Nabila or K027 is a talented artist who lives in Semarang, Central Java, in Indonesia. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication Designs. Currently, Nabila does freelance work while keep improving her skills and a character that she created – Maquire.
Maquire was inspired by the game that Nabila used to play. “Maquire is a passion project of mine, she is my original character drawn in anime-style with bold colors, completed with a sassy and wild personality. She uses her platform to encourage one’s originality and to be confident to be a rebel of society'”, Nabila explains.
I enjoyed learning about creative thinking, process, and motivation behind Maquire and about Nabila herself. I admire the passion, the drive, and the honesty that Nabila has! There is a sort of mystique, something that makes you say “wow, this is so cool” and I can’t wait to see Maquire and Nabila grow and achieve all their goals and dreams. Maquire may not be “real” but her intentions and actions are! Read this raw interview with Nabila to learn more about Maquire, Nabila’s art and process, and future goals.
I don’t take inspiration from weed. I consume sugar, rock music and oxygen instead
What was the game that inspired you to CREATE Maquire and when were you like “Ok, I actually want to keep WORKING ON this character”?
I am the type of person that rarely plays the games but once I know a good one, it’s hard for me to stop! Dragon Nest is an MMORPG that I hold dear in my heart. It started when a new type of character class was introduced (a Maquina/Machina) and since Dragon Nest allowed you to custom your own character, I made one!
Usually, I make my game characters look meek and fragile, so that time I decided to try something different. I immediately chose cat-like eyes as her main look because I like the sharp and menacing feel. But then I was stuck on her ears. When I randomly tried on some “ears”, the bunny one took my attention because it made the character look tall. The contrast image between fragile (the bunny ears) and badass (the cat eyes) is something exciting and unusual for me.
Maquire is a very unique character and I can feel your passion in the way she is described. Are there any parts of you in her and would you like to have some traits of hers?
Despite having a character that is bold and straightforward, I am actually more reserved in terms of manners and way of talking. She and I share one indisputable trait – the constant rebellion. We like to rebel through things that we don’t like but we also love to make a movement that motivates and inspires people to grow and power through with us. For example, if there is a person that feels their art is not good enough and no one wants to help them, Maquire and I will sit and talk with them so they can recognize their worth and move forward even though we are the strangers to each other!
I would definitely like to have her her bravery to speak up. The bravery to tell the world how she feels.
Are Bunny EARS a symbol for something or is it JUST HOMAGE to the game?
I was inspired by the game at first, but one of the main reasons I like to keep Maquire as a bunny-eared girl is because bunny ears are big and long so they caught attention easily. It’s suitable for Maquire that has a confident personality and isn’t afraid to show off. What’s more, bunnies are usually associated with “timid and weak” which is a common stereotype for females. Maquire is someone that breaks that stereotype! You can say she is some kind of a feminist symbol.
What are your relations with Maquire LIKE?
So I was like…her mom?? Maybe if this was a comic, I was the first person approaching her stray-ass and letting her stay at my home. I am also that one reliable friend with that bro-kind of relationship. Her energy fits me very much that I enjoy pouring out all my creativity through her. She suits both as a style & fashion icon and an empowerment figure! I think it’s safe to say that she helps me to grow both as an artist and a human being.
Would you be interested to make an anime based on Maquire?
Woah…that never crossed my mind! I was fixated at making her a brand character but it would be fun if she’d had an anime! If she got her own anime, I would like her story to be something that empowers people.
Tell us more about your creative process.
Creative process is essential for me as an artist and graphic designer. When I was still in the university, I took an internship where I was taught design thinking. It helped me a lot, especially against artblocks! Before I start drawing something conceptual, I would always make a mind map that finds the sweet spot between Maquire’s brand essence and the topics I would like to bring up.
For example, I want to make an artwork for Christmas but I don’t want to use the Santa Claus theme because it is just way too basic (or Maquire just hates Santa Claus). I also want to make a Christmas artwork that has a badass vibe more than the festive vibe. I gather words that have a correlation with three things: Maquire’s brand, stuff that a rebel would use, and Christmas stuff (besides Santa Claus).
Here are the words I managed to bring up:
The creative process begins here. What would I get if I’d combine a candy cane with a metal pipe? What if you turn the snow shape into explosions? Can I use cocoa as her hair shade or clothes? The options are endless!
This process may seem too troublesome for most artists because most of us, yeah even me, prefer to just wing it or they don’t know that this way of thinking exists. But this method really helps me overcome art blocks! Define your problem, gather some reference and information, and let your creativity flow! In case you really have an art block, you can always go back to your notes and have even weirder and cooler ideas…
PS: if you exchange the words for visuals and arrange them, you will get yourself a mood board! Mood board can help you setting the visual aesthetics, like what tone of color would be the best, etc.
I tried to make artwork based on the things that happened recently but sometimes it’s better to let my hands and brain just run free over the canvas.
What are your creative challenges? And what are your challenges when you work on Maquire’s character and development?
I still struggle with how to speak like Maquire on social media! I want to roleplay as Maquire on Instagram but I struggle at finding suitable words. It has to be harsh, sarcastic, or straightforward but not in a way that automatically annoys people.
DO you have any favorite artists or someone you look up to?
My dream of having my own illustration brand sparked when I saw a brand named Minmie which has a Harajuku style design. It was back when I was still in elementary school.
Then I fell head over heels with Emily The Strange that has goth/punk-rock style. She made me crazy with all kinds of black cat stuff haha!
Nowadays some brands that I look up to are Valfre (which is close to what I envisioned), Tokidoki, Esther Bunny, and Aggretsuko. For idols that became the base of Maquire’s spirit, I love listening to Little Mix and Lady Gaga’s songs!
Do you plan to develop the character further, for example, MAquire traveling, having relationships, making new friends?
I would like to make a comic to expand her universe. A short one like 4-koma so people could get a deeper understanding of her personality. For future relationships, I already have a character in mind but I think it’s not the time yet.
What’s next for you and Maquire? What are your big dreams and what are your goals in regards to Maquire?
My next big dream is definitely to start developing products for her brand! This year I aim to succeed in introducing Maquire to the world and get to know more amazing artists. It’s a challenge but I am willing to strive for it.
Do you ever feel disconnected from the character and your art?
Sometimes yes. Being a rebel means a lot of work and sometimes I need to disconnect and cool down for a while in order to gain motivation and creative sparks.
Are you planning to develop another character or is Maquire the only one?
Right now it’s only Maquire in mind because she fits both my style and dreams. Finding & making a character that really suits your taste and vision is hard! But I am open to any possibilities…
Any advice or words of inspiration for beginner artists?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This is definitely one of the cheesiest things people say but trust me it still tastes good. No diamond would be formed without harsh hits. Mistakes taught you a lesson. Learning makes you grow.
Dare to start small and sudden. Post that picture you thought sucks. If it doesn’t get recognition, don’t throw it away but archive it as an experience instead. Someday you will look back at that picture and be grateful for who you are now.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for reading until this point! I hope you are getting inspired. You can see more of my works on Instagram @maquiremqr where I always post works and communicate with people. My current platform is still small so share, and follow would help me very much! You can also support me on Ko-fi (USD) or Trakteer (IDR/Rupiah).
Also, thank you Diana @nai_daily for helping me proofread!
Psst..if you want to get yourself a bold style anime artwork that screams rebel and badass for yourself or a brand, hit me up on firstname.lastname@example.org 😀 I also open for collabs. Stay cool and stay safe!
Thank you, Nabila for making art for WTZ! And thank you for taking the time to answer the questions with so many details. I admire your creativity and drive. I hope our readers enjoyed your story as much as I did!