Q & A with Freelance Artist Adél Szegedi

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I connected to Adél Szegedi via my client Jack Milner as Jack had hired Adél to create illustrations for his upcoming book, Virtual Presentation Mastery. Woven through Jack’s book on how to enhance virtual presentations is a thread of humor and whimsy, which Adél amplified. I was impressed with her work and enjoyed the collaboration. Recently, my assistant Jillian Tully interviewed Adél about her work as a freelance artist. Here is their conversation:

How long have you been creating art?

Storytelling has been an essential part of my life since I can remember, and creating art is a kind of storytelling for me. I usually struggle with verbal communication and I can convey my thoughts and express myself better in writing, with music, and with visual arts—especially with illustration and animation.

What inspires you?

It mainly depends on the circumstances and situation I am in. But the connection between nature and humans is definitely one of the most interesting and inspiring things for me—everything is linked to nature eventually. Also, I draw on the small, usually unnoticeable moments in everyday life that most of the people tend to miss in this big hurry we live in. If I recognize something interesting, I pause for a moment, “zoom in” to these tiny reality pieces, and I try to understand them. I believe everything has meaning, we just have to find the right perspective to recognize it. 

Where do you pursue your training?

I was self-taught, and visual creation was only a hobby until I did an animation course, in which I learned the basics of filmmaking and to use my visual language better. At the moment, I am studying at the University of Westminster in London in a Contemporary Media Practice course. It’s a really varied and exciting course, working with several different mediums like film, animation, photography, and so on. One of my current projects is a group work: we are developing a hybrid installation, focusing on the visualization and sonification of the communication of fungi. 

How did you connect with Jack Milner to illustrate his book, Virtual Presentation Mastery?

I connected with him through my university. My school has a really good system to help students to find work experiences as soon as possible and provide good connections to other creatives who want to work with students.

What inspired you to create each piece of art for the book and the great cover art, too?

It was mainly an agreement with Jack; fortunately we communicated very well. As a start, he proposed the basic concept, then I had a little bit of time to dabble with it in my head. Afterwards I came up with the idea to use an animal as a character because it is gender-less and ageless, therefore, everyone can relate. Eventually, we agreed on going with a frog, who became a little funny spark to the whole theme of the book. 

What was the creative process like for you on this book project?

I start every design process with research: I was collecting pictures about frogs in real life as well as inspirations from other illustrators to create a mood board with the collected material. It provided a good basis to see how a frog’s body is built up and how others depicted it. After that, I just started sketching and eventually came up with a few versions of a frog character that I sent to Jack, who offered feedback. There weren’t too many disagreements on the character. Since it’s a business type of book, I had to keep it in mind to create a cartoon character, which is not too childish but conveys the cheerful tone of the book.

What was it like working with Janice on this project?

Janice was really nice and supportive and offered a good insight into the book illustration world. It was the first book I’ve ever illustrated, so I’ve never worked with other writers and their editors before, hence it was a very instructive first experience for me. 

What other work are you pursuing at this time?

I’m working mainly on my university projects and a few illustration and animation commissions. One of my favorite projects now is a music visualization that I’m developing with a composer friend of mine. Also, I’m working on my next short film; at the moment I’m developing the script and the character designs. 

How can people reach you to see samples and learn more?

I have a website where they can find my illustration and animation portfolio. Otherwise, they can reach me on Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo as well.

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