From Meta Wraber with Love

A passionate illustrator and designer who understands tradition and loves the contemporary

Meta's drawings (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Close your eyes and try to imagine walking on clouds. Is it soft, ethereal, unworldly, extremely satisfying? Is it relaxing and uplifting at the same time?

That is exactly what you might feel when you take in Meta Wraber’s illustrations.

Meta's sketches (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Maybe it is the saturated, juicy colours that hug your brain and elevate the serotonin levels.

Maybe it is the watercolour technique – soft on the spilled side, sharp on the edges. 

Meta Wraber (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

But most definitely Meta’s illustrations are a direct depiction and the greatest representation of her curious, self-assured, and zesty personality. 

Meta Wraber cleaning her brush (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Her work seems tremendously effortless. However, a lot of thought, imagination, time and testing is incorporated into seemingly simple lines. 

Only the biggest masters of their art can make the complex appear effortless.

Meta holds phonograph record (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

“Perseverance is one of the key elements of an illustrator's and designer's character,” says Meta. There is no divine intervention in an artist’s work.

More or less, it is knowledge, experience and indispensable intuition. “Sometimes long hours pass before the idea crystalizes and makes sense to me,” she says.

Meta's brushes (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Endurance is a concept well known to Meta. One day, not even 10 years old, she bedazzled her parents. “I decided to draw a choir,” she remembers. 

“Usually, a child would stop after drawing two rows, but I continued. I almost gave up, but eventually I drew countless rows and totally filled an A3 format paper with choir singers.”

Meta's drawings of vegetables (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

When a child realizes what they are capable of, a special door of opportunities opens. With that kind of perseverance, it was easier for Meta to take on colossal tasks. 

Illustrating and designing the centuries old Slovene cookbook and poetry books were only two of them.

Meta's drawing and books (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

What is the most fascinating is that even the simplest objects like an artichoke, a fashionable dress, or even typography feel multi-layered in Meta’s illustrations. No wonder, since she is intensely drawn to complex concepts.  

Meta sketching with black paint (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

But illustrating can be painful or totally effortless. By any means it is not always a very romantic process. In artistry, all emotions and states of mind are necessary, even welcome.

Meta sketching with black paint (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Meta loves subconsciously digging deep into her memory to find an assemblage of people she has met, images she has seen, words she has read and music she has heard in her life. Surely, all this enables her to find a perfect motif and means of execution for a known theme.

Meta draws with red paint (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Sometimes, all that can add up to an instant idea. “Then, I just know what to do, and I know it is going to be great,” she says. “Then, I literally feel alleviated.” 

She gets lost in the moment and breaks free of all the reservations and limitations she might rationally have. She just lets it go. That is when the gems are born.

Group of Meta Wraber illustrations (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

This is exactly what happened with the Goldhorn, the legendary Alpine ibex, the gingerbread hearts, or the Easter eggs she was commissioned to draw for the Google Arts & Culture site. 

Meta's drawings in drawer (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

An immensely complex task of presenting the cultural and artistic identity of Slovenia was completed with excellence. Meta was able to fuse the traditional and the contemporary. 

With colour, unexpected settings and new techniques she freshened up and invigorated well known images from Slovene tradition and culture.

Meta's drawings (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

But for Meta, no way of doing is better or worse. She is just focused on translating abstract ideas into finding her own aesthetic and visual language through commissions and her projects. 

Because one thing is undeniable: whether illustration is merely a decoration or if it is a complex image, it always opens a new story and supports the thought it graces.

Chloe illustration, Meta Wraber, 2021, From the collection of: Slovenian Tourist Board
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Valentiono illustration, Meta Wraber, 2021, From the collection of: Slovenian Tourist Board
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Japka illustration (2021) by Meta WraberSlovenian Tourist Board

Earl Grey Tonic illustration (2021) by Meta WraberSlovenian Tourist Board

Meta's calendar (2021) by Igor ŠkafarSlovenian Tourist Board

Listen to Dušica Kunaver’s magical interpretations of the Slovenian folk tales for which Meta created illustrations.

Credits: Story

🎨Special thanks to: Meta Wraber
📷Photo credits: Igor Škafar


Story by Anja Leskovar

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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