Illulina on Colour Tones, Texture and Fluidity

Melina – or Illulina, as she is known online, describes herself as a ‘tea drinker, woodland dweller and illustrator.’ I’ve been a fan of her work on Instagram for a while, falling in love with the use of texture and and fluid lines. I caught up with her to discuss her workspace, how she is influenced by the natural world and why illustration has always been her passion.

Tell us about yourself?

First of all, hi! I’m Melina. I was born and raised in the north of Germany’s beautiful Bavaria. I am very passionate about hot drinks, especially tea, which is the reason I am constantly sitting in Cafes or exploring old, Diagon-Alley-like tea shops. I love books, especially the ones about faraway places with wizards, magical creatures, flying broomsticks or pipe-smoking Hobbits.

Image courtesy of the artist. Image © Illulina.

What is the story behind the name Illulina?

Lina is one of my nicknames and ‘illu’ is short for illustration. Little me was so creative! I got used the to nickname and learnt to love it.

How did you being illustrating?

My interest in art started to develop in kindergarden, when I was lucky enough to spend my days in a small library full of illustrated children’s books. From a very early age I realised that I might want to do this for a living, so I began to take the wish seriously. Studying art has been my dream ever since.

How did you develop your illustration style?

At first I didn’t really have my own style. After a long time of pressuring myself to find my very own way of drawing I realised that I just have to let go and draw in a way that is the most comfortable for me. This was the moment I started to develop the style I have today.

Do you use certain themes or colours in your work?

I’m in love with muted, earthy tones. Sometimes I dip my toe into the world pastels and strong, saturated colours, but I prefer my palette inspired by nature.

Image courtesy of the artist. Image © Illulina.

What inspires you to create?

The people and things around me, my dreams and wishes.

What are you artistic tools of the trade?

My favourite tools are coloured or graphite pencils, because they create a lot of texture and movement in my illustrations.

What is your creative process like?

I actually just go for it. If I see something I find interesting or an idea jumps into my mind, I start doodling rough shapes and colours. If I like what I brought to paper, I start working on more detailed pieces.

Where do you like to create your work?

Most of the time I’m working in my room. It’s cozy, safe and silent. My desk is in front of a window, facing a beautiful old oak and a forest. Often enough I space out and just sit there, forgetting about my tea, which is then becoming cold.

What is your favourite piece you have created?

I haven’t really thought about a possible favourite. I cherish all of my illustrations, since each one of them shows my progress.

Image courtesy of the artist. Image © Illulina.

Have you ever lost passion for your work?

Actually, yes, quite recently even. Art school rejected me and I started doubting my skill. I was sulking for about a week, but I never stopped drawing. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up. In Germany we have a saying which goes “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” – it’s true.

What are the most challenging parts of illustrating?

Frustration caused by not being able to visualise the image in your head right away.

And what are the best parts?

Telling stories in my very own way and the loving and heart-warming art community.

Image courtesy of the artist. Image © Illulina.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in illustration?

Go for it, and don’t give up if it doesn’t work immediately. The beautiful thing about art and illustration is the progress you make and looking back after months of hard work.

All images copyright of Illulina.

You can find Illulina’s work on Instagram at and on Tumblr at

Please like and share
Continue Reading

Rewilding: The Process


I’ve had a break from blogging for the past month. With one exhibition going on display, and another in the works, things have been pretty busy. I also escaped for a week away with my family, where I spent a lot of time reading and working on drawing studies.

Before I go ahead and explain the thoughts behind my newest painting, go ahead and take a look below at my Youtube video showing the full painting process.

I started this painting because I wanted to make something without already knowing how I wanted it to look. The plan was to put pencil to paper and see what happened. Like most creatives I am a perfectionist, but sometimes perfectionism can limit your work. In this piece I left in the rough pencil lines that I would normally erase. I like using flowing line work to create a sense of movement, and I like how alive they make the portrait look.

Rewilding, Hannah Rose Shaw, 2017, ink and watercolour on A4 watercolour paper.

I’ve recently been inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s Women Who Run with the Wolves. Estés talks, among many other things, about how a creative inner world needs to be fed. My work often comes back to the theme of inner lives, an introspective nature appearing in my colours and bringing together of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the external and the internal. I’m planning on this idea becoming a series of work, and I’ll talk more about it in posts to come.

For now, let me know what you think of the video, and I invite you to a challenge! It’s this: get out a pen or a brush and set of paints, and start making. It doesn’t matter how you do it, what it is or what the outcome is, just enjoy the doing and use it as a chance to work without worrying about perfection.


Please like and share
Continue Reading