“If there was a style that describes the feelings you get when you see a mirage of an oasis in a desert, it would be my style,” says Julia Petrova in an interview with It’s Nice That. In accordance with this somewhat enigmatic description, the Moscow-based illustrator’s drawings evoke a similarly mysterious mood, as she aims to convey a world that is “strange and suspicious, full of many inexplicable things”.
Using a combination of watercolours, ink and liner, Petrova’s reputation as an up-and-coming illustrator is gaining traction. Her drawings are mainly urban landscapes, made up of buildings, cars, bridges, with only mild references to humans, in the form of a dangling hand, or the back of a head. This absence adds to the ominous undertones of her works, which capture moments immediately before or after something has happened.
In her interview, Petrova admits she enjoys the creative process involved in illustration, “from the moment I see something weird and interesting, up until tracing a finished picture with the liner”. She begins with the colours and the shades (often pyschedelic and tropical), before adding details and textures with pen (often disturbing and graphic).