“I love spending hours in the art shop, feeling the surfaces of different paper and making connections with all information that I carry with me about the project,” says Lina Kusaite, whose meticulous botanical illustrations range from book pages to expansive wall murals. Mostly focusing on commissions for clients like publishers and hospitality venues, the Brussels-based artist has a knack for collaborating with other designers to determine the scale and scope of an installation or a series of drawings. “I always choose projects that speak to me (and) in one or other way resonate with my point of view, philosophy, and it challenges me,” she says.
Kusaite begins by hand-drawing on paper, focusing on the lines and textures of different materials like graphite and ink. “I choose paper and pencil or watercolors—or both—based on the research and information gathered in the beginning of the process,” she says. “I start testing different combination, colors, lines. After having enough tests on paper, I scan everything and transfer it into Photoshop, where I start playing with digital tools.” Sometimes, one initial drawing can produce hundreds of versions resulting from experiments with color and style, which often spawn new ideas and techniques for future projects.
Flora features heavily in Kusaite’s practice, forming a basis for commissions that can vary greatly. “Coffee Plant,” for example, straightforwardly depicts the life cycle of the coffee cherry, while the “Lotus Land” pieces, which accompany piano music inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” required a bit more research. “I spend hours online and in the books, researching different materials that helps me to first learn about the subject, (whether) it be about just plant illustration or storytelling or both,” she says.
From handmade drawing to digital edits, Kusaite’s illustrations are often translated into other handcrafted materials like ceramic tiles or textiles, and she enjoys seeing the work return to an analog presentation. Recently, she designed an extensive wall mural for the Xitan Hotel in Beijing. She says, “Most of my botanical drawings for the Xitan Hotel project started as hand-drawn, then it went through a digital process, and came out as a fully handmade, 21-meter-long lobby wall embodied into vitreous enamel, or also called porcelain enamel technique. Some works are embroidered by hand.”
Kusaite is currently preparing a large project for the Georgia World Congress Center and adjacent Signia by Hilton hotel in downtown Atlanta. She is also working on designs for the Tazama African Tarot deck and a children’s book scheduled for publication in 2025. Find more on Behance.
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