Diana Naneva aka Functional Neighbor is an illustrator, a freelance comic book artist. Born in Varna, she often paints and writes on the move, with a constant change of location. Romantic to pain. Draws inspiration from personal experiences and pure emotions, environment, environment and human relationships.
We were able to talk to her before she left for her next destination, to a new country, a new idea, to tell us about the projects she had worked on in recent years, about Jan Bibyan, the comics and the artist's journey.
You are the author of the illustrations for the new edition of the Yellin-Pelin novel Jan Bibyan. How and when did you start working on them?
The project is on the initiative and with the support of Elin Ivanov - grandson of Elin Pelin and his close friend - Ivaylo Spasov. They contacted me during the summer of 2018 while on a trip to China. The moment I returned to Bulgaria, we started work on the publication. The idea was to have it ready for Christmas. I spent the fall fully immersed in the book and working on illustrations.
What was your guiding principle? How did she go? What was your text pointing at?
It was my first time working on a children's book, and I always showed interest and desire. So far, I've illustrated adult stories, stories, poetry and comics, and it was out of my comfort zone. What directed me in the text was the emotion and feeling it left in me, but it also applies to every text or script I illustrated.
Jan Bibian / Cinnamon
Do you follow previous issues or do you follow the idea of the team, the publisher, your vision?
Before I started working on illustrations, it was interesting for me to search and browse old and foreign editions of the book, but we stuck to the idea of a new and different look at the edition. The vision for the illustrations and the attitude to the story of Jan Bibyan were my own.
Most recently, the poet Aksinia Mihaylova received the prestigious French award "Max Jacob" with her book "The Kiss of Time". This is the second prize from France, after the Guillaume Apollinaire Prize in 2014, and the second book written directly in French. The news is ...
Can Yang Bibyan become a comic book? And how could its transformation affect the perceiver?
Yang Bibian has appeared in this form before. His comic adaptation appeared in Rainbow Magazine in 1983 and was painted by artist Rosen Manchev, so it is quite possible. Yang Bibian is a dynamic and event-rich book and is conducive to comic book adaptation. The truth is, I even wished we had more time, as it was very difficult for me to stop at certain points. With more time for action, the publication would have even more illustrations, since every moment of it deserves to be illustrated.
You were doing graphics, painting. You have a particular affinity for the graphic novel that has gained experience in creating comics. What unites them?
The comic book combines a whole range of means of expression. There are no restrictions on the form and style, the materials that can be used. Sometimes it can be a very lonely activity, but in the process you can be a screenwriter, an artist, even an actor.
Use both traditional and digital. Does your preliminary vision, your own or that of your co-author, project or desire predetermine the approach?
Probably a little of everything. The combination of traditional and digital drawing techniques is a convenient approach for me, but quite often I adjust to the text I deal with, but as I answered one of the questions above, I rely primarily on the feeling and attitude that provokes the text in me .
Has your style changed over the years? What is the change, if you find it - the different techniques, approaches, knowledge of schools and artists?
He has always been and has been subject to change. I like to be on the move and even sometimes take longer, looking for new ways, swings and shortcuts to forms and combinations.
In an interview surrounding the release of Escape Season, you mention that along with reading Crime and Punishment, you start to illustrate. Looking back, what in Dostoyevsky's novel contributed to your focus on illustration?
"Crime and Punishment" I read madly in love and fully charged with a mood for all-encompassing empathy. I mention this as an overall condition during this period, so the desire to get into the shoes of even Raskolnikov was interesting and creative.
How did Escape Season come up and what prompted you to include poetry in the comic?
From the love of comics and poetry separately from one another. Both directions are liberating and can be sincere and devoid of vain revelation. It seems to me a long time ago. It was 2014. I was in love (very clearly), but aggressively ambitious, and too extreme. The season was some consolation, it really was an escape.
Last year, you presented in Veliko Turnovo another of your endeavors, in which they once again encounter the painted with the writing - the book "The Year of the Branches". Here, the six lyrical miniatures are written in the images. What is the history of Branch Year? Is it different from Escape Season?
There is a painful revelation in "Escape Season", but the escape is to happiness, and whether its goal has been achieved remains unanswered. There is no loneliness…
Branch Year recognizes her mistakes, her journey into the unknown, her self-awareness and her self-condemnation. He acknowledges the brokenness and the crackiness of it, the bruises and the marks of the blows, in and of themselves. The book is a closed door to a bygone and recent year. She collaborates with Tony Pashova in her work and she writes the miniatures, for which I sincerely thank her. There are not many people I can trust in this sensitivity. I think she understands me and we recognize each other in our things.
Year of branches / cover
You have co-authored other graphic novels, such as Rasputina. How and why do you choose a particular project?
It's always different. I often choose a project based on how my idea works emotionally and whether it charges me. It is very important for me to enjoy the process and enjoy the result accordingly. Communication with the person I work with is also important. Sometimes it is purely practical to choose something, and sometimes I judge whether I have the opportunity to practice styles, expressions and any new things that I am not familiar with and outside the comfort zone.
At the same time you present your works in exhibitions. Why do you think the different forms of presentation are important or necessary?
At exhibitions and all forms of presentation, my favorite is the opportunity and the open door to different levels of communication. The social factor in such an endeavor is decisive. Different people come to one event, get to know each other, see, something happens in and around them, they communicate.
You have participated in many festivals. What kind of involvement helps the artist? Which issue would you like to re-enroll in and why?
Breaking the routine, the opportunity for dating and talking with like-minded people, sharing experiences. But even just going somewhere to have fun can be enough. I would love to go again to Treviso Comic Book Fest as well as another edition of IFCC.
If 2017 was the "year of the branches", what was it like? Should we expect a new comic book or a new book?
The 2018 year was stalled with the new edition of Yan Bibian and the exhibition Ghosts at the GIFTED Gallery in Sofia. I have plans for new projects, some of which are entirely mine, but my deadline is rough. To be honest, a new comic sounds like a great idea to me.
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