Dreaming Dark in Pastel Light: The Illustrations of Lolle
It is the goal of most artists to develop a recognizable style, so that people who stumble upon their work will say, “Oh, this must be from so-and-so!” If that’s the mark of success in illustration, Lolle has leapt over it and sailed beyond. Living in a small medieval city in the center of Italy, Lolle (artist Lorenza’s nickname, sometimes spelled “LOLL3”) is carving out a cozy home for herself in the illustration world, and filling it with pastel-colored dreams that are definitively her own. She won our darkling hearts with her renditions of creepy queens Wednesday Addams and Lydia Deetz, and continues to sweep us away with her original characters.
Her illustrations are executed with an almost childlike style: strong black lines, stylized and oddly proportioned features, pastel colors. The choices she makes while creating her pieces are far from immature, though. Her composition is nuanced; her linework is flowing and precise. Admirers of her work can watch the speed-drawing videos she posts on her social media, and marvel at her lack of hesitation when putting ink to paper. Every move is filled with intent. Her pieces are brought to life with watercolor, her favorite medium. “Watercolors allow me to reach the most unique color shades, and they better represent my pastel color vision of the world,” she says. The juxtaposition of playful colors and forms with more edgy subject matter like tattoos and poison bottles make Lolle’s work delightfully off-kilter, just like the artist herself.
“I’m in love with everything related to art and creativity,” Lolle says. “Visual art, illustration, comics, independent fashion, books, movies, retro games, handicraft, toy design…” Paging through her work, you can see the influences at play: the color schemes echo those seen in 1980s toys like My Little Ponies, the linework has a distinctly comic book feel, and the characters’ clothing would blend right in to a darkling fashion Tumblr. “My work is basically the reproduction of all my passions, so I draw inspiration from the things I love most… Mostly from pop culture [and] street fashion, but also from kitschy movies and odd music.” You can see many of her inspirations on her public Pinterest boards, which are flooded with gorgeous fashion, makeup, art, and of course cats.
Everywhere you look, there’s more detail. Lolle’s backgrounds are often just as textured as her subjects, leaving your eye drawn to the remaining flat spaces– the curve of a chin, or the shine on onyx hair. If there were ever a time to use a phrase like “visual feast,” this might be it. Falling in love? You can peruse the art section of Lolle’s Tumblr, and then head to Etsy to request a print of your favorite piece.
Much of Lolle’s early work was what she calls “spooky and creepy babes,” with drawings like “Strange and Unusual,” which she counts as one of her favorite pieces. In her interview with Dear Darkling, she spoke of a family trip she took to a medieval stronghold that was used as a set for the movie Ladyhawke. “That trip [was] absolutely magical, and it gave me the inspiration to create my painting,” she said. The character has a strong retro vibe, and the piece is almost monochromatic, but with pops of bubble gum pink that keep it looking modern. By contrast, Lolle’s other favorite piece, “Prom Queen,” is a riot of 1980s pastel, but the character’s modern dress, tattoos, and gorgeous teal hair with matching brows make her feel thoroughly contemporary. Of “Prom Queen,” Lolle says, “[It] was one of the first paintings I made in my new apartment. It marked the beginning of a new stage of my life and a new ‘evolution’ of my art style… the ‘Prom Queen’ has been my first pop piece… a little bit different from the others I’ve made before.” On her Tumblr, Lolle pairs the two pieces together, saying, “It’s pretty strange how they look so similar and different at the same time!”
After many years of working in illustration, Lolle turned her talents to hand embroidery. “My parents were artisans, so they always encouraged me towards handmade philosophy (DIY or die!),” she says. “I learned needlecraft and embroidery little by little, making something for myself at first and now creating unique items for my shop.” Her embroidery follows the line of her illustration style, literally: the strong, crisp stitches could be ink marks on paper. The patches and felt brooches available in her Etsy shop would be perfect additions to any witchy babe’s collection.
We hope that Lolle continues to nurture her peculiar vision of the world, which she describes as “a messy and pinky room populated by furry monsters, bizarre plushies, spooky dolls, cats, stylish babes, cosmic mermaids, pastel unicorns, colorful toys, ghost stories, flying bats, fairytales, striking clothes, pop culture, candies, cakes, dreamlike movies, fantasy books, and more.” She hopes so, too. “What I wish for myself is to never stop improving my skills and to be able to enlarge my ‘business.’ I really hope to keep making magical creations able to charm people!” No worries there, darling. We can’t imagine feeling any other way.
You can follow Lolle on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and can purchase her prints, patches, brooches, and other magic through her Etsy, or pick up t-shirts, phone cases, mugs and other spooky swag via Society6, Redbubble, or TeePublic.
Featured image courtesy of Lolle.