Off the Page: Paula Botelho


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

Paula Botelho is from Brazil and studies Architecture and Urbanism. Though she will be studying in England for the next year, she loves to read and do art in her free time. Her fanart features the books by Richelle Read’s Vampire Academy, Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer series.

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What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
My favorite thing about those great books is how, in the end, we can feel like we actually know the characters. That’s something that really gets me: complex, layered characters, that you’ll know their reactions and faces like you would know a friend of yours. That give characters life in my mind, and then it’s easy to know their expressions and faces.

Are there any other influences you used included in your art?
My grandma taught me how to draw and paint and weirdly, even after years, I still carry her way of shading and drawing noses and eyes in my current style. And I’m always influenced by other artists on the internet, I’m constantly looking and admiring artists and their different styles. Also Tumblr! These fandoms influence a lot, sometimes with fancasts that will actually change what I thought a character looked like in my mind.

What was your favorite reaction you’ve received?
I guess there is a general “creator” thing, when people can actually feel something from what you’ve created. Even if simple recognition, like “Ha! Yes! This character would look exactly like this! Look at their expression!” But my favorite reaction ever was when Michelle Hodkin had that recognition feeling with the Sketch Page I did of the characters in Mara Dyer trilogy. She laughed at Noah’s sassy look, and that actually made my day/week/life!

What’s your process? What type of medium/art programs do you use or prefer?
I work better with traditional medias. That’s how I’ve truly learned things, so I usually sketch on paper (I’m always sketching), and color/paint digitally. But my way of sketching doesn’t go with my way of coloring, usually my sketches are just background references when digitally painting something. I’m always trying to find a way to blend the sketch lines with my painting. Digitally, I think Paint Tool SAI is better for blending and abusing on colors. I use Adobe Photo Shop too.

Do you have any tools you like to work with?
Give me something that leaves a mark on a paper and I’m good. Ink, charcoal, or colored pencils. I also enjoy oil paint on canvas since that’s what my grandma does. When I’m home there’s always innumerous supplies laying around. Digitally, I’ve only recently acquired a tablet (I used to paint using a mouse), so that’s great, too. I’m just not used to it like I’d like to be.

Is there any special place where you like to do your work?
Not really. I can sketch anywhere. Actually, I guess I prefer being in my room when working with digital medias, because I have a lot of space for the tablet and my laptop, while being comfortable. But music is a must.

What is your proudest piece?
I guess I don’t have one special piece I love the most. I’m always trying new brushes and styles, it’s hard to chose one. But a while ago I’ve done one from Champion with June and Day, as an art trade, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out. It gives me feels.

Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
A while ago, during a short vacation, I got bored and started sketching some of my friends. That became a thing. I’d like to have a full album with sketches of all my friends. But right now I’m so out of time with university things that any time I have goes to “sketching what I feel like sketching right now”.

What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
That talent isn’t something you are born with. Maybe someone has a better sense or it comes easier to somebody else. But drawing, painting, coloring, shading, are things you learn and study and practice. So practice a lot, and try getting out of your comfort zone to expand your skills set. Don’t fret, you’ll improve if you work for it. Don’t be afraid of how your lines don’t look as perfect as someone else’s. Maybe your lines make a great style! Actually, you’ll look for inspiration and help with other artists. Don’t worry about your own progress and improvement and you are good to go!

What encouraged you to share your fanart?
At first, Tumblr friends and other Tumblr artists, like Brynne (chrysalisgrey), that genuinely cared for my art and helped me improve. Later, I also joined deviantArt, and I met wonderful people that also encouraged me a lot. I started sharing some of my Divergent fanart, and even though I was scared, I thought it wouldn’t matter because no one would see it. But then someone would come to me and say something about it is when realized that it does matter. And I see now how it makes you want to do better, or improve, and you can even get some help you weren’t even expecting to get. And also friends! I still feel insecure and like I’m not as good as I’d like to be, but sharing your fanart with a fandom, and your friends, can be really rewarding.

You can find more of Paula’s art over on her deviantArt and Tumblr pages.

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About Author

Natasha M. Heck

Natasha believes cats and words are the shiniest things in the 'verse. She has touched Stonehenge, climbed the Glastonbury Tor, walked the Philosopher's Path, and kissed her true love on the Eiffel Tower. She's a fangirl, Jedi Knight, and Gryffindor whose love of unicorns led her to live in the land of geekdom and sunshine. She has an English degree emphasis in Creative Writing, and is using it to follow her dreams.

1 Comment

  1. Génesis Antonio on

    Paula is so talented, it makes me happy that she is becoming known because she has potential. This interview is amazing. Greetings from Mexico with love, Génesis aka your parabatai.