An Interview with Deville on Redefining Realism with Playful Perspectives

An Interview with Deville on Redefining Realism with Playful Perspectives

With such pleasure, we have the chance to interview the illustrious artist who goes by Deville and ask all of our burning questions. Her work is insanely creative and bursting with perspective on life. Can you tell us a bit about how you got to this point in your career? In your life?

This point that I’m at right now feels like the very beginning. I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities of my art.  My background is in urban planning so I started to draw as a way of communicating design ideas and drawing on location to capture a sense of place. What started as an attempt to capture the world around me, has now evolved into a desire to create my own imaginary worlds, drawn into existence.

Perhaps it’s the urban planner within me getting to designing a place from scratch without the red tape and limitations of the real world. I don’t know where my art will take me but it’s an exciting feeling being at the beginning of something.

Your style is really intriguing when it comes to the way you illustrate structure, whether that be architecture or human features. How did you achieve a way to capture a scene realistically but also in a way that the forms you sketch appear like their very own drawn character?

The longer I’ve been making art, the less I care about realism and the more I care about style and feeling. When I started, I was aiming for perfect perspective, realistic human proportions, and all the things that make a traditionally good drawing. Now my aim is totally different. My characters have funny proportions – tiny heads with chubby bodies and big hair. My buildings are a mishmash of architectural styles, also with funny proportions that certainly are not structurally sound. 

My style comes from a way of thinking and a way of doing – through theory and through gesture. In terms of theory, I see buildings as characters. Their ornamentation is jewelry, the roof line is hair, the windows are eyes. It is an imaginary world, where everyone and everything has a personality.

My style also comes through gesture. I use gesture to give meaning. Think of the contrast in gestures between an Italian arguing over the dinner table and a soldier marching in a military parade. Their hand movements convey completely different meanings. In this same way, I use gesture to create expression in my drawing. It all comes from the movements of the hand. A flex nib facilitates this because it enables me to move my hand across multiple fields – not only across the horizontal plane of the paper but also vertically, with the amount of pressure I use. When I draw, I am conducting these different variables to express what I’m after. 

What are your go-to mediums & why do you enjoy using such? How do you believe the medium helps to bring your illustration to light?

My primary mediums are ink, water, and watercolour paints. With black ink on white paper, I like that I can create a line that is both delicate in expression, but because of the high contrast, doesn’t get lost. Every line then has a meaning. Water, is also extremely important to me. I use it to adjust tonal value, to make and break edges, to create transparency, and to create flow. 

Can you tell us about any of your favorite artists? What sort of influence has stayed with you as your mature in your artistry?

I love Hieronymus Bosch and how he’d depict heaven and hell as having their own species of creatures specific to that world. He created a unity between figures and the environment that I would like to emulate.  I also love George Grosz and Otto Dix and their depiction of what they saw as the archetypes of a post-war society – the capitalists, the whores, the officers, and those disfigured by war. In my own drawings, I think a lot about the archetypes or the ‘public characters’ on the streets of a modern city – the store owner, the Door Dasher, the influencer, the unhoused.

It seems like you’re able to pick up pen and paper and sketch just about anywhere! Is this something you’ve always done?

Yes, most of my art is on the fly. I like the immediacy and portability of pen and ink drawing. I have tried oil painting but so far, I have not had the patience. I always have so many ideas in my head and I like to get them out quickly.

When do you feel satisfied with an illustration? Is there a clear end point for you?

There is no formula to determine when a piece is finished. They way I like to describe it is when it feels satisfying to the eye. Almost every time I start something it goes through an ugly phase and I have to tell myself to keep pushing through, trusting that it will get to a point where I like it again. It’s often just missing details. The world is made up of a broad spectrum of shapes, from big blocks to tiny flecks. My scenes are not complete until the tiny flecks are in place. 

What is your most optimal environment for creativity? Do you listen to particular music to get you in the zone? Are you a morning person?

I have a morning brain and a night brain. My morning brain is optimistic, diligent, and ready to take on the world. This is when I do the admin aspect of art and when I craft already thought-out ideas. My night brain is more creative but at the same time more fearful of the future and sensitive. Since I do most of my art-making at night, I listen to music or comedy to get in a better mood. I love anything with a dancey beat, especially disco music.

If you could describe your beautiful work in 3 words, what words would you use & why?

Whimsical, because playfulness and humour take precedence over realism in my art, joyful because people tell me my art makes them happy, and human because people are always at the centre of my art.

An Interview with Deville on Redefining Realism with Playful Perspectives

Deville website:

Similar Articles


To post your project Click here

Most Popular