Despite the minimal approach in Belgian-born Giselle Dekel’s illustrations, she’s still able to translate everyday happenings and feelings such as tiredness or changing clothes into something dreamlike and poignant. “Everything starts with a feeling,” Dekel says of her creative process. “Once I have a clear idea I try to imagine how it would be best translated into an illustration that others might identify with too.”
Now based in Tel Aviv, Dekel says she became an illustrator by accident. She studied textile design and printmaking, but was always painting portraits. “After finishing my studies I tried to find a job as a pattern designer but it was very hard,” Dekel explains. “I ended up working regular jobs until four years ago when I realised I missed art and design too much. By experimenting with different techniques and materials I ended up with illustration and completely fell in love with it.”
It’s the versatility of illustration Dekel enjoys most and the fact it can be applied to so many things and be turned into patterns. Dekel uses watercolours and Photoshop to create her images and she sticks to a colour palette of pastel blues and peaches, with the odd brighter shade sometimes thrown in.
She employs clean lines in most of her works but the details she adds keeps them from looking flat and the paper she uses also helps to provide texture and softness.
The humour Dekel employs in her works keeps them fresh and prevents them drifting into the over-sentimental. She’s often inspired by what makes her laugh, and also introduces surreal touches that elevate even the most mundane household chores.
There’s an intimacy in other images, where hands and feet peek out from duvet covers or in one image where just the legs of someone changing into jogging bottoms have been depicted. All of these elements really help create a sense of being in Dekel’s mind.
Aside from coming up with ideas, Dekel says her main challenge is having her three children coming into her workspace “every three to five minutes”, though it’s easy to see how much her works are influenced by her home life.
Ultimately, Dekel hopes that viewers connect with her work and find “laughter, joy, and a feeling of being seen and understood”.