Irina Șelaru’s illustrations invite us to lose ourselves in life’s smaller wonders

Playful with perspective and colour, with a perfect combination of simplicity and detail, the illustrator’s work brings out the soft grainy textures of the everyday.

13 June 2024

Drawing to celebrate small moments and mundane magic, the London-based, Romanian illustrator Irina Șelaru’s work instils a quiet sense of calm as we trace all the small and wonderful details of her illustrated scenes. “I always love telling a story with each illustration I create [...] this can be a story that is interpreted differently by each viewer,” she tells us. Often depicting people more than anything, her strong graphic characters are captured doom scrolling, floating, out on a coffee run and... stuck inside a Jelly? With her comical twists on the everyday, the more we look inside the illustrator’s delicate visual worlds, the more we discover.

Irina begins her illustrations when she’s out and about, taking moments from the fabric of her everyday life: “whenever I get the chance, I like carrying a sketchbook and drawing anything interesting I see around me,” she says. Many of her illustrations actually start out as small drawings from life, in these passing observations. They are later translated digitally in the illustrator’s bold visual style, rich with colour and texture. This practice of drawing from life “helps me disconnect a bit from ‘work’ and find inspiration again” she tells us, allowing her to rediscover the everyday detail that always translates into her careful compositions.

Over the past few years, Irina has developed her distinct aesthetic influenced by the likes of illustrators “Min Heo, Aysha Tengiz, Philip Lindeman, Karlotta Freier and many more!”, she says. One of her earlier creative influences though, was the work of Romanian illustrator Eugen Taru for “his way of capturing characters’ expressiveness”, an inspiration apparent in her bright, playful figures, marked by bold outlines.


Irina Șelaru: Loudest Day (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Birthday Cake (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Time Is Running Out (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2023)


Irina Șelaru: Strawberry Person (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Stuck in Jelly (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Holiday in Lanzarote (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Dissociate (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Christmas Dinner (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)


Irina Șelaru: Dog Love (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2024)

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Irina Șelaru: Swim (Copyright © Irina Șelaru, 2023)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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