Words and art by Nina Dogmetchi of Imagination Illustrated.
I have had quite a mixed career before the start of my brand. I was a visiting lecturer at Camberwell College of Art, I then went to work in NYC as a textile designer. I came back to London to do an MA at the RCA, and after that I spent a few years working in schools as an artist in residence. I then moved to Germany where I spent 8 years working as a graphic designer, first for Puma, and then for Adidas. I left Adidas in 2013 to follow a dream I had held for a long time, which was to write and illustrate a children's book.
With the help of Kickstarter, the dream was realised and I produced my first book 'The Lazy Leopard'. From there the brand basically took off with books, cards, art prints, stationery and now textile products. It’s been a long journey to get here!
Mostly the things I draw just pop into my head... I will go for a run and in the middle of the run I decide that I really need to go home and draw an elephant, for instance. I have a mixed heritage background - I'm half Iranian and I’m very much inspired by Persian miniatures and fables. I love all the colours and patterns that are used in their work, I also love the fantastical and magical aspects.
Recently I lost my Grandmother, who I loved very much. She had a stack of very old paper that I found at her flat, and everything I have drawn on this has worked out wonderfully. I call it my lucky paper and think of her everytime I take out another sheet. She was very artistic and I hope that part of Grandma's spirit is helping me out through her old paper!
It is hard not to get sucked into checking instagram and finding yourself lost in a world that isn’t really real. Yet it is inspiring and important, especially for a creative business like mine. I find Yoga helps me and I run on the Heath as much as possible. I get out in the trees and spend time in nature. When I travel I also feel very much like I top up my creativity levels...seeing the colours and landscapes of a new place. Most importantly I make sure I get off the computer and get my pencils out. Drawing and painting has to happen every few days otherwise I get withdrawal symptoms.
I am very interested in human emotion and how we relate to each other and the world, I try to express this through my drawings of animals. I hope to somehow capture the essence of a feeling that we cant always put into words. I hope that my work moves something in you, and that if you buy something from Imagination Illustrated you will want to keep it forever.
My big dream is to create a small studio/shop environment for me and my products; somewhere I can work and sell from, interact with customers and people, whilst being creative at the same time. I’d love to work on collaborations with people - The Natural History Museum or London Zoo would be a dream! I want to write and illustrate that 2nd book! It’s written, so I just need more time to illustrate it. To be known as that girl who draws all those beautiful animals woudn’t be bad either.