Daria Theodora is an illustrator and self-described “former voracious manga reader and forever reluctant scientist” whose work we’ve followed and admired for years. Her love of manga certainly comes through in the figures in her work, but there’s also a richness and complexity to each painting that demonstrates a mastery of composition, color, and design. Each of her works has a strong narrative sense, while also holding their own as pieces of fine art.
Below, read about Daria’s inspirations, studio practices, and upcoming projects:

Helikon Gallery: Did you aspire to be an artist, or did you fall in love with making art?

Daria Theodora: I have always loved drawing, but my first artistic aspiration was to be a comic (manga) artist. I read many European comic books and tons of Japanese manga growing up. I should say that manga is the main influence of my work.

“Mars.” Ink, watercolor, gouache.

HG: How long do you usually take to complete a piece? Do you work on multiple pieces at once?

DT: A larger complicated piece would take me anytime between 2-3 weeks (not continuously of course). A smaller one may take me around a week or less. Yes, I usually work on two or three things simultaneously, balancing commercial projects (commissions) with personal ones.

HG: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

DT: The most indispensable item: pen nibs and carbon ink (that’s two items, but they go together). I love maru-pen; it produces a really nice thin line for more delicate work beautifully, but can produce thicker lines as well. I’ve had trouble with many waterproof inks, often clogging the bib. The carbon ink I use now is designed for fountain pens; it’s waterproof, but flows smoothly and doesn’t clog the nib easily.

“Welcoming Dusk,” ink, watercolor and acryla gouache on paper.

HG: Do you listen to music/audio while you work or do you prefer to work in silence? Any bands or albums you’ve been enthralled by lately?

DT: I’m not very adventurous in my musical choices, as I still listen to the type of music from my early twenties– mostly Japanese songs and regular pop songs. Lately I’ve tried adding classical jazz to my rotation just for fun.

HG: What are you currently working on and what projects to you have coming up?

DT: I am currently working on a picture book with an independent author. I also have a mini solo show coming up early next year.

“Anxiety,” ink, watercolor, gouache.

Thank you to Daria for participating in our interview! You can see her piece “I Can No Longer Recall Your Face” in Spectra, on view now, and check out more of her work at http://www.xintheodora.com/.



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