Isabell Heutz-Della Vite

The thesis project CUTICULA serves as a pilot for a graphic novel series which is comprised of a variety of different genres. From surrealist dreamscapes and intricate character drama to harrowing body-horror, the story artistically engages with the psychological effects of post-traumatic stress on the author’s mind. The project is not interested in the biographical details of traumatic lived experiences. References to the past are used sporadically to set a framework for a fantastical story that explores the inner workings of a psyche overtaken by identity loss, dissociative episodes, and a distorted sense of once own surroundings.

The story follows Elfchen and their siblings who at first seem to live rather comfortable lives. In exchange they must follow three simple rules: wear what you’ve been given, eat only what’s provided, and never ask questions. However, as time passes, things seem amiss inside the makeshift paradise. The siblings gradually fall apart and the world around them proofs itself to be full of decay and cruelty underneath a façade of luxury.

Isabell Heutz-Della Vite

Hello and thanks for taking the time to look at this very personal project.
My friends call me Easy. Online I'm mostly known as Beau. I started making art relatively late and was lucky enough to have many people that are very dear to me support me in this endeavour. There are lots of different stories I want to tell but CUTICULA hast been the one thing that was constantly on my mind the past 5 years. It's insane to me that I am finally in a position to dedicate myself to this project. Besides making comics I'm also interested in the visual development for all different kinds of story telling.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Creating lots of fun stories and comics. I would also love to work on collaborative stories with other artists.

What is a good design for you?

Something that is well thought out and tightly executed while still being dynamic. Generally something that makes the passion behind it visible from the get go.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Trying to not working myself up over my own artistic shortcomings.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm going to be cliche and say everything because I can't pin point one single thing.

How do you approach a new project?

I brainstorm by sketching out everything that excites me about the idea. Then I just scrap what doesn't work and further build on the aspects I think work well. From there on I simply draw, draw and draw some more.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

Don't stress about the things you feel you're not good enough to do yet. Do them anyways.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

I got way more confident in my own abilities. Thanks to some of my profs who didn't give up on pushing me to my limits.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

When I realized how much reading comics meant to me, I also wanted to be able to create stories like that. When I was looking into possibilities to seriously hone my skills, I found the UE website. I fell in love with the idea of of getting a look into different aspects of Illustration. Seeing the curriculum, I felt this program was the right thing for me.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

Everything related to organization was a nightmare. I hope the students that come after me will have an easier time.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

By finally playing some Bloodborne again and going on many long walks in the woods with my friends.

Timon Kersten