own story I’ve been developing for NASA. I think it would just be the coolest to create something for them that gets younger generations as hyped for NASA as I am, having grown up as the only artist in a scientist and engineer oriented family. Both my parents worked at NASA. It’s basically in my genes.
Have you been approached to work with any big companies or franchises?
Nah, no not yet. BUT ONE DAY, mark my words, ONE DAY.
Physical vs digital – which is best for you and why?
Physical inking all the way- you can’t get that incredibility of dealing with a messy ink quill on Photoshop, and something about a blank screen intimidates me so much. Nah, traditional for sketching and inking, but I’m all for digital coloring. That’s so fun.
What tools and programs do you use?
I use India Ink to ink, gelly roll pens, Crayola markers, and Adobe Photoshop mostly.
How long do you usually spend on a piece of work?
Depends on how big it is honestly. If it’s really complex, I might spend a few days on it. Most of my daily doodles take 1-4 hours. My children’s book took over a year to complete.
Which character is your favourite to create art of?
I like drawing my own characters, especially my angel character, who is really just myself. In terms of actual characters that aren’t mine, well I always love drawing me a Bucky Barnes Winter Soldier doodle.
What is your favourite thing about being an artist?
This is going to sound cheesy, but I love working in a medium that extends beyond the bounds of different languages and cultures. Art can connect people from all sorts of different backgrounds, and can have a deeply profound effect on people without uttering a single word. It is the language I most resonate with, and it is my favourite form of self-expression. I feel like people understand me through my art and I can speak to so many people through it.
You’re working on a children’s book called “Forest Level One”. Can you share when it will be published, and what your favourite thing about the book is?
Ahh yes, Forest Level One, my beautiful, beautiful book. I am reaching out to publishers now, as well as agents to see if anyone will bite, but alas, not yet. Soon, I hope. If not, I am also thinking of creating a Kickstarter to print and sell copies of it that way, but I need to do a lot more research before that.
If you weren’t an artist, what career would you have chosen instead?
Definitely would have been an astronomer or an Egyptologist.
What hobbies do you have when you aren’t drawing or creating art?
I enjoy casually learning everything I can about ancient Egypt, and I love listening to podcasts about ancient history and also Nightvale and My Brother, My Brother & Me. I really don’t have that many hobbies because art is life. I don’t even like sleeping. Oh I also play D&D on occasion.
If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out and give your younger self advice, what would you say?
“I know you’re gonna hate it, but you have to take some business classes because you don’t know SQUAT about that kinda stuff in the future! And maybe a creative writing class for good measure!”
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
Everything I do, I do for the glory of God. He gave me this love for art and I want to use it for Him.
You can find Sofia’s Instagram profile here and a timelapsed example of Sofia drawing below:
Which is your favourite of Sofia’s amazing work? Let us know in the comments!