Computer Arts: Tell us about the project ...
Barbara Ana Gomez: Illustrated Songs started as my final project for uni – though it was called Illustrated Music, then. I made a long scroll inspired by the lyrics of Space Oddity: almost three meters, filled with drawings. It was a really fun experience and I was very happy with the result, but it was hard work. I ended up exhausted.
A couple of years later, I picked the project up again. I started making – much smaller – drawings inspired by the songs I love. Now the collection is slowly growing, new songs being added when I can get around to it. It’s a very special project to me, and I can tell that it'll go on for a long time.
CA: How do you put each piece together?
BAG: It usually starts by listening to a song and having the urge to represent it visually. Then I sketch some ideas inspired by the music and the lyrics, and I make a final drawing using pen and ink. The drawing is then scanned to be retouched and coloured using Photoshop.
My Love Has Gone was an especially challenging experience, since I wanted to make a gif for the first time. My initial idea was way more complicated and had many more frames. I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to optimise the file afterwards to make it a reasonable size. I ended up deleting most of the frames, and then it became the nice simple animation it is now.
CA: How did you get into illustration?
BAG: I always enjoyed drawing. My school books were filled with doodles and song lyrics. I studied advertising and graphic design in Spain, where I'm from, and moved to London in 2007 to take an illustration course at the London College of Communication. I've been freelancing as an illustrator since then.
I think my images have a traditional feeling because of the materials I use: Indian inks and antiqued paper. But there's also a touch of digital treatment. I use Photoshop a lot. Music is my main source of inspiration, but also films, people, nature, antique postcards and artworks, and beautiful things in general. I have many illustration books at home. One of my favourites is Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haeckel.