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4 page interview with Ural Akyüz in Female Magazine.

Female Magazine Cover with Ural Akyuz

In the world of art with Ural Akyuz. All about art, stories and artist.
I received a valuable message from the editor of a publishing house from Turkey when I was living in the Maryland, USA. Mrs. Gonca was writing to me that she wanted to spare a few pages in the next issue of their Female magazines. I answered positively and we started work. I would like to thank to her and her publisher for their close interest and appreciation. They also prepared an introductory text about me that even I read with curiosity. Thank you very much.

Ural Akyuz interview pages at Female magazine

Texts from the Magazine:

"Imagine that you were born into a fairy tale and this fairy tale continues throughout your life... Frighten your evil enemies with your sword, save the huge city, or go through the magic door to the wonderland... The voicing of mountains that scare with their majesty... Creating a magical life with the formula you prepared with magic mixtures... Ural Akyüz; he is an artist who built his life on the edge of colorful fairy tales, made his house out of cotton candy or pumpkin, and lived with all the heroes. In his middle school years, he takes the pen in his hand and starts a fairy-tale drawings... He dreams of stories, and as these stories move through his mind, he turns into a director who controls them and a painter who makes them permanent. Over time, all these dreams become integrated with art and reach the mental perspective that he discovered at a young age."
Reportage: Gonca Dokuyucu - Female Magazine

We reached the master illustrator Ural Akyüz, who has achieved many international successes and gifted colorful stories to all hearts, especially children, who wander in the world of fairy tales, and we chose magical snapshots from the colorful scale of art!..

We follow you closely with your artistic works that always anticipate production, but we do not know your life story that is the source of all this. Can you share with us?

The next morning, as my grandfather told me, a huge jinn came to him from the Ural Mountains and appeared with a loud noise. My grandfather was really scared and started to tremble. Even when he was telling my father what happened in the morning, he was still shaking and pale ... My grandfather showed his body and there were still rashes in the places where the Jin touched. I was born the same day; They named my name Ural. On the same day, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and the next day, humanity landed on the moon. Maybe I was born that day because I didn't want to miss the incident ... My life story started like this.

In which city were you born? Where did your life story take shape?

I was born in Izmit in 1969. Actually, there is nothing very different from everyone else in my life story. When I started secondary school, I came across a coincidence that would shape my life. My friend was a painter's brother. And he was as dreamy as I was. Together, we decided to draw comics on white papers and sell them in the classroom in the first grade of middle school. Finally, we drew our comics, copied them with carbon paper; but we couldn't sell it ... All our copies were lost for no reason. In those years, we started to send our drawings to the reader pages of children's magazines. Not a single picture of me was printed for 6 months. But I kept sending them from the post office as if they were all going to be printed. Finally, Semih Balcıoğlu first printed a cartoon of mine. I must be around 12-13 years old. When I took the magazine from the bookstore and saw my cartoon there, I jumped on my bike and pedaled home at full speed. Then his back started to come, of course. Almost every week I got one picture published.

This job must have accelerated your success and purpose...

When this was not enough, I went to the doors of all publishing houses we know and started asking for work related to painting. The secretaries were looking at who this child first. Soon it happened and I got a job in local newspapers. At that time, the two friends started drawing vignettes for newspapers and selling them for real money. I think we were middle school students. At the same time, we drew and sold a 40-page comic book with my friend to another local newspaper. We both had good imaginations. The newspaper published this comic without any corrections. Actually, I had seen these events before in my dreams. My dream was so detailed that we did not even have an address for the newspaper. When we were going there for the first time, I found the address of the newspaper by remembering my dream. The newspaper was in another city and we were going there for the first time. This is also a true story that cannot be explained...

When did your writing experience begin?

I had writing essays that started with comics during my High School years. For example, at that time, as a specialist in art, I started writing articles for a magazine in Sweden.
At that time, no internet, there were no computers, even faxes and telephones as they are today. The fact that a high school student in Izmit finds a magazine in Stockholm and starts to write articles on it, and the fact that the magazine is constantly on the tagline does not seem much different to me in terms of credibility than kissing the mermaid's hand and taking candy. But I wrote articles, and they were also on the cover from time to time and they were published. Perhaps the impossibilities forced the people of that period to act. In the same period, I was working as a graphic designer in an advertising agency in Izmit during the summer break. I think this has made me give a little bit easier about my future.

Well graphic...

After high school, I started Marmara University Fine Arts Faculty Graphic Department. After that, it's not very childish anymore. At that time, I had the opportunity to work with large publishing houses in Istanbul. For a while, I prepared covers for comic books known to everyone and started painting for monthly magazines. In time, I can say that there are almost no publishing houses or advertising agencies that I have not worked or interviewed. I've always worked with more than one location. For example, while I was going to work during the day, I painted illustrations, covers or children's books at home in the evening. My life was very busy until I immigrated to America in 2003. For example, in January 2003, I was working in five jobs at the same time. While working as an art director at a publishing house in Maslak, I was creating the multimedia section of an outside advertising agency. In the evening, I was going somewhere else for the ads of another publishing house, and when I got home, I was designing the website of the municipality one evening and the next evening I was struggling with the children's book series waiting for hundreds of pictures in my hand. I was also looking for ways to find a publishing house in the USA. It was a sleepless and tiring period. But when I came to the USA, I had no job. And for the first time in my life, I rested for 15 days. But 15 days later I got a job and I'm still resting there. In fact, I can not say I'm working environment after working in Turkey.

Do you remember the first day you started using your imagination? What kind of work was it?

I guess, when my mother asked who poured this water here by being angry, I said that the cat came from outside, she poured it. It must be something like this to appear first. I can say that I lived in a real fantasy world when I was young. In those years, I asked my father for a children's magazine, and he went and bought an art magazine by mistake. I remember he came back later and asked me 'if you want, I'll buy you this magazine, but isn't it a bit heavy for you? I can say that reading a lot at those ages helped me a lot in my imagination ... For example, I could tell my elementary school friends that I kissed the hand of the beautiful mermaid when I went to class during the daytime while I was at home reading Erich Kastner's Braggart Baron in the evening. Then I would add a little bit of it and say, "He gave me sugar too." They didn't believe it, but they were asking questions. I remember I answering them using my fantasy world. It was easier to give irrational answers. It was much easier then to say "I flew out, I have a hidden flying fairy, but invisible to you" rather than finding a logical explanation for how you climbed the top of the 50-storey building in 1 minute. I remember that I did this not to lie, but to have everyone listen to the story I was telling. Other children loved these expressions too...

Didn't this master mind, who made up fairy tale heroes, behave as if living in a fairy tale world?

During these years, I also had my efforts to make potions that would create a super human by mixing all the spices in the house from time to time. I can't tell, they tasted disgusting. Thank God we got through that period without being poisoned...

I am sure that the colorfulness in your professional career adds variety to the color scale of your private life.

My professional life and private life are almost harmoniously intertwined. Considering that my wife also drew something, there is no problem with that. Can you tell me another profession that can show you two sunsets at the same time? When I was little, I was very bored with financial difficulties. For example, I could not buy the best quality paint. I had to save money. Considering that even now some monochromatic paints sometimes cost $ 70, then how do you get it? Untalented people who bought the compressor we call airbrush started to paint soft and vivid pictures. And people mistakenly thought they were talented just by looking at how they passed out colors. Airbrushes were not less than $ 1500 at the time. And as a high school student, I didn't have that much money. With these thoughts in my mind, I said I would make a science fiction comic.

You start drawing and writing fairy tales at the same time, right?

Actually, I've never really written fairy tales. I saw writing fairy tales as part of drawing. For example, if I wanted to go to fine arts at university, I had to finish high school. Like that. If I wanted to have a children's book as I wanted, I had to write the things I illustrated myself. But still, I've always painted other people's stories. There were some things that I prepared myself, but ninety-nine percent of them only illustrated other’s story professionally. So I am not a writer, I only write when necessary. Except for comics. If you mean the plots of the comics yes, they started around the same time as painting.

What kind of fairy tale world do you have?

I used to tell stories to children when I was little. I was instantly making up a new tale. Even I often wondered about the end while telling. For this reason, I continue to talk a lot after they slept... I currently live in America and my English grammar is not good enough. But my future plans include illustrating the children's books I have written myself here. I am currently working on science fiction and fantasy rather than children's books.

Do you remember the first tale you wrote? Did you share this tale with publishers?

As I said, I am not a real writer. But as an amateur, I wrote tales that were only written in my childhood. Even the first was quite thick. I was 6 years old and it was a novel that I wrote about 60 pages long. An older friend of mine told me about self-publishing in the present sense. He said you can print it out if you pay money. I sat down and wrote the novel. I can say that I was very impressed by Robert M. Ballantyne's novel Coral Island. But my writing was lost during the move. I showed my mother where I hid my novel, it was a huge high closet, we searched but could not find it.

You start illustrating and your first illustration is published in a music magazine. How old were you when you started this work?

My first professional illustration work was published as a full-page Shakin 'Stevens poster in 1984, when I was just 14 years old. Shakin 'Stevens was a famous pop star who resembled Elvis Presley at the time.

To what extent does comedy affect your drawings?

I can say that there is almost no comedy in my drawings. From time to time I drew some cartoons for humor magazines. I even prepared comics for major humor magazines. But it didn't continue. The picture weighed more. I also made cartoon-style coloring books for children. Three of them are still for sale. If there are funny things in the story I read, I put it in my illustrations. But if the story is a drama, there is either no place for comedy or there is a place at the very beginning.

Let's talk about the education you get...

I graduated from Marmara University Fine Arts Department Graphic Arts Department in 1991. But the school did not end there, it continues in every moment of life.

It is known that writing and illustrating a children's book is always more difficult than creating other categories and requires more collective work. How do you reach the perception of the newly developing children?

In fact, I prepared the children's books mostly with the contribution of my wife Gülçim. We had to do a lot of illustrations and time was often short. We have established a very good working environment with Gülçim. Gülçim actually has an incredible talent. I cannot forget the day she made her first painting. She took the pencils and paints in her hands and produced a professional result in her first picture that many have achieved for many years. So if you are a rival, she is someone to be afraid of. We divided work together in order to work fast. Whoever did what was slow, he transferred that part to another. Later we started adapting some well-known fairy tales. Once, our work was the subject of one of TRT2's children's programs.

It seems that the success of your spouse in this field has led you to new successful works in the same parallel...

My wife's pedagogical knowledge about children is really good. She shows us the red or green lights when necessary. In addition, I also did a production manager for a short time even in children's publishing children's books in Turkey have worked quite over. We discussed the philosophy of the business a lot in professional settings. In addition to these, I also worked as an art teacher for a year in secondary school.

I am sure you will not be able to give the number of newspapers and magazines in which your work has been published, but you can share your awards with us...

I have not been participating in contests for awards for a long time. But recently, Akbank "Turkey's Innovative Power" three-dimensional human figures here for the campaign to be used in web game I've prepared. The website of this campaign was among the candidates for this year's crystal apple awards. The magazine that I was the Art Director of was chosen as the best product of the year for several years in a row. I guess the same product received several awards from the Informatics Association. We had a game called Galata. I had prepared the graphics. But it was chosen as the best game of the year. A children's book for which I painted cover illustrations and interior illustrations won TRT's 25th year children's play book award. Other than these I get an award with my Ataturk paintings from Turkish Petroleum Corporations. I also have personal awards in the painting contests of Kocaeli Chamber of Industry on Old Houses.

You have worked in many distinguished companies. You can easily say in which fields you are an expert?

I can say that I gained expertise in illustration, painting, graphic design, art director, multimedia, web design, publishing, advertising, 3D design and modeling, animation. I worked as an Art Director and Graphic Designer for many years in advertising. But it is a very tiring job for me. The stress of the customers is terrible. But I am also considered an expert in advertising. I cannot deny that the work discipline and strategy development tactics I gained from advertising helped me in every aspect of my life. Publishing is also my favorite pastime. I did two years as Creative Director at one of Turkey's largest publishing house. Actually this was much more exhausting, but it did not cause any discomfort as there was no customer stress. We worked with very good illustrators and photographers, we were full of artists and writers all around us. I can say that it was my environment. I counted one of the Multimedia business first started in Turkey. I worked as a Multimedia department manager or Art Director in many companies. It is an extremely enjoyable occupation. Most importantly, if you are not involved in illustration, the staff at your disposal. If your colleagues are talented and able to devote themselves to their work, it is possible and enjoyable to produce everything easily. In a way, you team up. A badly functioning public affects everyone. Therefore, you are always connected to each other. But the illustration is different. You are independent there like everyone else. No one holding you back, go as long as you can.

You settled in America in 2003 and you are a simulation designer and a 3D designer. Could you tell us a little bit about your work in this field?

3D programs actually offer us a great opportunity of expression. I am building a new virtual place from the very beginning. I place all the materials I prepared in 3D in this space. This place can sometimes be a city or a small room. I put cameras wherever I want. I work in detail enough to be able to place cameras inside a computer or even inside the barrel of a firing gun if I want. Then I start modeling people and dressing them in bones so they move. I prepare everything that will show you whatever you want unlimitedly in a virtual environment on the computer.

You have accomplished significant work in your areas of expertise, and this success continues to attract the attention of authors, major publishers and organizations, right?

Most importantly for me, I also established my own company a year ago. Thus, after working hours, I do illustration works for publishing houses in America. A week ago, I had a new book cover design approved by a publishing house I just met here. The writers and publisher really liked it. Their admiration is actually the best award for me. Apart from that, I have prepared painting for some magazines in New York City. The author of the last story they gave me her story was a very famous person. When the publisher gave me this job, they especially stated that the author was a big name and I was the best illustrator they had. When I researched, I saw the following in the writer's works: Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Aladdin, Predator, The Tenth Planet... This approach of the publishers to me is always more valuable to me than an award.

You have achieved success in many areas ... You have designed the web, did graphic design, worked in the fields of 3D and illustration ... So which one did you enjoy the most?

My favorite area is illustrations. I am on my own and immense limitless. But I'm far from the real success I have dreamed of.

What is the most important thing to inspire you while producing?

Concentration is very important, I shouldn't think of anything else. Another important thing is how free I am. If I'm not free, if I'm just following someone's opinion, then there's no quality or inspiration. One of the most important things that binds me to my seat while producing is my dreaming. It wouldn't be bad if there was some light music that I like...