Elena Pancorbo

What Women Think

08/19/2019 · By Rosario Fernández
Elena Pancorbo’s universe is made up of intense gazes, delicate women, apparently fragile despite their strong, well defined, tattooed bodies. © Elena Pancorbo

With over 100.000 followers on Instagram and near 25.000 on Facebook, her fans discovered Elena Pancorbo’s art in the virtual realm. Publishing houses including Planeta, Penguin Random House, and Anaya have given it visibility in the real world.

She defines herself as “a girl who draws since she can remember and who is lucky enough to devote herself professionally to what she likes most.” Elena Pancorbo (Jaén, 1990) acknowledges she didn’t decide to become an illustrator. Rather, it was illustration itself that found her. “I never intended to become a professional, I was just doing what I liked until one day I was totally immersed in it.”

The reaction and the interest stirred by her work encouraged her to go on with it, turning what in principle was a mere hobby into her livelihood. Social networks had a lot to do with it, but also publishing houses such as Planeta, Penguin Random House, and Anaya, which discovered her in the virtual world and gave it visibility in the real one. Something similar to what happened to other female illustrators like Mercedes Bellido and Paula Bonet. According to the Jaén-born artist, illustration is going through a really good phase in Spain. “Publishing houses and brands are quite committed to this discipline. They demand our work more and more to lend their projects an artistic vision”.

The artist has found in drawing a way to express herself, to tell stories, to communicate without the need of words. “This is my whole world, a world that allows me to express myself.” Women are the main characters in Elena Pancorbo’s particular world. They are beautiful and sweet, full of feelings and memories past, present and yet to come. Their gaze is intense and unhesitant. They’re delicate and seemingly fragile despite their strong, well-shaped, tattooed bodies. “I like many other artistic disciplines,” she says. “Honestly, I’m really drawn to the world of tattoos, but, as with everything else, it takes time and dedication and right now things are going great for me and I don’t want to get side-tracked.”

Going back to her drawing style, close to hyperrealism, Elena tried different techniques both when she was studying –she got a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Granada and has broad training in comic and illustration— and afterwards. “I think learning techniques is essential.” Using pastel sticks allows her to work fast and deliver the characteristic sheer of her drawings. If she wants more definition, she complements with coloured pencils. “I like realism, but with a creative touch,” she adds.

Although the female figure is so far her hallmark, she has also drawn men. But what inspires Elena Pancorbo? "Lately, I listen to my feelings. I used to draw inspiration from cinema, poetry and music, but with time I realized these disciplines are just there to push you to talk and express what’s within you.”

"Drawing is my whole world, a world that allows me to express myself.”

Elena doesn’t lack inspiration nor work. She’s currently doing very well, "finishing some covers and illustrations for publishing houses and working on two personal projects that take time and perseverance." She no longer has time to think what her life would have been like if she had done something other than drawing. “Who knows! Honestly, I’m not really interested in what I would be doing now. I like to think I’m in the right place.”