Grad Spotlight: Vaso Michailidou
Grad Spotlight with illustration and animation graduate, Vaso Michailidou.
Vaso’s portfolio thus far boasts an array of unique illustrations, which focus on urban spaces and multiple concepts, and feature an abundance of colour and a clever mix of seemingly incompatible materials.
We talk to Vaso about her experience as a student at Coventry University, her future aspirations and more.
So Vaso, tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what encouraged you to pursue a career in illustration.
I grew up in Greece initially. I wasn’t very good at studying but I was always a creative child, so I decided to study architecture in the UK when I finished high school. It took me most of the first year to actually realise that it was not what I wanted to do, but fortunately I was allowed a second chance by my parents and chose a path in illustration instead.
And you’ve only recently graduated from Coventry University. What aspect of your course did you most enjoy and why?
Our course would often come together with other illustration courses for lectures and crits, such as Graphic Design and Fine Art, so you could get inspiration and feedback from people with diverse backgrounds and interests. And all of them seemed to be doing different things, which was very exciting.
What was the best feedback you received during your time there then?
Around the end of my second year, one of my tutors told me to stop using felt-tip markers as they made my illustrations look quite flat – among other things. I didn’t take it very well at first because I loved my felt-tips. After I started to follow this advice however, I got better at using other materials and programs, like Photoshop. When I eventually picked up the felt-tips again, I unconsciously began to use them in a much better way and slowly progressed my style.
It’s all about colour and mixed materials… I think that creates depth and makes my pieces interesting.
How would you describe your style to our readers?
It’s all about colour and mixed materials; I use bright colours and I like making my pieces detailed and busy. I think that creates depth and makes them interesting.
What techniques and materials do you use specifically?
I usually start with felt-tip markers and mix in coloured pencils, acrylic paint, tape or whatever else I can find on my desk at that moment. After scanning, I use Photoshop for editing, filling in some colour and any extra details.
I love architecture, and one of my favourite things to draw is urban landscapes…. I’m espcecially inspired by Japanese aesthetics.
Who or what are you inspired by?
I love architecture, and one of my favourite things to draw is urban landscapes. Often, they come from photos of streets in Japan as I’m very inspired by Japanese aesthetics.
Any creative heroes?
The first illustrator I was a fan of was Brett Helquist, who illustrated Lemony Snicket’s books, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. I’ve also been in love with Victo Ngai’s work for quite some time, as well as Masaaki Yuasa’s.
I’d love to work with electronic music producers, but I think at the top of my list is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
What is your dream collaboration?
Probably a music artist I admire… I’d love to work with electronic music producers, but I think at the top of my list is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
What do you get up to when you’re not drawing?
I’m learning to cook Greek food because I was too lazy to learn from my mum when I was living at home!
And finally, where do you hope to be in 5-10 years time?
Working away on illustration commissions in a cosy little studio somewhere, with other illustrator friends.
This post is part of our ongoing Graduate Spotlight series. If you’re a recent graduate and would like to get featured click here to find out more.