When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
I sort of came into it naturally. I studied graphic design and I started combining my skill at drawing with design thinking to express ideas, concepts and visual jokes. Later I specialised in type design and, besides learning to draw type, I discovered that I could get a very powerful result by working with text. That’s how I got into lettering.
Where do the ideas for your illustrations come from?
I usually search for new inspirations each time – as a designer and letterer I have to use an appropriate language for each new project. But, of course, my point of view and my perspective filters all the things I flick through when starting a project and makes me choose certain elements more than others. I use handwriting-inspired shapes, and I often explore extremes with my work using thick letterforms against very light letterforms, extreme decorative elements, abstract shapes or realistic shapes. I also get a lot of inspiration by showing my work to others and seeing how they react to it.
Which materials do you prefer to work with and why? Do you have a favourite pen or paper?
I work with normal paper and graphite, using layers of tracing paper to improve my drawing. Usually I scan this sketch into the computer to work on a colour scheme. This is the first rough that I show to clients, to discuss the idea and the direction of the illustration. After this is approved I continue drawing digitally.
What attracted you to where you live? Do you think your location has influenced your style?
I live in Berlin and what attracted me to the city is its big tradition of typography. The scene is surprisingly stimulating and it’s very easy to meet up with people who work in the same field. There are several events that bring these designers together, and the fact that you’re in constant touch with very talented people stimulates you to do very good work. The eyes that judge your work are everywhere.
You illustrated the cover for SHOP Paris Style for autumn/winter 2013/14; do you know Paris well? Do you have any great memories of travelling there?
I visited Paris in 2008 and stayed there for five days. I remember Paris as a sparkling city, with an active social scene and a love of detail that can be seen in the stores, on the streets and in the way people dress. I was surprised by the art scene, with big galleries and small and interesting small spaces co-existing. I had the chance to participate in an open-gallery night that was pretty impressive: all the city’s galleries welcoming people, art of all kinds, friendly visitors and nice drinks.
Where did you start when designing the cover for SHOP Paris Style?
I have been planning to work on a series of typographical necklaces and the commission for this cover came right at the point where I was exploring how to create jewellery with readable typography. For the cover illustration I worked with a connected script that allows the letters to join together naturally and create a structure. I used the typical flourishes of a script to create the chain in a natural way, without interfering with the readability of the text.
Did it turn out the way you expected?
It turned out better than I expected. I love it when the creative process itself reveals solutions that were impossible to imagine in the beginning. The challenge about this illustration was to make it work as a jewellery piece, despite the fact it was two-dimensional. I can imagine that this necklace could be produced for real and work as such.
What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit Paris or your home town?
In Paris, explore the gallery scene. In Berlin, visit the co-working spaces which have plenty of cultural activity, with lots of workshops and performances. The typography scene is also very interesting – there are meetings and events happening all the time.
Which five items will you never travel without?
Rimmel make-up, face cream, a pencil, paper and some money. In my day-to-day bag I always have my iPhone, a notebook, an automatic pencil and my wallet.
And finally, what would your dream commission be?
A typographic illustration or lettering to be produced in three dimensions - my dream would be that the necklace I have drawn for this cover of SHOP magazine gets made for real.