At first I just doodle…
Hedviga Gutierrez said. “It appears that I do everything digitally, but it’s not quite like that. I constantly draw something, sketches in my notebook until I’ve got a completely clear idea. All that… those books, are handmade.”
It’s true that her illustrations look simple; they are, well... “completely ordinary”. It’s as if she first squatted down with the children, her audience, so that she could see the world from their height.
Bright colors, distinct contours.
The gallery space provides an opportunity to stop time, to look at them, to replicate the strokes and to study the structures. To ask: “How did she do that?” And only then will we get it, what gives her illustrations such panache, appearance of motion and freshness. Do you see? It’s those tiny irregularities. Something that doesn’t fit, that lovingly disturbs us, that she sets in motion. Sometimes it is the slightly lifted arm of one of the characters or the enlarged eye of another. At other times it is mixed up proportions – where small is big and big is small. She frequently “rotates” people and things, she deviates them in various angles, she let them balance in space without any support but just slightly, in order to create tension, in order to stir our impatience about what is to come and how it will end up.
She creates so intensively that something is always happening in her illustrations. She can keep her readers in the story, she creates that pleasant state in which they’re not willing to put down the book. In a single picture she makes a reference to the text which the readers have already read, while at the same time hinting at what awaits. She plays with them like this: “If you keep reading, certainly something interesting will happen.” And she’s funny! Not in a shallow way, none of those shiny colors and motions repeated a million times. Her humor is fine, encoded in details and subtle gestures.
So come in and have a closer look.
Pure joy, right?
Text: Ida Želinská
Hedviga studied in the studios of Dušan Kállay and Ľuboslav Paľo at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. She is mainly involved in book illustration. In particular, she has done the illustrations for Chrontulienka by Branislav Jobus, Baba Jaga by Kvetka Veverková, Čipkovaný tato by Igor Adamec, Záhada knižnice na konci ulice and Hotdog a čarovné Vianoce by Kristína Baluchová and A Diverse World by Lenka Chytilová. She has also published her own children’s book entitled Plecháč Bob about how little it matters how we look and how much it matters how we are. We can also find her work in the newspaper Denník N, the magazine Sóda, the children’s magazine Slniečko, and the collection entitled Čierne diery. Hedviga is a multiple winner of the Najkrajšia kniha roka (The Most Beautiful Book of the Year) award organized by the Bibiana - Children’s Art Center. She has exhibited at the Municipal Library in Prague, the Piešťany City Library, the SOGA auction house, the Ernest Zmeták Gallery in Nové Zámky, the Biennial of Illustrations and the Foajé space in Bratislava.