(She/Her) • London, England
Rahana Dariah is a London based digital illustrator. Her illustrations are mainly a narrative of black and brown people, full of colour and world building. Rahana's illustrations are inspired by her environment and personal relationships. She loves illustrating people in her urban illustration style.Read more
Facebook, planned parenthood, Tampax, Tate BritainRead more
Rahana Dariah in the Spotlight
An interview with
Can you recall the first time you realised you were going to be an illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
I’ve always loved drawing and I knew I wanted to be an artist from an early age. At first I was really into fashion illustration but when I studied art I was exposed to so much in the art world that I grew to love everything about illustration in other areas. I loved the magic of telling stories through my illustrations.
Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
Oh my! Well when I was young I would copy things in magazines I liked and I also watched a tonne of Art Attack which is a British children’s art show that came on tv everyday. Also they really encouraged me to draw at school! Every week we would get homework and they gave us a poem to illustrate, i cant tell you how excited i was to do that. I just really loved being creative and seeing my visions down on paper.
Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
Unfortunately I don’t have my really early work. The furthest I could remember is drawing Barbie dolls with usually a beach or field background with the sun right in the corner with sunglasses haha.
Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
I remember there was a time in my life where I wanted to be a vet because I really loved animals, that didn’t last very long and I quickly switched back to wanting to be an artist, it was then I knew It’s what I always wanted to do and I’m all about making myself happy, drawing makes me happy and when I learnt that you can make it a career! Well! It was a done deal.
Did you study art in school?
I did! I’ve always had art class in school. When I knew for certain I wanted to become an illustrator I did an art foundation course for a year and then studied at Cambridge School of Art with a BA (Hons) in Illustration which really opened my eyes to the illustration industry.
Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas?
My inspiration comes from life experiences, things I’ve seen and my Interests. A lot of the time my impulse is music and film or coming back home from an outing. All my excitement and curiosity is expressed through my art.
How would you describe the process of creating art?
For me… Creating art starts off with a memory or wanting to draw something incredibly pretty. I get this urge to draw! an urge to see how this memory or person would look Illustrated. Sometimes it doesn’t always turn out how I want in the beginning, but my motto is to just draw it!
No matter how wonky it looks I just keep going to I see what I had visioned in my head.
Do you have a favourite artist? What is it about that artist’s work you like?
I definitely have my favourites but recently I’ve been loving Harmonia Rosales work. It’s very magical and her paintings are reminiscent of the renaissance period.
If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
I’m a huge music lover! I know I would be doing something in music if I wasn’t an illustrator.
Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
Omg my first art supplies was a huge art set. I went through so many because It would last only for a couple months as everything would go missing! Usually it would start with the black marker then everything else would follow haha!
Do you have a favourite artist supply, a favourite method, or favourite location, where you like to create artwork?
I love working digitally on the Procreate app. When i want to take a break from digital illustration I love to use gouache, watercolours and markers.
I really try to experiment with as much mediums as possible.
If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
Because growing up there was a lack of representation in art and animation. I draw mainly people of African descent.
Illustrating the future
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