Welcome to the wonderfully colourful world of Daniela Dahf Henríquez, a Chile based illustrator who fills her days with beautiful drawings of bears in sweaters, chattering birds and deer in floral crowns...
What started out as a hobbie for Daniela soon turned into something much bigger. "People began contacting me to buy pictures or to order jobs, or to invite me to participate in projects." Since she started illustrating full time in 2011 Daniela has worked with various brands and publications like L'affiche Moderne of Paris, Teelocker from Hong Kong, Pappa Issue blog and Frankie magazine.
We caught up with Daniela to find out more about what inspires her illustrations...
What is your background?
I have no artistic training; the truth is that I studied Pedagogy with a major in History and Geography at the University of the city where I live. That was for 5 years, until I decided that it was not what I really liked.
Since 2009, I have been dedicated to drawing, at first as a hobby. I started publishing my artwork on my Flickr page without much expectation but to share what I liked to do. At first, my artwork was quite simple; it just had clean lines without much colour, but over time I learned a lot on my own and by observing; I think that's fundamental.
Thanks to the Internet, I have met many illustrators of various styles that I admire for the quality of their work. I really like the work of Lieke van der Vorst (Liekeland), Katt Frankk, Lizzie Stewart, Michelle Morin, Yoshitomo Nara, Sarah Burwash, Marcela Quiroz, Antonio Soares (who makes fashion illustration), Felicita Sala, and Carson Ellis among many others. Perhaps in the near future I would like to study something related to illustration to improve my work.
What do you love most about what you do?
I think it is to able to do what I really like, having put a career on hold to devote my time to what really makes me happy, the feeling of freedom which this job gives me. Through my drawings I have been able to relate to people in other countries, and I’m able to express the things that happen to me, work from home, while being quiet and letting my mind create!
What inspires your artwork?
I am inspired by animals, fashion, nature, people close to me, the situations of everyday life, music, an image that for me looks pretty nice, delicacy, simplicity, soft colours.
You work a lot in pencil, is this your favourite medium to work with?
I love working with watercolours and pencils, I think they give a distinction to what an artist does, more dedication, the picture looks different. I use some fairly inexpensive, not very professional material, even so I love it.
I do not utilise too many digital techniques, but recently I began painting with photoshop, which I actually use the least, I much prefer using pencil. All my work is handmade, then if necessary, scanned, retouched in Photoshop, cleaned, adjusted, etc. to then post it on my Flickr, Pinterest or Instagram pages.
If you were a kid in Chile, where is the first place you'd go?
I’ve always loved the beach. My city is not located on the coast, so I think if I was a child, I would love going there since it would mean something totally new for me!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always liked to draw, since my early years. I loved drawing houses and people. I used to fill notebooks with houses in perspective. I even designed small cardboard models. I wanted to be an architect or a designer. By accident, I ended up studying something very different.
If you were to design a hat for a cat to wear to tea party what would it look like?
You can find some of Daniela's beautiful prints available for purchase at The Gathered Store.