Home » Anna G. Sola: “To create Mara, I was inspired by Cristina, one of my best friends”
Mara Turing, Noa y Daniel

Anna G. Sola: “To create Mara, I was inspired by Cristina, one of my best friends”

The day I discovered Anna G. Sola, she was denouncing an injustice on Twitter. Someone had asked her to work for free, basically, and had disguised it as an opportunity. The solidarity that occasionally appears on that social network —in the form of retweets— helped me discover her thanks to the echo her complaint had. Paradoxes of fate, the lack of scruples of that heartless person gave me the opportunity to delve into her work and… Eureka!

Something in my head told me that Anna had what it takes to create Mara Turing. I took a look at her drawings and it seemed to me that there was a freshness and that “something” in them that told me that our writer-illustrator relationship could work.

She herself makes it clear: “Defining my art in a specific style has always been difficult for me since I tend to change according to my interests and personal events. I’ve always liked to experiment with anime, comics, and detailed illustration.”

Experimenting” is a word I love. Much of my professional life is based on it.

I wrote her the following via private message:

Hello 🙂
I’m writing a book and I like the type of illustration you do.
Could you accept to do some sketches (with me paying, of course) when the story is more advanced?
Let me know if you do this type of work. My initial idea is that each chapter (there are 20) carries some illustration, although that idea is yet to be defined.
Thank you very much 🙂
Best regards

She replied very kindly, and we agreed to talk again. Just in case, I had specified that part about “with me paying, of course” 🙂
A month later, I sent her what she had requested, and we started working.

“Not having a fixed style makes it infinitely easier for me to adapt to what they ask of me. For Mara and her friends, they asked me for a more cartoonish style than the one I was using at that time. I tried to draw the designs without losing that childish essence they required, but that were suitable for the book and the characters,” says Anna.

We soon began to exchange sketches. From the beginning, I fell in love with little Mara… so small that she had to be “aged” a little in the final phase of the book. But that was my fault, as Anna had perfectly fulfilled everything she had been asked for. The main image illustrating this article is precisely the one that corresponds to the appearance the characters had in the initial phase. I felt it was wrong for that drawing, so beautiful, to remain hidden. Below these lines, the first sketch I received. I admit it was love at first sight… and that’s even though I hadn’t seen her grow yet!

Mara Turing initial drafts
One of the early drawings, in raw form. Mara Turing was too young for her age in the book (illustration: Anna G. Sola)

Cristina, the inspiration

The genesis of the protagonist as an illustrated character originates from a friend of Anna’s: “For Mara, I was inspired by one of my best friends named Cristina, they are almost the same age and have the same personality (hence the inspiration).” As agreed in the previous conversations, Mara had to be a girl with an informal aesthetic, which also led to the choice of colors that would ultimately define her clothing. “The colors we chose for Mara’s palette are very much in line with the casual design of the clothes,” adds Anna.

The same process was repeated with Noa and Daniel. “I was clear that one of them would have darker skin than Mara, betting on character diversity. I tried to make the color palettes harmonize among them, and it worked,” comments the illustrator on the tones that define the inseparable friends of the young protagonist.

line drawing Mara turing
Final appearance of the cover illustration before adding color (illustration: Anna G. Sola)

Regarding the overall balance of the work, Anna assures that she enjoyed working on the three characters, “since despite having many similarities between them, they also have characteristic traits that make them look very different from each other… Without a doubt, it was a pleasure contributing to making the book a reality,” concludes Anna.

Personally, I am delighted with Mara and her friends’ final look. I think Anna found the perfect image for the characters and, most importantly: as one progresses through the book, one can insert her images into each scene without them clashing at all. On the contrary, Mara, Noa, and Daniel are perfectly defined in Arnold’s garage, walking around New York, or in the classroom of their school in Liverpool.

If this is so, it is largely thanks to Anna’s work, with whom I hope to count on in the next adventures and, of course, in the rest of the elements that will make up the universe of Mara Turing.

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