Meet Our Justice Illustrator: Simona Čechová
It is a tradition at CreativeMornings to work with an artist in our community to create an illustration for the monthly theme.
A monthly theme inspires new conversations and ideas that we otherwise wouldn’t think about. At our events, speakers are invited to share a story around the theme and what it means to them. After a month, we are excited to see the talks and inspiration that are born out of the theme.
The global theme for August is Justice.
Given that these monthly illustrations are at events all around the world, it’s only right that we get to know the illustrator.
Meet Simona Čechová
Simona Čechová is Slovak illustrator based in Bratislava. Known for her hand-drawn and digital styles, she has experience in editorial and book illustration, illustration for motion, product branding and communication. She is also a member of ASIL - Slovak Illustrators Association. Simona is passionate about finding the best tools to execute content-driven visual solutions for clients across disciplines.
She studied advertising design at University of Bedfordshire in England and international marketing at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. When she’s not drawing, you can find her beekeeping, hiking, exploring cities, and finding beauty in ordinary things.
How did you get into design, advertising, and illustration work?
I was always a “visually oriented” person. At school, I despised math and chemistry while I liked arts, literature, and history. There, I was able to create images of the stories in my head which helped me to learn.
After high school, when I was deciding what to focus on and what I want to do in my life, I knew it had to be something where I could employ creativity. I liked drawing, but as a child, I had no idea people could make a living through illustration or that it was an actual career path to pursue.
So I didn’t really pay attention to illustration seriously, it was just a hobby at the time. I did my bachelors degree in Advertising Design at the University of Bedfordshire and master’s degree in International Marketing at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s thanks to my amazing teachers that I developed my illustration skills and rediscovered my passion for it.
Would you say your work has evolved over time? If so, what were some of the influences that caused it?
Absolutely. I used to draw mostly on paper with pencils and crayons. I loved this technique as it reminded me of my childhood, but it wasn’t sustainable style to make a decent living. Digital illustration is more practical for many reasons. If you want to do commercial illustration, you have to be quick and flexible and this is what drawing digitally exactly allows you to do.
Aside from my computer and Wacom table, I still love to use my paper and crayons though. I keep it for my personal work where I can take time and slowly enjoy the beauty of traditional drawing.
I see from your portfolio that you have a great way of transforming seemingly ordinary characters and ideas into colorful, playful scenes. How did you incorporate these elements in your interpretation of this month’s theme?
The theme Justice is a serious topic and I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge. It made me realise that I’m used to working more easy going things. But after a bit of wrestling, I decided I could relate it to my own experience with justice.
I come from Slovakia and after my studies in Great Britain, I decided to move back home. Slovakia is a Post-Soviet country and the result of 30 years of independence and democracy are not really how everyone imagined it. We’ve been through political, social and economic crisis.
In the illustration, I wanted to interpret justice as a person who’s going through the same crisis and has dropped their scales. It’s not a permanent state and it can be fixed.
Going back to Slovakia, I have a feeling that good people are starting to pop up in the political scene. A few months ago, we elected our first Slovak female president in our history, Zuzana Čaputová, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist. I’m very proud of the progress the Slovak people have made so far.
What’s one thing you’d like to do more of?
Right now, I am in the south of France. I’ve spent nearly two months here working and enjoying the summer. It’s the perfect combination of work-life balance. I was telling myself that I should do more of these art residencies abroad — getting out of my comfort zone has such a positive impact on my work.
What’s something that you recently learned or was inspired by that’s influencing your work
I’ve always thought of myself as an introverted person who doesn’t need to be surrounded by people all the time. I used to work from home, but after some time I found it frustrating and felt like I was starting to hate my job.
These days, I work from a beautiful co-working space in the centre of Bratislava with other creative humans. I enjoy talking about work with them, we give each other feedback, we collaborate, and we become friends. It’s influenced my life and work in so many ways.
What does the future of illustration or animation look like to you?
That’s a tough question. I just hope that illustration will become accepted as a real fully-valued profession, where no one will expect illustrators to work for free exposure.
Before we move on, please share how in the world you got into beekeeping!
Beekeeping is my family’s heritage. My dad is a beekeeper. My grandpa, my great grandpa, his father, and so forth were all beekeepers as well.
Several years ago, my dad gave me my first beehive. It was so natural for me. I kind of always knew I was going to become a beekeeper.
Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.
I have a small addiction to buying pottery and other beautiful kitchenware.
Explore more of Simona’s work on her Behance, Instagram, and Facebook.