Artist Aiste Stancikaite on why she loves pencil drawing, perfectionism & 2018 goals

Aiste has been dubbed one of 2018’s up-and-coming illustrators, recently signed with boutique agency Grand Matter, and moved to Berlin to get "involved in the creative scene".

Illustrator and mixed media artist Aiste Stancikaite is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and we think genius, when it comes to pencil drawings.

Using a limited colour palette (if any at all) and negative space, Aiste’s highly textured and detailed figurative hand drawings stand strong as they are with a hint of digital input. The Lithuanian born, Berlin-based artist has been dubbed as one of 2018’s up-and-coming illustrators, and recently signed with boutique illustration agency Grand Matter.

Although potentially traditional in aesthetic, Aiste spends a long time refining each illustration – as much time as she’s allowed. We get the sense she wouldn’t settle for anything less, and her talented eye for lighting and crosshatching is evident. 

As she puts it: "I enjoy good light, interesting shadows, strange objects and human anatomy", and this couldn’t be more obvious than within her impeccable Instagram feed – definitely check it out.

Looking ahead to 2018, Aiste hopes to bring more unusual compositions into her work, as well as getting back into painting. Aiste has worked for fashion, design and media clients including Wired, Variety, and Financial Times among others.

We chat to Aiste about her creative process and recent move to Berlin.

Miriam Harris: How did you begin working as an artist?

Aiste Stancikaite: "I studied fine art, specialising in painting at Vilnius Academy of Arts. After graduating, I took up photography as it was an easier medium to work with whilst traveling and moving countries a lot. When I finally felt a bit more settled, I picked up drawing again and that's when it all started."

MH: Why do you chose to work with pencil drawings and a simple colour palette?

AS: "I have tried a lot of different drawing mediums in the past but always come back to pencil. I love the simplicity of drawing with pencil on paper. It's amazing how something so simple can produce a really strong image.

"I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so drawing with pencil suits me best – I feel I can be in full control of it. And even if I sometimes try to add more colour or more detail in the background, I almost always end up stripping it all down. I think that a simple colour palette and abstract backgrounds let the detailed hand drawing shine through best."

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MH: What are you hoping to achieve artistically within 2018?

AS: "This year I want to start painting again. I think finding my own way to communicate my ideas through painting could bring some interesting opportunities, as well as allowing me to create some larger scale work."

MH: Tell us a little bit about your creative process.

AS: "I spend a lot of time (or as much as I'm given..) trying to refine and visualise the idea I have in my head - often it's by creating photography mood boards. When I have a clearer idea, I start drawing the main subject.

"When that's ready, I scan it and do a little editing on Photoshop. Lastly, I work on the background, whether it's painted or created digitally. I work in very clear stages, one step at a time, until the final image is created."

MH: Your figurative work is exceptional – are there any tips/guidelines you tend to stick to?

AS: "Thank you! I still draw in the same way that I was taught back in my study years - that you have to be able to see the overall drawing at any stage. This means I add layers of pencil across the whole drawing step by step, instead of working in high detail straight away from one corner to another. This way I can manage the light and shadows much better, gradually achieving the right contrast and detail of the image as a whole.

"I also have a certain way of using my pencils. I like the pencil lines slightly visible with layers of crosshatching, to create a drawing that has texture, space and a certain lightness to it."

MH: Why type of pencils do you use?

AS: "I tend to use quite hard pencils. I initially start with 2H and go up to 2B layer by layer, sometimes to 3B or 4B for really dark shadows."

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MH: What do you have a deep fascination for and would like to see more in your artwork?

AS: "I like unusual compositions and crops, which is something I'd like to explore more in my own work, especially when drawing people. I'm also really inspired by unusual architecture and mid century and minimal contemporary design. I'd love to create some work that is still figurative, yet brings in more abstract elements."

MH: Is there a particular thing you like to draw the most, and why?

AS: "I absolutely love drawing shiny objects with lots of sharp edges, angles, strong shadows and glares. Anything that's made of glass, metal or rippling shiny materials. These just seem to translate really well with my drawing style."

MH: What have you been working on recently, and what’s on the horizon for you?

AS: "Recently I've been drawing quite a lot of food, which is a fairly new thing for me and I found that I actually quite enjoyed it! I've also just moved to Berlin, so I hope to get involved in the creative scene here this year and meet some fellow illustrators and artists."

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