How do you compose your illustrations? Do you sketch out ideas first or work completely digitally?
I think it is really important to always sketch out ideas first, even if it is the smallest and simplest books with not many elements at all – like the little pop-up books that I have just finished for Walker. You get the best shapes using your hand first, you can’t create that directly at the computer. And when I work on larger books, like My Town, with more complicated compositions and layouts, it is even more important to sketch out how the pages are going to look.
Which artists and illustrators have influenced you?
I am influenced by all sorts of artists from the 50s and 60s. The compositions from this time, on everything from an album cover to a spread in a children´s book, are so lovely. And the colours! I just love the colour palettes that they used. I’m also influenced by classical artists like the legendary French picture book maker Alain Gree, and the American artist Mary Blair who worked on the early art and animation for Disney. And closer to home the wonderful Swedish graphic designer Olle Eksell, and Stig Lindberg the ceramicist, textile designer and illustrator– who comes to my mind.
When working on My Town, were you inspired by your own town or by somewhere you grew up?
I have travelled a lot so I would say a mish-mash of different big cities and my own city, Stockholm.
Which was your favourite place in My Town to illustrate?
The museum and book shop!
How did you become an illustrator? Was it something that you always wanted to do?
I guess so. I did draw my entire childhood but then I had a couple of years where I was more interested in learning languages and studied German in Berlin and French in southern France. But coming back from those years I ended up at an advertising agency and then went to art school. When I graduated I started freelancing as an illustrator and that was 26 years ago…
Tell me about your colour palette and where you draw your design inspiration from.
I think my inspiration for my colour palette also comes from the 50s and 60s. It’s a combination of a joyful and colourful palette, but with tiny hints of darkness. A good example of this is the Wolf page in my book Animals, where I’ve contrasted the darker greys with a bright pink and green, which really pop from the page.
You work across so many different products - producing books, homewares, posters, greetings cards – what is the most unusual thing you have worked on?
I was approached by a large London advertising agency and asked to produce illustrations for a logo for the country Taiwan – that was something special!
Which books are you currently working on?
I have recently finished a book about London for Walker books which will be published later this year. The first one in a series of books from different cities ( I hope… :) And some new board books for Nosy Crow.
What would be your dream project (book) to work on?
To be honest, I don´t really know. I feel I am living my dream right now making big books, pop-up books, board books etc.