Spotlight on Bucharest illustrator Andra Badea
Illustrator and designer Andra Badea lives in Bucharest, Romania.
A former art director that fell in love with illustration, Badea has been working as a freelance illustrator for about 8 years. Her favorite illustration projects revolve around character design and illustrative branding.
Can you give a brief background of your career to date and overview of your current artistic practice?
I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for about 8 years. I started out slowly with a few projects on the side of my day to day job as an art director. Three years ago i decided to quit my day job and become a fulltime freelance illustrator. Since then i took on more complex projects ranging from children’s books to advertising posters to decorating an entire kids clinic.
My favorite medium is acrylics but i also work digitally where the project needs it and i try to keep the organic hand painted feel and texture. I love visual problem solving and creating memorable characters.
Bucharest has an inspiring blend of qualities and faults. It’s always growing and transforming so there is something for everyone here.
Where did you study and when did you graduate?
I’m a self taught artist with a degree in Communication and Public Relations from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies, 2008.
Where do you live? What do you like most about your city?
I live in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania that was once called Little Paris due to its gorgeous architecture and rich culture. It’s safe and it has an inspiring blend of qualities and faults. It’s always growing and transforming so there is something for everyone here.
How would you describe your work in 5 words?
Whimsical, geometric, optimistic, colorful, smart.
How are you keeping busy / coping with lockdown?
It’s a mix of good and bad days, procrastination and productivity. I try to use the spare time I got to work on my portfolio and personal projects or my contact list and promotion. But sometimes I just spend my whole day working on our new garden since this year I moved into my first home with my boyfriend.
The purpose of the book was twofold: teach kids how to take care of their teeth and raise money for the Mobile Dental Office that gives free dental treatments to underprivileged children.
Can you tell us more about the “Dintica in Regatul Zanei Merciluta” project? How did it come about? What was the brief?
This picture book was a joint venture by the “Zana Merciluta” Mobile Dental Office and Nemira Publishing House. The purpose of the book was twofold: teach kids how to take care of their teeth and raise money for the Mobile Dental Office that gives free dental treatments to underprivileged children.
The challenge of the brief was to create so many special characters like The Gum Princess, The Cavity Witch, The Tooth Fairy and a myriad of fun teeth characters with different personalities, especially the memorable Dintica (Toothie) that is the main character. Also, I had to imagine a special world where the story written by Andrei Dumitrascu would take place. It was fun to create toothbrush plants and foamy hills.
All in all one of my favorite projects that also had a great follow up – the decoration of an entire children’s dental clinic transformed into a super fun universe where the Fear of the Dentist does not exist because my characters hold your hand.
Describe a typical day? How do you split your time between client work and personal work?
As good as I am in organizing my daily schedule when it comes to deadlines and client work; I’m bad at doing the same for my personal projects. That’s why when I have full weeks of paid commissions I almost never work on personal projects. I get too caught up in problem solving the briefs I am given. And I like it too, so most of the times I can go on for weeks without missing personal projects. There comes a time though when I need to switch, dedicate myself to learning new techniques and working on some of my favorite topics like character design.
A typical work day starts around 10 AM after my morning routine and time spent with my boyfriend. I almost always write down in a daily planner what my plans are for the day. The first part of the day I’m not very creative so I use that time either for emails and other administrative tasks or for fine tuning projects that have gone beyond their initial stages. The second part of the day is when I work on new projects, brainstorm, sketch, paint. I try to close the door of my home office no later than 19.00 so I can mentally switch to personal time.
My long term dream is to create a memorable character that might take a life of its own and maybe even outlive me.
What’s next for you? Where do you hope to take your art in the next 3-5 years?
I’m eager to work more on international projects, learn from more experienced illustration markets and clients and maybe get an agent. I feel the need to grow and challenge myself more. Also I’m considering adding motion design and 3D modeling to my skills in the next few years. It helps to have more tools on hand. My long term dream is to create a memorable character that might take a life of its own and maybe even outlive me.