Milan Topalovic

Say hello to Milan Topalovic, a recent graduate with a First in Illustration. We’re pretty jealous of him: ‘I live near Cadbury in Bournville. I’m surrounded by greenery, and the smell of chocolate is always in the air – it’s the perfect setting to sit back and doodle new ideas for stories and characters!’

Milan has lots of hobbies, including going to the cinema and doing lots of exercise. He is also partial to ‘a few cheeky games of Angry Birds’. Only a few? Ha, yeah right!

Read on to discover more about Milan and his work.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I have just finished University (at BCU) and am currently planning to pester publishers with my whimsical work. Before university I did a Foundation Degree in Visual Arts in Bournville, and that is where my portraiture background evolved into the work having a more personal response, eventually leading into picture book illustration. I have a passion for film with dramatic narratives, inspiring my work to be depiced in a cinematic style. I think it is so important to step away from working so I can come back fresher with new thoughts and ideas. In this time I meet new people and recently I have had several stalls selling prints of my work and badges, to get an insight into my audience.

I’ve drawn for years and years and in the last three years have been writing and illustrating my own picture book stories. My characters tend to be delicate little flowers (much like myself) who overcome their fears and troubles with hope and heart. I also develop the characters and use them for greeting card designs, most recently for Valentine’s day.

Clicky pencils are my choice tool for creating work which is topped off with a little dabble in Photoshop to add colour.

I have had editorial work and some short stories published in various Birmingham publications like Spaghetti Junction, Ignite Birmingham, more recently completing some illustrated show pieces for a London Theatre group and work for an Oxford & Cambridge Alumni Book released later his year. I’m currently working towards completing illustrations for a classic old story to be available as an e-book on the Apple Store!

What are your inspirations?

I am inspired by bees, Tim Burton, Regina Spektor, poetical literature like The Book Thief, beautifully melancholy films like Seven Pounds, and Ewan McGregor’s face.

What is your favourite piece of work you have created?

I had never attempted to write a story before, and this was one of the first illustrations I did two years ago for my proposal titled Piano and the Boy. After spending around 40-50 hours on it and drawing the 600th shoot of barley it made me realise I had a passion for telling stories and wanted to do it for many years to come.

Who is your favourite creative in your chosen field?

Ooh that’s a tough one! I am in awe of Illustrator Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. Every single illustration is very detailed and has a beautiful blend of realism and fantasy. The relationship between these two elements can conjure such dramatic and beautiful dream-like imagery and is an approach I love to incorporate in my narratives.

In a time where everybody needs instant satisfaction at their finger tips, to invest five years to tell a story is inspirational and it encourages me not to rush but to enjoy what I do because it is so rewarding at the end.

Visit Milan’s portfolio, and read his blog. Tweet him: @PaperFables.

All images © Milan Topalovic. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.


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