The Mythic Tribes and Wondrous Hands of Illustrator: Nadia Turner

Druantia and Ava

When I first saw the beautiful drawing of ‘Druantia and Ava,’ I was stopped in my tracks. I had heard about the druid goddess Druantia but had never seen her ‘made flesh’. I love it when an artist can make a story real for you & how wonderful to discover that the talented illustrator, Nadia Turner, lives right here in Melbourne. 

Fire King
Nadia: 
‘I have been drawing and creating for pretty much as long as I can remember, always very happy to just sit with pencil and paper in my hand. When asked when I was a child what I wanted to do when I grew up it was always ‘I want to be an artist!”  So I’m very grateful that’s how it’s turned out.

I don’t think I really realized until I started studying illustration that I’ve always been an ‘illustrator’ in that it was always the story and narrative that I was interested in. Of course it’s the characters themselves that make these stories enticing. As a kid I was always to be found drawing pictures of characters from fairytales – Cinderella, the little mermaid, sleeping beauty (most definitely influenced by Disney like so many other little girls!) And I still adore fairytales and stories for children – much more likely to find me in the kid’s realm of the bookstore than the adult section!  I was, and still am, fascinated by the exotic and otherworldly and I love costume and how what someone wears can tell a story in itself.

Mythology and magic have been a constant source of inspiration but most especially I’m intrigued by this idea of urban fantasy-that magic is only a step away, just a footstep through the veil and into the spirit world – a couple of my favourite authors like Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman explore this idea a lot in their books – this notion that the gods and creatures from mythology could be walking around with us, even perhaps in everyday, human form.  And those creatures of fantasy don’t just exist in fantastical otherworlds but also in our own, just out of sight, glimpsed in the corner of our eye or just around that corner….
Wind and Sea

“He was conscious of any number of bodachs and spirits, shadowmen and border folk, faerie and ghosts, all going about their business. They were under the trees behind him and up in the boughs of those same oaks. They wandered along the streets, keeping to the shadows. They slept in gardens, poked through dumpsters. They scurried about in the sewers and alleyways, crept along rooftops or along windowsills, peering into people’s apartments”.


– Charles de Lint, excerpt from “Spirits in the Wires”

After all these myths and legends must come from some central truth far back in history, surely?!

I love that sense of mystery – when you see a fascinating looking person walk by in the street or find an amazing old forgotten sepia photograph – I love to wonder about who these people really are, what their story is – maybe old trickster coyote is running around in human form or that woman wandering through the spring markets is really Kore ….come back from the underworld for a while to remember what it’s like to be among humans again….

So that’s an idea I like to explore in my art. Often I don’t start a painting or a sketch with an idea of what or who it is I’m about to draw, the title or meaning often comes to me afterward.  While it might be loosely based on a myth or a character from a story, I don’t want this to be set in stone. The story is up to the viewer to imagine.  Often all I know is a name and not necessarily a story to go with the face…. After all, personally I believe that good art should strike a chord with the viewer and you shouldn’t have to know the full story of what and how and when it was created in order to understand it or ‘get’ something out of it.

I just hope my art entices people to use their imaginations and helps them to remember that the world can be a magical place!
Drabarni
To look more at Nadia’s illustrations & creations (and you really must) please go to: www.waywardharper.com. You can also purchase original drawings and hand-painted oak brooches from Nadia’s shop. Thank you so much for sharing Nadia.