Stellar Leuna: Illustrator: Sydney

“Don’t be scared. Don’t be lazy.”

Name: Stellar Leuna
Occupation: Illustrator
Hometown: Born in Kowloon, Hong Kong and grew up in the northern beaches, Sydney
Currently residing: Marrickville, Sydney

Stellar Leuna is a 23yr old, Sydney based artist/illustrator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong. She is inspired by horror films, children’s books, comics and the Riot Grrrl movement. Her favourite band is L7. After school Stellar studied graphic design in communications but it wasn’t all what she had hoped so once graduating she took time off to work on her personal style. After watching the film ‘Ghost World’ by cartoonist Daniel Clowes her relationship with ink started and her own style started to grow. Stellar likes to draw cool woman, fem fatals, witches all from her imagination. Almost Real hung out with Stellar in her creative space…

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was… Eat breakfast and finished off some commission work

When I was a kid I wanted to be… An artist

The studies I took to get where I am… I started drawing when I was 4 and I was always self-taught. I did some drawing classes for a year in high school where I learnt all the basic foundations of anatomy, light and shadow which made me a lot more disciplined in my approach and style. I used to draw free hand a lot and didn’t care that much about accuracy. I think it’s important to understand the foundations of drawing before you go ahead and try to create your own style. After high school I did a Bachelors Degree of Communications where I majored in graphic design.

I’m inspired by… a bunch of different things but I think the subject of most of my work is derived from my favourite films and music.

I admire… The pre-raphaelites

The tools I can’t live without… Pencil

The instruments I use… (what equipment do you use in your art) I sketch with pencil and transfer it over to another piece of paper with my lightbox where I then ink my artwork.

I’m most creative when I’m… organised. If my mind is cluttered I can’t get any work done

My favourite book… I don’t really have a favourite book because it’s always whatever I last read. I love Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) and I want to read all his books. ‘Horns’ is great and I’m halfway through ‘NOS4R2’.

The website I hang out on the most… Netflix!

I’m currently listening to… L7, Haim, Alvvays

The obstacles that have come my way…balancing time with my day job, commercial work and my personal work. It’s really hard to find the time to do it all and not exhaust myself. I get sick a lot from staying up late but if I don’t I can’t do what I love.

My favourite place in the world… is where ever I last traveled to. I love the states but I also love just being at home.

I would like to travel… to Norway. I’ll be going to Japan for the first time in September.

My travel essentials are… camera and phone

One thing I would like to do but haven’t got around to it yet… paint a mural.

The highlights over the past 12 months have been… My holiday to the States where I went back to LA and New York but also visited Seattle, San Francisco and hiked at Yosemite National Park for the first time. It was probably the most fun I’ve had in my life despite how cold it was.

The latest project I’m working on… An album cover for a Swedish riot grrrl-inspired band and a t-shirt design for a Sydney street wear label.

Advice I have to share for those who want to get into this profession… I get a lot of people who were really good at drawing in high school but gave up to get a “real job” tell me that I’m really “brave” for pursuing a career as an illustrator. I just don’t believe in listening to the people who tell you you won’t make money from being an artist because so far everyone I know who took that risk now do it for a living or have found a way to make it work somehow. Take whatever steps you need to take to make your goals reality – have a shitty retail job if you need to. Just make sure you allocate enough hours every week to draw as much as you can and also find ways you can improve as well. Stranger things have happened in this world and many have succeeded in this field.

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Photographer: Katie Kaars

Interview: Michelle Owen