Here is Part 5 of this little blog entry series, this time featuring a very brilliant illustrator that I have been lucky enough to count among my internet acquaintances for almost 10 years now.
Anke Weckmann is a German-born Londoner who started drawing before she could walk. She finds inspiration in strong female characters - from Pippi Longstocking to Katniss Everdeen (!) -, colour pallets, shapes and textures, and in the details she notices when she goes for walks.
Her illustrations have appeared in many books and magazines (including Bitch magazine, my personal favourite!), and also on products (if you were in Korea not too long ago, you may have also seen her drawings on cosmetics from the brand Too Cool For School - I did!).
If you want more (you should!), you can check out Anke's website, her blog, follow her on twitter and tumblr, or support her art via her Etsy shop or her Society6 page.
1. How do you usually describe what you do?
I'm an illustrator and draw pictures for magazines, products and other things.
2. How and why did you start creating?
I started drawing before I could walk and I was always really drawn to making things. I remember begging people to show me how to crochet or sew and one of my favourite thing was to play outside and build dens. If I don't draw or make things I get unhappy very quickly.
3. Could you describe the steps of your creating process?
It really depends on the project and it doesn't always happen the same way. But most often I get ideas just by drawing in my sketchbook and I come back to them later when I'm working on projects. Occasionally I see the whole idea in my head before I draw it. But usually I find it most exciting to start drawing without knowing what I will draw or how it will turn out.
4. Do you believe that what you do comes from yourself, or do you believe that you are the vessel of another 'something' that expresses itself through you?
Is this referring to the TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert? I really like her, but I do think that what I make come from me, but I also don't think it's coming from me inside a vacuum. It's something like my interpretation of my experiences and inspirations from the world around me and I'm sure the subconscious plays a big part.
5. Do you have habits concerning time, objects, location, when you are creating?
It depends what I'm doing. If I'm coming up with ideas then it can happen anywhere, as long as I have my sketchbook and pencils. Cafes and libraries seem to work perfectly for this stage, I can focus really well there and get a lot done. If I'm inking illustrations I need to be at my desk and have my light box, pens, paper etc. If I need to concentrate then I work best on my own, without music and without interruptions. At the colouring stage I need the computer and I'll happily listen to audiobooks and podcasts for hours.
6. Does the 'finished product' usually look like what you had imagined or do you usually end up with something different than you had imagined?
In some ways the finished product does look like I imagined, I think it's because after years of drawing I know how I draw and what my work looks like. It's not like when you first start drawing and you haven't developed your way of working yet and really don't know how your work will turn out at all. That said, I don't imagine things in too much detail. It would be so boring! Especially with personal work I often just start without any rough sketches and let the drawing surprise me.
7. How do you decide when a piece is finished?
It either feels finished and I'm happy with it, or occasionally I'm just completely sick of it, haha.
8. How important is it for you to share your creation with others? How do you impact/interact with their comments, criticisms, opinions?
It's really fun to share my work, it's one of the reasons I really like making work for products that people can use. My work is really personal to me so it's especially nice if people like it! And I like being able to share work with other artists and obviously see their work as well. If nobody ever saw my work I would still draw (most of the drawings in my sketchbook I never show), but in many ways illustrations exist to communicate, so sharing/publishing the work is an important part. Nice comments can also really cheer my up on a bad day when I feel like I've forgotten how to draw. I don't worry too much about negative criticism because I don't expect everybody to like my work, just as I don't love everybody else's work.
9. What is your relationship with past creations?
A lot I cringe at, especially things that are more than 3 years old. Other things I still really like. I tend to focus on what I'm working on or what I plan to draw next and not look at old work very often.
10. What is the easiest and the most difficult part of creating for you?
Being motivated/inspired to draw it the easiest part and the most fun! The most difficult part is all the other stuff - dealing with paperwork, contract negotiation, emails, taxes and the occasional existential crisis, i.e. "My work sucks, I'm going to be a postman instead".