The QA: Eda Kaban

By Peggy Roalf   Monday February 13, 2017

Q: Originally from Izmir, Turkey what are some of your favorite things about living and working in the Bay Area?

A: I was born and raised in Turkey, then I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and just moved to Oakland this past year. San Francisco’s fast-pace life style became exhausting so we moved to Oakland for a more diverse, creative, and quieter environment. I have a cozy studio space in our house and I love watching the Oakland Hills and being surrounded by greenery. I love the small town and community feeling in our neighborhood, and being at a walking distance to hiking trails. I’m still close enough to a big city and all the wonders it offers but I don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of it anymore. Oakland has brought great balance to my work and life.



Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: Not in a traditional sense. I do have lots of tiny teeny sketchbooks, notebooks, piles of post-it notes and scrapes of paper… It’s a chaos and it’s all filled with ideas, stick-figure thumbnails, notes, and to-do lists. The balance between analog and digital depends on the timeline of the project or the deadline pressure. If the time frame is tight, I tend to jump right in to the digital and I use my tablet for almost every step, from thumbnail to final. If it’s a picture book or a personal project, when I have more time to finalize the work, I allow myself spend more time sketching and exploring.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My kittens! My studio would be too boring without them nibbling on my pen and chasing the cursor. Also my calendar. Without it, nothing would get done on time.



Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: When I resolve all the visual problems I have initially, when the story feels right and works as a whole with all the nuances it needs to come to life, when I feel excited about the piece. Or when the deadline arrives. 

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: Deadlines and work load keep me on my tippy toes and push me to stay focused, efficient and organized. It’s hard for me to switch off from work so it’s also good to be efficient with time to have some time off in the evenings and on the weekends with my husband.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: Lucky Luke, Asterix, Tintin, Matilda, Little Prince, The Hobbit… It’s too hard to pick one! I was buried deep in books growing up. 



Q: What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: I can’t live without my Wacom tablet! If I must choose a non-digital medium, I say gouache forever.

Q: If you could spend an entire day away from work and deadlines, what would you do and where?

A: I’d climb and go wild in a desert and would watch the sunset with a cold beer in my hand.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: Mary Blair’s gouache paintings and mid-century modern design.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Bread and butter. My husband’s homemade pasta. And wine. Lots of wine. Really good wine. Baklava and Turkish coffee to finish.



Eda Kaban was born and raised in Turkey with a great passion for drawing, reading, and monkey bars. She ventured off to the States to study illustration and she now calls Oakland home. She is represented by Shannon Associates and works as a freelance illustrator creating children's books, as well as advertising and editorial illustration. She has worked with clients such as Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Chronicle Books, Macmillan, Lufthansa Airlines, Mattel, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and The Village Voice among others. Her illustrations have been recognized by Society of Illustrators, Creative Quarterly and 3x3. When she is not drawing, you can find her climbing some rocks, or biking the hills of the Bay Area.  
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