This week’s ArtDrop was made by the wonderful Arief Putra - a children’s book illustrator who joined the NFT space not too long ago and has been steadily winning fans ever since. We expect great things from Arief over the next few months and are excited to tell you more about him today.
Hey Arief! When and how did you start your art career?
I was actually an architect for 12 years. I always loved drawing as a hobby but never thought I could be a good artist. 4 years ago I bought my first Wacom tablet. I instantly fell in love with digital art and started to take it seriously, trying to learn as much as I could.
When the pandemic came, my architecture studio got hit really hard and had to shut down. By then I was getting better at digital art though. As I was now without a job, I became determined to make art my new career, and a way to provide for my family.
For three whole months, I practiced my art. I built my portfolio from the ground up. After that, I applied to a US-based illustration agency and got accepted. I was fortunate to see my career as a children's book illustrator take off. Fast forward, I have now illustrated over 20 book projects.
Why did you choose to illustrate children's books?
As a father with very young kids, I am surrounded by children's books. I love the rich visual storytelling and the overall positive feeling I get from the artwork in them. I studied a lot of established children's book artists and tried to learn how and why they create their illustrations. I realized that children's illustrations are a lot about storytelling, so I’m also learning how to write good stories to improve my art.
In general, my style comes purely from my preference. I choose to focus only on the thing I like to draw and the things that make me happy.
From children’s books to NFTs: that’s quite a jump. How did you get here?
Outside of working on book projects, I kept on making personal artwork to update my portfolio. I always try to find a way to turn my personal artwork into a productive asset rather than just gathering dust in my folder.
When the NFT craze started I was intrigued. People outside of this space only talked a lot about the money, but that, for me, was not enough reason to jump in. Hence, when I started to learn more about NFTs, I tried to put the number aside and learn about what NFTs actually are about.
To my surprise, there was a whole lot more than the money and the smart contracts. It's about building a community around your artwork and the NFT community, in general, is very active, warm and vibrant. That was enough reason for me to join this tech frontier and stick around. I’m glad I did!
Some people told me to adjust my style to fit the market. But I'm not here for the quick buck, I believe in my own work and staying true to myself. I believe that, with time, people who genuinely love my art will gather and they will believe in my work as I do.