Romanian-born illustrator and artist, Oana Befort (pronounced Wanna), is the creative mind behind September’s autumn-themed Papergang.
Her illustrations are brought to life with incredible detail and spectacular patterns, often creating ornate designs depicting nature and folk art. Oana’s eloquent and unique style is unmistakable throughout the designs of this month’s box.
Hi Oana, it’s been awhile since we last worked together, but it’s great to be collaborating with you again!
Thank you! I am excited about this new lovely collaboration!
I guess it would be best if we start from the beginning. So, where was it that your love of illustration first stemmed from?
Probably way back when I was able to hold a crayon, haha! I loved art and its many forms ever since I was very young. I sketched a lot, anything that I found interesting at the time using any art supplies I could get my hands on.
In my desire to learn more, I went to an art-focused high school. I have experimented with different mediums and looked into various art fields. I ended up studying graphic design in college, also graduating with a master’s degree in the same area. It’s then when I slowly started incorporating my love for illustration into graphic design projects.
Was being an illustrator/graphic designer something you always wanted to do – how did you get to where you are now?
I have always wanted to have an art-related job, but I never considered I could have a career in illustration up to the point where I started freelancing. I used to work in a large corporation/ad agency for a few years, and I gave up that path when I was expecting my son. Once I started freelancing, my work slowly morphed from graphic design focused projects to illustration projects. At this moment, my love for illustration and graphic design coexist.
From what I’ve seen, your illustrations are beautifully elegant with some striking attention to detail, how do you go about creating these incredibly intricate designs?
Thank you so much! Surprisingly, I prefer minimalism a lot, and I always tend to look at the big picture before getting into any details. In my illustrated work, I think that once I have a clear concept and my composition figured out, I can feel free to add as many details as I want.
Have you always created your illustrations in this sort of style or has it developed over the years?
My work has definitely changed/developed throughout the years. With each year of practice, I am learning new things and I discover what I like creating more, so I am hoping that this way, my style will organically continue to evolve.
It seems like you draw inspiration for your work from all over the place! Where did you get the inspiration for your designs for the Papergang box? Did something come to mind straight away?
The inspiration behind the designs in the Papergang box came from a personal project that I am still working on. It’s a compilation of illustrations that are inspired by garden work and the concept of growth. I wanted to illustrate the beauty that a garden has to offer when it’s being cared for, like luscious florals, and delicious fruits and vegetables.
What’s been your favourite thing to create for this month’s box?
I enjoyed creating the pattern as a whole; it has the versatility to adapt the elements on any lovely paper goods in the box.
Is there any advice you could offer to the aspiring illustrators out there – anything you’d liked to have known before becoming an illustrator yourself?
You have to realise that even if you love what you do, it takes a lot of work! So be prepared to work very, very hard, and do the best you can in the context that you are in, using the resources you have at each given time. Be patient, consistent and work on becoming the best you can become.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Oana!
You can find Oana at the links below:
Facebook: Oana Befort
You can pick up Oana’s beautifully designed box by clicking the button below. Packed full of elegant stationery, Papergang is delivered directly to your door each month. Get yours now and signup to the no. 1 subscription for stationery addicts!