New experimental illustrations

I decided to use my marker drawings as the basis for digital colouring on iPad Pro using Artstudio Pro app. As for the markers, I used Molotow black liners and the Aqua Color brushes. It surprised me, the results are really nice. For now, I created only drawings of unreal people’s faces (fictional portraits). In the future, I will be thinking about more complex ideas using this style too. So it could eventually match some of your briefs, I hope.

Rozhodla som sa použiť moje kresby fixkami ako základ pre digitálne kolorovanie na iPade Pro a aplikácie Artstudio Pro. Použila som black linery a Aqua Color brushe od firmy Molotow. Výsledok ma prekvapil, vyzerá to fajn. Zatiaľ som vytvorila len kresby nereálnych ľudských tvárí (fiktívne portréty). V budúcnosti budem uvažovať o komplexnejších nápadoch v tomto štýle. Snáď sa vám to bude hodiť k nejakým zadaniam.


Sunday update

These days I am busy with digital illustrations I am creating as my personal project. My intention is to draw as often as possible and push my style into new directions. Recently I have started combining 2D elements with a feeling of space (although it is not a proper 3D space, I am not too strict about perspective at all).

I had a conversation with one of my colleagues from a school where I was teaching a few months ago. He suggested having a story behind my characters and places in my pictures. So I can try to explain two pictures I attached to this post.

‘In the picture on the left, there are two friends in the street. The city is called ‘Myland’. Mike and Chandler are meeting for a chat. They are discussing their current troubles with women.’

‘On the right, there is a lady standing by a fountain. Her name is Elena. She is waiting for her boyfriend to come. Will he arrive on time?!’

So, that was my point of view for these pictures and what is yours? If you’d like to tell me, feel free to e-mail me at petrastefankova@gmail.com

Besides, I would like to mention here that I discovered Scribd online library for audio and e-books, so I can now switch to English language training by listening to favourite books for at least 5 hours a day! So far I have listened to Ice Monster, The Midnight Gang by David Walliams and Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. So much fun!


Your support on Patreon

I made a big step in my internet presence and started to build a community using the Patreon platform. I would like to invite those of you, who would appreciate seeing the high-res images (1500px) of my most recent illustrations and some videos about my paintings too. The content is exclusive and it is intended for personal use only. So you can explore my profile there and follow me for only 3 EUR per month. Your financial support will help me to keep calm and happy in my working freelance life. I promise that I will be adding new content on a regular basis to entertain, inform and inspire you. Videos will be recorded in English only because the user interface of this web site is in English too. Do not hesitate and check out my Patreon page!

Urobila som veľký krok v mojej internetovej prezentácii a začala si budovať komunitu na platforme Patreon. Rada by som pozvala tých z vás, ktorí ocenia obrázky vo vyššom rozlíšení (1500px) z mojich najnovších ilustrácií a tiež nejaké videá o mojich maľbách. Obsah je exkluzívny a určený len na osobné použitie. Možete preskúmať môj profil a sledovať ma len za 3 eurá mesačne. Vaša finančná podpora mi pomôže byť pokojná a šťastná v práci na voľnej nohe. Sľubujem, že budem pridávať nový obsah pravidelne, aby ste sa zabavili, informovali a inšpirovali. Videá budem nahrávať len v angličtine, pretože užívateľské rozhranie webu je tiež v angličtine. Neváhajte a pozrite si moju stránku Patreon!


The artist outside of the hub

I have a past of a world traveller – I have been to places such as Western Australia, Rhode Island, California, New York and many cities in Europe. I lived in Prague, Dover and London many years ago. I studied or worked as a freelancer there too. And I spent my whole childhood in Bratislava, where I was born. During my childhood, it was quite popular to travel for holidays abroad – for example, Tunisia, Greece, Spain, Croatia or so.

At the moment I shuttle between the capital, Bratislava, and a small village in Zahorie area of Western Slovakia. It is surely a huge difference in my lifestyle because I am not inside the hub of creative events and the professional community. I am surrounded by a small number of neighbour’s houses – we have a filmmaker, a customs officer, a lawyer and people from some other backgrounds here. They usually work in their gardens and around their houses when they are at home, which is actually not the work I tend to do too often.

Zahorie does not provide much visibility to the artists, there are just a few public galleries and museums. Therefore I am more focused on my creative work and (mostly online) marketing side of the job. This opportunity to slow down provided me with the space to explore my creative outputs more actively. I try to draw every day. I sketch many ideas and compositions until I am happy with at least one of them. Then, the process depends on whether it is appropriate to draw it digitally or use traditional acrylics.

The art market, either for commercial illustration or fine art, is very small in Slovakia. So I feel quite dependent on the interest and trust of foreign commissioners. They allow my creativity to flourish and stay alive. So if you are just reading this and have something in mind, do get in touch. I really love to hear from you.


Appreciation of painting

For 20 years I have been a digital artist. I started as a vector graphic designer and illustrator designing posters, logos and brochures. Later on, I worked on magazine editorial and advertising illustration commissions for clients in Italy, the UK and the USA. My characters have been funky and simple, very technical and based on computer-like geometry.

In the meantime, I was exploring automatic drawing as a technique for relaxation. They were just doodles to me, nothing much. So for the higher aesthetics purpose, I created 3D computer models of these drawings and suddenly became quite well-known for this type of work. It was more than 10 years ago.

I was pushing my drawing skills further every day. Of course, I had graduated from an art academy before, where I undertook the basic figure drawing training. I usually sketched on small sheets of paper, then larger and larger ones. My work was very abstract with some characters, heads, eyes and other figurative elements in it.

Another stage was a pure line work with black markers. These were just strange and funny characters connected by a single line all over the artwork. I used the style in a children’s book too and led a few workshops with kids thanks to the simplicity.

Then I did many more drawings on paper again. Now I realised that the stylisation of my figures was becoming more mature. I also translated some of it into vector illustrations, where every part of the human body was exaggerated. I used new drawings on paper as a starting point for my iPad creations as well.

After many years of doing creative artwork, I started to explore acrylic painting. It was not an easy process, I tested out gouache, oils, watercolours too. Finally, I arrived at a stage, when my art feels ready for people to appreciate it more and more. And it actually works!


Lady in gold

For the first time ever I tried out the gilding technique on canvas with my acrylic painting. It was tough, but I did it! Fortunately, despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, I had a spare small canvas at home (of the 50x60cm size). I sketched a few ideas in pencil on paper first. The final artwork represents a fashion female icon as if seen in a magazine editorial of a famous brand. Some elements such as the eyes and the gold leaf itself might remind Klimt’s artwork, but the signature drawing and figure stylisation are unique. I used metal gold leaf, it is not the genuine gold. Below are some sketches from the initial stage, which I usually draw on a smaller paper. This way I can achieve a nice detail of the linework as well as tweak the composition.

Prvý krát som si vyskúšala techniku zlátenia na plátno s mojou akrylovou maľbou. Bolo to ťažké, ale zvládla som to. Našťastie, napriek kríze s pandémiou COVID-19, našla som doma čisté plátno vo formáte 50x60cm. Naskicovala som si niekoľko nápadov ceruzkou na papier. Výsledné dielo reprezentuje módnu ženskú ikonu akoby sme ju videli v časopiseckej prezentácii slávnej značky. Niektoré elementy, ako oči alebo zlaté plátky samotné môžu pripomínať Klimtove diela, ale osobitá kresba a štylizácia figúry sú úplne unikátne. Použila som metalové zlaté plátky, čiže nejedná sa o pravé zlato. Nižšie je zopár skíc mojich nápadov, ktoré obvykle kreslím na menší papier. Takto sa dá dosiahnuť pekný detail v linke, aj vyladiť kompozícia.


The Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic Award

I feel very honoured to announce that I became a laureate of the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic Award 2019! I was awarded for the long-term international presentation of Slovak visual arts abroad. Other ten artists from all backgrounds of professional arts have been recognized by this prestigious prize including the amazing opera singer Titusz Tobisz and the principal ballet dancer from Vienna State Opera, Nina Polakova. I would like to thank the Minister of Culture, Ľubica Laššáková and the jury, that made this decision.

Cítim sa veľmi poctená, že môžem oznámiť, že som sa stala laureátkou Ceny ministerky kultúry Slovenskej Republiky za rok 2019. Bola som ocenená za dlhoročnú prezentáciu slovenského výtvarného umenia v zahraničí. Medzi ocenenými z rôznych oblastí profesionálneho umenia sú napríklad úžasný operný spevák Titusz Tobisz a baletná sólistka Viedenskej štátnej opery, Nina Poláková. Ďakujem pani ministerke kultúry, Ľubici Laššákovej a tiež komisii, ktorá rozhodovala.


Collecting Japanese Art Awards

This post is a little flashback to the past when I was collecting awards and diplomas from the Japanese organisations for my computer graphics and illustrations. I wanted to find out more information on it for some special professional occasions. I discovered, that two diplomas I received from Toray DCA, were signed by the most prominent digital artist in Japan, Yoichiro Kawaguchi. A number of times he presented his work at the SIGGRAPH conferences in the US. His work in robotics was also mentioned in a video on the web site of the BBC. The other award and trophy I received were from Hirosaki City mayor. He granted it to me during the group exhibition of DIDO - Digital Discovery Illustrators Organisation. DIDO was founded by the illustrator and teacher Marty M. Ito.

Tento príspevok je krátkym návratom do minulosti, keď som zbierala ocenenia a diplomy od japonských organizácií za počítačovú grafiku a ilustrácie. Chcela som zistiť o tom viac informácií kvôli aktuálnym profesionálnym príležitostiam. A tak som objavila, že dva diplomy, ktoré som dostala v súťaži Toray DCA boli podpísané najprominentnejším digitálnym umelcom v Japonsku, Yoichirom Kawaguchim. Predstavil sa niekoľko krát na prestížnych amerických konferenciách SIGGRAPH. Jeho práca v robotike bola tiež spomenutá vo videu na stránkach britskej televízie BBC. Ďalšiu cenu a trofej som získala od starostu mesta Hirosaki, ktorá bola udelená pri príležitosti kolektívnej výstavy s DIDO - Digital Illustrators Discovery Organisation. DIDO založil ilustrátor a učiteľ Marty M. Ito.


Artfacts Performance Award

I received an award certificate from a Berlin-based company running the online artist database Artfacts.net. My global artist ranking advanced 125 % in 2019. The highest rank I earned in my art career was number 9242 in 2000. The numbers are calculated from the evaluation algorithm of my exhibitions added to the system in comparison to other approximately 600k artists on the web site. You can see my full profile here.

Dostala som certifikát od Berlínskej firmy, ktorá prevádzkuje databázu svetových umelcov Artfacts.net. Moje globálne umiestnenie v rebríčku sa v roku 2019 posunulo nahor o 125 %. Najvyššie umiestnenie v kariére som dosiahla v roku 2000, bola som na priečke 9242. Tieto čísla sú vypočítané z hodnotiaceho algoritmu na základe mojich výstav v systéme v porovnaní s ostatnými, približne 600 tisíc, umelcami na tejto stránke. Môj celý profil si môžete pozrieť tu.


My noble life story until today

I spent many years living with my parents in the Bratislava city centre, in a large flat of one of the oldest Art Nouveau buildings. Both of my parents worked for national newspapers and I literally felt like being raised in a very noble manner. This starting point of my life gave me the confidence to be a helping hand to my peers. With a basic internet knowledge of the old days, I built a community forum for them online. I even organised competitions for young artists and animators with some publicity and sponsors.

When I moved to England between 2006 and 2010, I was suddenly celebrated as an artist-illustrator when I won a nation-wide talent competition organised by Channel 4 television called 4Talent Awards. As a direct result, I was invited to the Royal Society of Arts Fellowship in London. This shifted my life completely, I was part of luxurious events at different historic landmarks of London. I got to attend the same events as many representatives of British or foreign nobility. To name a few, it was a private view of Rubens and Brueghel exhibition at the Buckingham Palace Gallery, networking meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and many more. Princess Royal introduced the President’s lecture at the RSA House and I was honoured to be there too.

Later, while still living in London, I supported illustrators from Slovakia and the Czech Republic and helped them to find projects abroad, so we made a contribution to international publishing. I brought and presented a selection of Slovakian animated shorts to a festival in France and flew to Western Australia to give a lecture about computer art.

However, in 2011, I had to come back to Slovakia. I lived and worked in a beautiful house in the Western Slovakia countryside. It became a time of some intense introspection and family life. I did not wish to lose my connections to the UK, so I began volunteering as the RSA Connector. I promoted the RSA in Slovakia and nominated a number of interesting personalities from Slovakia, France and the UK to the Fellowship successfully.

I was also sitting at the board of the Slovak Art Forum (Umelecká beseda slovenská) in Bratislava for two years. The office of this visual arts society was in the premises of Matica Slovenská in Bratislava, the Slovak cultural and historical organisation. It was quite interesting to see all the pictures of the famous Slovakian leaders from the past such as Ľudovít Štúr hanging on the wall behind me.

When my children’s books got published between 2016-18 I delivered a number of creative workshops for children in libraries and schools across Slovakia. I always had a passion for sharing my work experience in the arts, so I also gave lectures at universities.

In the end, I realised that I only followed my ancestors legacy, despite knowing so little about them. My great grandmother spoke French and played the piano and my great grandfather served the tsar’s family. Their son, my grandfather studied in Vienna but his heart was attracted by the land in Slovakia and he put his roots down here.

Unconsciously or not, I build upon the work of my family members. I am still curious and open to new chances that my exceptional life brings me. So do not hesitate to get in touch if you wish to propose a collaboration, project, art commission or so. I will always be happy to respond.


Exhibition of Parky Life project in London

On the 14th of November 2019, there was an exhibition of the illustrations from the project Parky Life in the building of the agency Havas (The HKX Building, 3 Pancras Square, London). There is my illustration on the easel (left) near the other illustration created by the most recognised young Swedish illustrator living in London, Alva Skog. Yay!

14. novembra 2019 sa v budove agentúry Havas v Londýne (The HKX Building, 3 Pancras Square) konala výstava ilustrácií k projektu Parky Life. Moja ilustrácia je (vľavo) na stojane hneď vedľa najoceňovanejšej mladej švédskej ilustrátorky žijúcej v Londýne, Alvy Skog.


The Art of Hate comics anthology

My work, a short comics of 4 pages, has been published in an international comics anthology The Art of Hate. The book was compiled by the London based publisher, Centrala. I created a short story with an ecological theme for this purpose. There is less than 40 authors from all around the world in the book.

Moja práca, krátky štvorstranový komiks, bola publikovaná v medzinárodnej komiksovej antológii Umenie nenávisti. Kniha bola skompilovaná Londýnskym vydavateľstvom Centrala. Vytvorila som krátky príbeh s ekologickou témou na tento účel. V knihe sa nachádza menej ako 40 autorov z celého sveta.


Autorka knihy Moje malé more ocenená v Brancacciovom paláci v Ríme

Autorka detskej knihy s ekologickou problematikou Moje malé more, ilustrátorka a grafická dizajnérka Petra Štefanková si osobne prevzala v Brancacciovom paláci v Ríme medzinárodné ocenenie za výtvarnú tvorbu. Táto cena je podľa talianskych organizátorov, teoretikov výtvarného umenia, Francesca a Salvatorea Russo, ocenením jej talentu a kreativity a spája sa s podujatím venovaným ikonickej osobnosti Michelangela Buonarroti. Dielo Petry Štefankovej, nazvané Dáma so psom (čiernobiela akrylová maľba a kresba na plátne, formát 100 x 100 cm), bolo pri tejto príležitosti publikované v súbornom katalógu ocenených autorov a tiež v časopise Art International Contemporary Magazine.

Petra Štefanková sa vo svojej tvorbe venuje časopiseckej a knižnej ilustrácii pre dospelých aj deti, voľnej kresbe a maľbe, ale aj počítačovej grafike a grafickému dizajnu. Spolupracovala so slovenskými i zahraničnými vydavateľstvami kníh, novín a časopisov ako napríklad The Guardian, The Economist a Slovart. Podielala sa tiež na tvorbe animovaných titulkov pre Hollywoodsky hraný film Nanny McPhee 2 (Kúzelná opatrovateľka 2) ako dizajnérka v spolupráci s Londýnskym štúdiom VooDooDog. Jej ďalšie diela môžete aktuálne vidieť na dvoch autorských výstavách v knižnici Mestského centra kultúry v Malackách do 30. augusta 2019 pod názvom Tajná komnata a v Preventívnom centre onkologického ústavu sv. Alžbety v Bratislave pod názvom Prechádzky rozprávkami do 6. septembra 2019.

Fotografie z Brancacciovho paláci v Ríme si môžete pozrieť tu.


Photos from Brancaccio Palace in Rome

In July I did a photo session with an internationally recognised Italian photographer, Carlo Gianferro (winner of the World Press Photo Award for portrait) at Brancaccio Palace in Rome.

V júli som si dala urobiť sériu fotografií medzinárodne uznávaným talianskym fotografom Carlom Gianferrom (víťaz svetovej novinárskej ceny za portrét) v Brancacciovom paláci v Ríme. 

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

Petra Štefanková in Rome

About the venue: Brancaccio Palace is the last Roman Patrician Palace built in 1880 in the heart of the eternal city, Rome. Located on Colle Oppio, near Emperor Nero’s, “Domus Aurea” and the seven hills, between Colosseum and the famous Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Princess Mary Elizabeth Field, the American wife of Salvatore Brancaccio, gave parties here also in honour of the King Umberto of Savoy.

O paláci: Brancacciov palác je posledný Rímsky patricijský palác postavený v roku 1880 v srdci večného mesta, Rím. Nachádza sa na Colle Oppio, blízko Domus Aurea cisára Nera a siedmych kopcov, medzi Koloseom a slávnou Bazilikou sv. Márie Maggiore. Americká princezná Mary Elizabeth Field, manželka Salvatorea Brancaccia, tu robievala oslavy tiež ako poctu kráľovi Umbertovi Savojskému.




Book in the library of Artium Museum

Did you know, that my profile and artworks were included in a book written by Steven Withrow and Jack Harris ’Vector Graphics and Illustration: A Master Class in Digital Image-making’ published in the UK by Rotovision in 2008? It was even translated to the Spanish language and published by Promopress in Barcelona in 2010. Moreover, it is now listed in the library catalogue of the famous Artium Museum in Spain! Direct link to the library catalogue entry here.

According to Wikipedia, the Artium Museum holds works by the most famous artists, including Joseph BeuysJake and Dinos ChapmanSalvador DalíJoan MiróPablo Picasso and others.


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