Duration: Two years.
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Education: MA in visual communication, Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main, Offenbach, Germany.
Career path: I have always been focused on drawing and reading stories, so it was a real inspiration to me when I heard that illustration offers the possibility to combine both of those aspects together. I studied visual communication at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main, and during my studies, I spent two semesters abroad at the Haute école des arts du Rhin in Strasbourg, France, where I took classes dedicated to illustration. A few months after graduation, I got my first editorial commission. After one year, I was able to work full time as a freelancer. I’m really grateful for my career.
Cultural influences: I’m mostly influenced by the people I’m surrounded by. I enjoy observing people and fantasizing about what they’re thinking about. I also love observing the natural environment around me and how it influences myself and others. Music and reading also have a huge impact on my work. When people tell stories through music or books, I enjoy having the possibility to create my own interpretation about them.
Favorite projects: My work for the New York Times and The New Yorker. I’m also very happy with the twelve murals I created for Warby Parker’s Columbus, Ohio–based store, which was the most exciting project I’ve worked on so far. It was great fun to develop a series of illustrations set around the same theme, that, at the same time, reflected the attitude of the brand. Warby Parker gave me a lot of freedom in developing this series, which I really appreciate. It has been such a pleasure to see my illustrations transferred to hand-painted murals.
Work environment: I work in a shared studio with friends in Frankfurt. One is an illustrator, and the others are graphic designers. Frankfurt is a busy city with lots of different cultures influencing it, and I love the energy that radiates from this city.
Approach: I hand-draw my final illustrations with colored pencils. While there are other illustrators who also work in analog mediums and illustrating in colored pencil isn’t particularly unusual, I have my own way of using them in my work. My colors never seem too bright, even though I employ a wide variety of them. But because I enjoy the drawing process itself so much, I draw most of the illustration analog. I’m really fast and also sometimes draw in layers, so there’s no reason for me to solely draw digitally.
Aspirations: I’d like to continue receiving commissions from a wide range of clients. It’s enriching to have the opportunity to familiarize myself with many different themes and issues. I’d also like to be more involved in publishing, maybe creating more book covers or an illustrated book. I think it’s something special to work with an author and an art director to make a book object. It’s also exciting to work with a team and get involved with the process of collaboration.
Philosophy: An illustrator opens doors to other worlds and creates pictures for others to see what’s inside. That’s why, as an illustrator, you have to know and follow your own point of view.