A few years ago when we first wrote about Chilean illustrator Amanda Baeza, she was drawing tarot cards of strangers from the internet, mainly from Reddit. Since then, not only have these characters been printed into their very own tarot deck, but Amanda’s been keeping busy illustrating a whole host of other characters, in both editorial and commercial capacities.
The popularity and intrigue that followed her tarot project acted as creative encouragement for Amanda. Having this lift in interest has allowed her to “materialise more of my ideas and projects following a similar structure,” she says, “one where I can set time aside for myself to see them develop naturally – instead of rushing them towards a deadline.” In turn, the illustrator takes a steady approach to creative work, explaining that although her techniques or tools may change over time, it’s her subjects which interest her the most about the medium.
This technical change is obvious when we compare Amanda’s recent work to that which we wrote about a few years back. Focusing mostly on editorial work, “which has pushed me towards working digitally more than I used to,” she points out. However, elements of Amanda’s work which we fell in love with the first time remain clear despite her switch up in output. Details such as brush marks, or hands-on sketching usually seen in her comics still appear, and are not eradicated by the clean, quick lines digital illustration allows for. This has meant that (at least for now) her “comics have sadly taken a back seat,” she tells us.
Narrative remains a key part of Amanda’s illustrative practice. Even if a piece only features one scene, a backstory is usually present whether it’s via a vast landscape the illustrator sketches in, the details she adds to a street scene, or the obvious emotion of one of her characters. “My interest to portray people and their stories in my personal work remains,” she says, hinting at a larger project in the works too. “For the past year I’ve been working on a long story that I would like to one day transform into a book, and I will start releasing fragments of it starting this month through a series of prints.” Additionally, she plans to take all of her experience and channel it into this release. “I am not restricting myself to one technique or format,” she says. “I want it to feel like a very eclectic collection of pieces and memories, where the thread connecting them all is the story itself.”
This description mirrors Amanda’s portfolio to date where, even on her website, projects are displayed all at once, flipping between hand rendered sketches, physical objects, digital portraits and comics. She also shows no sign of slowing down her dexterous creativity in the future either. “I see myself experimenting and learning new mediums to express my stories,” she says, which is evident in the sewing classes she's recently started to attend – “with the hope to one day give life to other areas of my imagination.”
Amanda Baeza (Copyright © Amanda Baeza, 2020)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.