Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
I was an only child and my days where spent drawing and making things in my room. I used create greeting cards and make my own logos on the back. Draw crazy horses brushing their teeth in the bathrroom. So I don't think I have really changed since then.
When I was in Art College, I thought I would be a painter and the painting department where keen for me to join their department. I loved the textile department and it was quite a new thing to create surface patterns (pre-computer digital textiles). It is a very artist free medium to work in. I love that your design can just change the most boring of objects into something beautiful to enjoy. I tend to love drawing little stories and characters. I also love illustrating along with storytelling. I like the connection that an illustration can really convey a story or emotion and add value to a written piece of text.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
Yes . I studied a BA honours degree in printed textiles at Edinburgh College of Art and also studied a Postgraduate Reserach Diploma at Winchester School of Art.
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I live in a small town in the south of Sweden called Älmhult. It is a famous town in Sweden. It is the birthplace of IKEA and their design offices are based here in the town.
My husband was asked to join IKEA offered a job working with the catalogue department. We were living in central London, a stone throw away from trendy Shoreditch. We thought it was a great opportunity to live a different family life style.
My childhood was spend in Edinburgh.I am half Scottish and half Danish. My name Susse is a Danish nickname. I have spent most of my adult life in London and also lived in Sydney Australia for five years where my son was born.
I have definetly lived all over the place.
Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.
I have always worked analog so it took me some time and several online courses to get to the point I am today. I now work digitally. I still love working with gouache. Line drawing is a foundation of my illustrations. A few years ago I invested in a wacom intuos propaper tablet. That was it my mental block of working digitally was gone.
Last year I took part in the 100 day project and worked only in photoshop. Illustrating one Swedish word a day. Spending only an hour on each peice.
I cannot say how much taking part in this project has benefited me interms of exposure of my work and commissions.
Now I love working digitally and with different brushes and fliters to layer my illustrations. Create a real depth of colour and light to my work.
Do you keep a sketch book?
Yes I do. Sketchbooks are really important to my creative process. Just playing and experimenting is a really important to generate new ideas. My sketchbooks are like little story books documenting my life and imaginary worlds.
I have also been very lucky to have travelled around the world and lived in different countries. Looking at my work I think you can guess I love cute things. I have a mini collection items from my travels they also help my inspiration.
Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.
Living here in Sweden is the first time I have a big home studio. In London I had tiny desk space at home and went a few days a week to rented desk space with other designers.
In our home there is an extention I work in there. In the winter time it is too cold. So I set up camp next to our woodburner fire as it can get to minus twenty degrees outside. In the summer the doors to my studio are open and local cats make them selves at home sleeping under my desk.
All my furniture is from IKEA suprise surprise. I have one computer desk with a desktop Imac, printer and a very old scanner.
Then I have painting / sewing desk. Bookshevles full of books that have quite literally been around the world and lots of draws to keep all my supplies and artwork tidy.
I look out at my window and every day as the kinder graden children walk by to the play park. They always wave at me.The local forest/park is right next door so I have all kinds of woodland creatures in my garden from a woodpecker pecking at my studio window to tiny fawns, red squirrels hedghogs and rabbits al running around. I feel like I am in a Dinsey movie sometimes.
The forest has been a source of inspiration to my current work.
Outline your dream project.
Although I have only made my own self published book to date. I am passionate about children's books. I have designed a lot of surface patterns for children's products and clothing and feel my illustrations would work well for childrens books. I guess my dream book project would be to illustrate travel books for children and tell them all about the bigger picture of the world. I feel so fortunate to have travelled everywhere and this has shaped my illustration work today.
Although children have Youtube and I pads at their finger tips. My son included. He loves and still loves books and reads everyday about all sorts of subjects . When my son was little he would stare for hours at his picture books asking me questions. He had speach delay and I would read three books at bed time each night to help his speech. Now he has top grades at school and loves writing wants to become a journalist.
So books are so important to bond with your child and IPad used alone by a child can't really do that. So as a care giver you are their first teacher . They look to you for answers on how the world works.
Books will always be valuble tool teaching children about the world. My drean would be to illustrate books that make happy childhood memories.