Off the Page: Irena Freitas

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Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with fanartists who bring your favorite young adult books to life.

Irena Freitas is a 23-year-old illustrator from Brazil who curently works as a freelances for magazines, publishers and various studios. Freitas wants hopes to start her Master in Illustration this spring.

“My favorite book of all time is probably Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, but I guess you could say it’s a middle grade book, so for YA it would probably be Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell,” said Freitas.

  • Cinder from Marissa Meyer's Cinder.

What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
I’m a very visual person, so whenever I read something I try to picture everything in the story to it’s minimal details. I’ve always used to doodle a little whenever I read something, but since 2013 I’ve trying to actually finish all those drawings, or at least add some color to my sketches.

Are there any other influences you included in your art?
SO MANY! I love cartoons, so I guess I could say they have a major influence on my drawing style. In my teens I was crazy about shoujo manga – actually I wanted to be a mangaka – so most times I can’t help adding sparkles and little flowers on my drawings. But my major influence as an artist is Mary Blair. I really look up a lot to her work.

What was the best reaction you’ve received?
Creating fanart is the best because it’s all about sharing something that you love with people that have the same interest, so whenever other fans share my work, it’s the best! Especially when people add a bunch of crazy tags on tumblr.

But the best of best is whenever authors reblog my fanart. When I started doing fanart, I never expected this to happen. Authors always seemed unattainable to me, like they would never bother to meddle on fandom business, but I was happy to find out that’s not the case AT ALL! YA authors are the most lovely people on the internet, it’s amazing.

What’s your process?
I doodle a little on my notebook and then color on Photoshop. Sorry, I don’t have much of a process! I usually try to not overthink too much, otherwise I feel that I can’t draw anything.

Do you have any tools you like to work with?
Pencils and a Bamboo Wacom tablet!

What piece are you most proud of?
I don’t know! I like that people usually reblog my Fangirl quote and share a little of their experience with social anxiety.

Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I love my work so I’m always working on something fun! I would love to write and illustrate a book for kids some day, but I still have to work on my ideas.

What encouraged you to share your fanart?
Most of my friends are not readers or don’t care about YA, so doing fanart and sharing on the internet was a way I found to meet more people that are excited about the same things that I am.

What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
Believe in yourself! I know it’s hard and sometimes you feel like quitting art (I know that I do), but just do your best and share things that you love that things will come around.

For more, visit Irena Freitas’ website.

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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