I recently discovered the gorgeous drawings of Narda Lebo, a talented illustrator who works from a refurbished barn in Dallas, Texas (so cool!). My favorite quality about Narda’s work is its vintage feel; her pieces look like they should be on display in a museum, touched only with white gloves or they might crumble and be lost forever.
Narda was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about her work:
Q: Narda, how did you get started as an illustrator?
A: I was drawing pictures since I was very little, but I really thought I wanted to be a doctor…long story short, I studied to be a medical illustrator.
Q: What is your favorite medium? Do you ever draw digitally or is all your work by hand?
A: All of my work is by hand and on paper. For the most part I draw and paint with watercolors and gouache, and sometimes build up a collection of things into collage.
Q: I love that you draw on what looks like old parchment paper, complete with wrinkles and torn edges. Where did you get this idea?
A: I love textures, old salvage from previous work, and the essence of time that old papers and books inherently hold. Also, I love anything that really shows that it is handmade. Sometimes I pick up something old that catches my eye and wonder ‘who touched this and what was their story?’ And, I love a good story, so that’s where my thought process begins.
Q: You incorporate Chinese lettering and stamps on some of your work for a beautiful layered effect. Do you have a connection to that culture?
A: My family is half Colombian and the other half Italian, so the eastern cultures are purely fascinating…I really don’t have any idea what some of the symbols are. Occasionally I find a cache of antique Japanese love stories, or something equally gorgeous…as in so much art, words are not as important as the context.
Q: Where is your favorite place to work? Do you have a sketchbook with you everywhere you go?
A: I work by myself in my studio, and become truly absorbed for long hours…when I’m out in my city I love to just see what going on around me. When traveling, my sketchbook is like another person, so I do sketch during those lonely moments.
Q: Where can we find your prints for purchase? Or do you only take on commission-based work?
A: Mostly, my work is commissioned, but I do have a huge amount of studio sketches, as well as prints that are being readied for sale. They will be available through a link on nardalebo.com.