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Interview with ALIZ BUZÁS, graphic designer of ANTS pattern

We recently had a chat with Aliz Buzás, a Budapest based illustrator, who designed the pattern for YKRA Kids' latest collection: ANTS.

Aliz is a big fan of vehicles, cartoons and children's books, but she's not keen on making wedding invitations. Her work varies from illustrating articles for international magazines, creating posters about Budapest's districts, making a book about iconic public transport vehicles with her husband, designing posters for her favourite Budapest cafes and restaurants during the lockdown to help them, and hiding miniature drawings on the streets of Budapest in her spare time.

We sat down to talk with Aliz (and her dog, Rozi) at their home, where her daughter has a special wall reserved for drawing on. (Every child's dream!)

Tell us about yourself!

I'm an illustrator. I studied at MOME, but I did all sorts of things during university. I worked as a typesetter in a print shop, and then I took a year off between my BA and MA to work full-time as a graphic designer for a startup. But I realized that I wasn't interested in logo design, so I let it go.
I really love illustration, it's very diverse, and every job is different.

When did you start drawing, and what's your first memory of it?

I love cartoons and storybooks. One of my earliest memories is watching a VHS tape of a cartoon and stopping it to copy the screen. I had to rewind it every time, and sometimes I accidentally recorded something else on the tape. I did things like that.

What type of work or commission do you enjoy?

I'm always interested in what I'm working on at the moment.
I really love cars and all kinds of vehicles. For example, I specifically designed the train poster on that wall for this apartment, it's like the space is opening up (the picture reflects the train tracks near their home).

I'm always working on some personal project, such as the book my husband and I made in 2016 about Budapest's iconic public transport vehicles "Köszöntjük kedves utasainkat!" (published privately in a limited edition of 1000 copies). It was a big success, it got a lot of coverage, and we sold out of all copies in two months, but we sold it from our living room, which we would never do again. :)

My good friend, Gábor Bazsó “Karotta” (from Totalcar Magazine) and I have been planning to collaborate for a while now, and we're currently designing car-themed T-shirts and items, which is a very exciting project.

Do you work on several things at once?

Yes, I usually work on 2-3 projects simultaneously, depending on their size. Since our child was born, unexpected illnesses can disrupt this, but I no longer accept jobs with tight deadlines.

Do you still illustrate for magazines?

Yes, but not for domestic ones anymore, now I mainly do it for foreign ones, such as: The Washington Post, Culture Trip, Facebook.

How do you get commissioned for work?

Most people find me through my portfolio on Behance, but I also work with two agencies - one in London and one in Vienna. I always have my own projects going on, which tend to generate a lot of interest.

Have you designed patterns before?

For example, for socks, yes, but not something like what I did for YKRA. It was a new learning experience for me, the technique itself. As I was looking at the lookbook images of the finished products, the pattern looks as if it were a camouflage and while not intentional, I think that looks really good. 

How did you approach the pattern? How do you usually start a design project and how do you like to work?

We came up with the theme together (with YKRA), and the world of ants was inspiring and appealing from the start. I looked at the structure of an ant colony, how it’s  segmented, based on photos.

Basically I create a draft for the client, that we discuss, and then simplify it. I usually create 2 directions and we either choose one or merge them, and move in that direction. It's always different, every job is different. The technique and themes vary as well.

Recently, I've been drawing directly on an iPad because it's much faster (with a child around), but I still draw sketches in a notebook for myself. I started the tiny-sketch series because I really miss drawing on paper or in a notebook. It's a completely different texture and everything.

What are you working on now?

Illustrating a children's book has always been a dream of mine, and now it might finally come true. (Aliz is currently working on illustrating a children's book on an animal theme for an English publisher.)

Do you have any memories related to the ants?

Yes, I remember that there was wall-to-wall carpeting at home when I was a child, and as the sun shone, dust particles would fly, and I would lie on the floor, and the ants would come, I would watch them as they struggled to get through to where they were going.


Get to know more about Aliz's work:


Check out the ANTS collection here!

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