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Artist of the month - Nicola Dobrowolski

Our August Artist of the month goes to paper illustrator Nicola Dobrowolski whose colourful, dimensional constructions grow out of her love of story-telling.


Nicola Dobrowolski

U.K Hertfordshire


"I have a "2.5 dimensional" approach. I love paper in its simplest two dimensional form, but slicing into it and revealing something behind is so exciting."


Where do you make your paper art?

I have a studio in the attic which is light and airy with a view of tree tops and fields, its bliss! I’m so lucky to have this. When it’s tidy it feels huge, but it doesn’t take long for a project to take over!

How long have you been working with paper?

I’ve been working solely with paper since 2015, but my love for paper started decades before this!

How would you describe your approach to paper art?

I would say I have a "2.5 dimensional" approach. I love paper in its simplest two dimensional form, but slicing into it and revealing something behind is so exciting. Adding a curve to this or a slight bend, or standing it so it supports itself yet still appears to be a simple piece of paper is magic to my brain even after all this time. Recently I was asked to venture into 3D for a commercial project, and although it took a bit of thinking I happily accustomed myself to it. I just love paper, I have an affinity with it.

Where do you find inspiration?

In a strong narrative. I have always loved the saying by Lorinda Mamo, a designer. She puts it perfectly “Every great design begins with an even better story." Having trained as a theatre designer, I’m always beginning my work with a narrative, a play, a story. This is the brief that I work to. Creating something for the sake of it is impossible for me, it just feels pointless. But having a story as the foundation makes anything possible.

Describe your work to us in three words:

Multilayered, detailed, storytelling

What are your favorite papers to work with?

G.F Smith, all day every day. They’re the best I know and I recommend them to everyone!

What tool could you not live without?

Swann Morton scalpel, 10A Blades, Jakar - clear A1 cutting matt, stainless steel ruler, UHU Glue! … that’s pretty much everything!

What is the best thing about working with paper as a medium?

It so quick and clean to work with. I love a crisp sharp edge and paper offers that with one simple slice. And it’s accessible and relatable to everyone. It can take on so many forms and its so tactile… there’s no other medium like it for me. I love it!

Who are your favorite paper artists?

Eiko Ojala - although he isn’t a physical paper artist. Its digital paper. So clever. But it’s his concepts that I feel a strong connection to.

Helen Musselwhite - I have loved her work for many years. I love the symmetry of her some of her nature artworks work - it’s something that I love but could never do, my brain won’t allow it!

Samantha Quinn - I love Sammie’s bold use of colour and geometric patterns. Her style is something that I hugely appreciate but could never do.

So, I love looking at all paper art, but especially appreciate things that I couldn’t envisage creating.

What are you working on at the moment?

Sadly I can’t say, but its the biggest and most poignant project I’ve ever done. All will be published in September. My previous project was a colourful and fruity front cover and magazine details for The Wine Society’s Autumn edition fo 1874. They were fabulous to work with and I’m thrilled with the result. Didn’t get to try the wine though!

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