Fethi has been an artist creating and imagining worlds for a long while. Here's an interview about his journey.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Fethi Yilmaz. I was born in Antalya, Turkey in 1981 and I am currently living in Istanbul. I am art educator and illustrator and teaching graphic design as well. Moreover, I am illustrating books and education cards for children.
When did you start creating images for children's books?
My continuously varying art life which has been started as a faculty of fine arts has come to these days. I have done a lot of work in different sectors related to art. I was always interested in painting, graphics and photography. I have only recently started in the field of illustration. It is a great pleasure to illustrate a script in my own imagination. The best part of my work is to create new bodies for the characters in the story, to imagine myself in it and to try to think and feel like those characters.
What inspired your style?
Everything I have done, lived and seen during my art education life and after. For sure, there are many things in the nature that give me inspiration. I like to use real lifelike forms in my work but they have to reflect me. We can named this ‘to use imaginary characters in real space‘. The exaggerated body forms of characters, while I am illustrating them are representing the main properties of those characters.
What are some of your favorite colors to use?
I don’t think that I can say an exact one. No colour is indispensable. But the point is to use it in right place and at enough amounts. I like the contrast of bright and cold colours, when they used together. Every new colour by mixing of base and accent colours makes me more excited. Therefore, I really like to mix them, because I have a huge picture palette!
Do you prefer to paint digitally or traditionally?
I use both. But I prefer watercolour in my paintings. However, I make digital arrangements on my works but my illustrations are not totally digital. The benefits of technology help to differentiate the works but it doesn't appeal to me, if I only paint digitally. Hence, I never give up traditional technics.
What gave you the idea to combine traditional paint with animation?
I am using watercolour technics in my paintings that I have been training and trying to improve myself for many years. I still do…I like to see the watercolour effect on a paper and it sounds that this is the best way to do whatever I want. That’s why I prefer watercolour for my illustrations. I never thought to give it up.
Do you have any favorite children books that you've worked on?
I love all books that I painted till now. I was very lucky because those books seemed that they were written just for illustrating by me. Now, I am working on a book in which I'm the writer and illustrator. When it is published, I think it is going to be my favorite one :D
Did you go to school to be trained in art? If so where did you go?
Yes. I was trained in fine arts faculty in Turkey. I studied Master of Science in art education after graduating department of painting.
What has been the most challenging project you've worked on so far?
To illustrate children’s book is an enjoyable process for me. I don’t remember any challenging time in those works. But the most challenging projects are learning content projects which focus to solve a definite problem or on a modification of a behavior. If it has a scientific content, I have to be more careful not to make a mistake.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Recently, I follow the illustrations of Korean illustrator Kim Jung Gi.
If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items/things/people would you have with you?
1-most skillful friend
3-at least 20 meters long rope
If you could time travel where would you go?
It would be excellent to see the first ages of human beings.
If you could travel to a planet where would you go?
I would go to any planet that has a possibility for life to be the first person who has done it.