Slovenia-based illustrator Vivian Mineker creates charming, atmospheric illustrations that visualize colorful, imaginary scenes. From adventures through fantasy forests to close encounters with spirit animal friends, each dreamlike artwork looks like it’s straight out of a storybook.
“I have been drawing since I can remember, really,” Mineker tells My Modern Met. “I’ve always been the quiet kid in the corner drawing, it’s been my escape and outlet all my life, and it’s the one thing that I know I’d like to do for as long as I can.” Each whimsical scene is rendered using watercolor and colored pencil, before being digitally refined. The beautiful results boast a blend of traditional texture with a vibrant, modern aesthetic.
Mineker finds inspiration all around her, but she’s especially influenced by the surrounding nature of her own neighborhood. “I take walks with my dog everyday and it’s sort of my time to look around and absorb the environment and let myself be inspired by my surroundings,” she reveals. “I think that’s why my illustrations are so heavily influenced by where I live, and the season I’m in.” Many of her works feature imaginary characters, such as friendly-looking ghosts and even giant purple fish. In one piece, one of the human characters seems to hover in mid-air, visualizing a childhood wish for many—the ability to fly!
Like many artists and illustrators, Mineker often finds herself scrolling through Instagram where it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of amazing art. “[I’m] constantly trying to dig myself out of the inspirational rabbit hole that I fall into. There are so many talents and unbelievably creative people out there!” However, it’s the work of others that has helped Mineker find her own style. Through imitating her favorite artists, she was able to try every style and medium she was drawn to. She explains, “After all the experiments and experiences, a style sort of just emerged, and it is a culmination of everything I’ve done up to that point.”
When we asked Mineker what advice she’d give to aspiring illustrators, she said, “I’d say not to put too much pressure on having to find a style right away, but just let it naturally emerge, because it will come after keeping at it for a while. Just be patient and don’t give up.”
You can find more of Minekar’s whimsical illustrations on Instagram.