Questions & Answers
This week I got an email from an art student from the UK about my work and, because many of you ask me the same questions, I though it would be fun to answer them here on the blog.
Who/What are you inspired by?
Well, inspiration for me mostly comes from the daily things around me. Kitchen supplies, my neighborhood, the pots and plants in my home and everyday frustrations and booboo's.
How did you start working in your particular style?
It has all been a slowly changing process. It took practice, lots of work, sketches and try-outs + a few years. I tried a lot of different materials and techniques and eventualy found my personal preferences and style.
Why did you start creating these particular comfort boxes?
This is a bit of a personal story... I went through a rough break up back in 2010 and felt I needed something to me me feel good about myself again, a little reminder I could look at whenever I felt like it. At that same time I discovered Uppercase Magazine and they had a theme about match box art. Since a few years I had a love for panorama boxes and made a few large scale boxes.
I combined the panorama-idea with the matchboxes and came up with the Instant Comfort Pocket Box: the perfect little treasure I could pull out of my pocket and cheer me up with a comforting and cheering quote and illustration.*
Friends and family loved to boxes (I made a few, about 5) too and told me I should start selling them I already had a 'buyers-account' on Etsy so the step to start an online shop there was easy to make. Since then, I'm sending boxes all over the world!
How long does it take you to create a finished piece?
That depends on what piece you mean. Initially one box took me about half an hour, but now I make aprox 10 in one hour (and have others making them for me too as I can't keep up with it by myself anymore).
For illustrations: a A4 size full color illustration takes me about 6-10 hours.
Are the subjects within the boxes illustrated from real people?
No, I make them up, I like to see what character comes up when I just start drawing without someone in mind. I do sometimes let our pet rabbit have his moment of fame in my illustrations and might -unintentionally- put a little bit of someone I know into the drawing. They say every artist puts something of him/herself in his/her work, maybe that's true too...
What allowed you to come up with the idea of the boxes?
Personal life... see the question above ;-)
Do you have any meaning behind your comfort boxes?
My work is always about bringing joy and happiness. It's not something I plan on purpose, it just happens when I start creating. I've had people telling me my drawings make them happy and that is just the best thing to hear!
I'm not such a big do-gooder in a big global kind of way but I do love to see and share a little love in small things. And small things can grow big!
What media do you use?
I draw everything by hand, mostly with a fineliner, pencil or black ink. The drawings are scanned into the computer and there I add color and give them structure. I aim to make a 50/50 combination.
What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
That I can make whatever I like! My webshop with the boxes, mobiles, prints and cards it by far my favorite part of my job, it gives me freedom and connection with other. For that same reason I love being an illustration teacher for a few hours per week. It's so rewording to see people grow in their drawing-confidence and enjoy what they're making.
Where do you feel like your illustration is heading?
I feel I'm going more and more towards teaching and making my own products. I like the freedom in it. Also, over the years my illustrations have evolved from bright colored simple but clear drawings into more layered illustrations (think: more structure, detail and handdrawn elements) I'd like to explore more materials and subjects (for this reason - and for fun!- I'm also following an art or craft course now and then, this year I'm exploring clay & ceramics).
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists/photographers?
I've written a few blogpost about this, just search 'free friday question' here on the blog and you'll find lot's of informationn!
Are there any artists/photographers/books/blogs that you would like to recommend?
I always love looking at Camilla Engman's work!
* and the boxes really helped! I'm now living life with a very fine man and our two year old son.
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