Since we last wrote about María Medem’s illustration practice last year, her work has progressed in leaps and bounds. The texture is more enriched and the expressiveness of the characters has deepened. She has also expanded her clientele which now includes commissions for publications such as Medium, the New York Times, as well as Wired and Anxy magazine.
In the last year, María has published her first book, collaborated on zines and participated in group exhibitions. Satori is a three-colour, Risograph-printed book published by the Amsterdam-based, independent publishing house Terry Bleu. María tells It’s Nice That how the creative process “was really difficult in the beginning because of the limitation of only three colours”. The illustrator designed the book so the reader experiences the story free of preconceptions about the narrative. But loosely, Satori is about “a perfect summer night and the mental state of being truly present of the current moment in time.”
Karate is a collaborative project with Hugo Espacio creating a zine around the martial art. The entire process from idea conception to printing lasted only two months, but these time restrictions demanded narrative clarity which focused the collaborative process. Published by Ultimo Mono, the zine “follows the search of a Kata” in an allegorical sense. “Kata” is a Japanese word which describes the detailed pattern of movement practiced in Karate either solo or in pairs. The visual aesthetic is influenced by Japanese aestheticism with it’s sequential storyboard layout and flat, block colours. The minimal use of shadows and colours stylistically refers to traditional Japanese block prints and the pair utilise the style to recreate the authentic atmosphere of Karate’s historical context.
In other projects including the publications Cenit, Ciudad En Viñetas, Ciclo and Anthologies, María continues to optimise on the textures of Risograph printing. The simplification of colour and line enhance the illustrator’s interest in “how human interactions shape landscapes and atmospheres”. The illustrations also showcase an increased attentiveness to bodily movements, evoking the layout of a comic to create movement across the page. With a growing confidence in the use of bold colour that intensifies each illustration’s atmosphere, María’s practice continues to expand through the medium of publications.