Freitag, 18. Februar 2011


tomorrow we have to leave early in the morning, because we will go on holiday in switzerland. for that reason i would like to feature the artwork of an awesome swiss illustrator, designer and artist: alois carigiet (1902-1985). my little daughter has got a few children´s books illustrated by him and i adore his highly original aesthetics.

fyi: since i spend the next two weeks with more or less poor internet access in the mountains, i probably cannot post very often. please understand. i will do my best. have a good time. yours MiMa
florina and the wild bird (1952)
florina and the wild bird (1952)
florina and the wild bird (1952)

  a bell for ursli: a story from the engadine in switzerland (1945)

anton the goatherd (1965)
village trin

Donnerstag, 17. Februar 2011

the rand world

paul rand (august 15, 1914 — november 26, 1996) is doubtless one of the greatest book illustrators. his book sparkle and spin is part of our private exhibtion. but it is not the only one what is worth an exhibition.
subway advertising, 1947

aiga anniversary, 1965

sos kinderdorf / children´s village, 1996

Mittwoch, 16. Februar 2011

small talk ::: fideli sundqvist

today i had a big "small talk" with fideli sundqvist, which has given me very great pleasure. Enjoy yourself reading and thank you so much, Fideli!

my name is fideli sundqvist and i am 23 years old. i grew up with my family in uppsala, a town barely one hour from stockholm. i have a big brother gustav, one little sister emilia and my parents marie-louise and olle. we also had a little dog named ruffa, who now is in the dogs' realm of death. my parents have free and creative works, so they can dispose their own working time. my father is a historian of religion and my mother is an artist and ceramicist.

since i was little, i have been crafting and drawing a lot. during the last years of compulsory school, i was completely uninterested in these things. but when i was around 15, my interest for images started to grow slowly in combination with my interest for music. when i was 13-14 years old, i received a great interest in music, i started to play in a band and created my own music. the music of some great bands actually turned my life, especially the band bright eyes (from nebraska, usa). the disc envelope lifted or the story is in the soil, keep your ear to the ground were filled with illustrations, carved into linoleum. it was the most beautiful i’ve ever seen!

i could listen to the album and scroll through the small booklet with the lyrics and pictures for hours. thus i came to start making my own images, illustrate moods and dreams. me and my mum took the train to stockholm and bought linoleums, tools, paints and rollers. the motifs were focused mainly on the longing for love. i created series of linoleum cuts under the theme isma and the lighthouse. the images were influenced by the music and lyrics of bright eyes. i created an imaginary person called isma and a place where he lived.

when i was 18 years old i started to study at an art school located on the island lidingö, just outside stockholm. i moved to my grandfather’s basement in a suburb of stockholm and went two years in a school on lidingö called nyckelviken. it is a general art education, including one craft year and then one year with a focus on graphic design and illustration. then i started on konstfack, university college of arts, crafts and design in stockholm, and that is the place where i am studying right now.

at the end of this spring, i will take my degree in graphic design & illustration. this week i will start on my bachelor project which will run all weeks during spring. it will be presented in may at the school exhibition. time has gone quickly. i have experienced a lot during these years. it’s really wonderful to spend your days by thinking on and working with art.

what i have found recently is that i enjoy working with quite wide and extensive objects. i like to sit and draw, cut and build in paper, make more rigorous designs and work with different materials. in exactly one month, my first children’s book will be published in the publishing house opal in sweden. it’s called birre, where are you? and it is about a little puppy dog who gets lost in the big dark forest, where he meets adventures.

the illustrations are done in acrylic paint. it was very fun to make them, and it was actually the first time i painted with acryl. almost always when i start with something new, i am very delighted and this happened when i worked with birre, where are you?.

when i wrote the book about birre, i started with the illustrations. the inspiration for it comes in large parts from my delight in dogs. when i was ten years old, there was nothing i dreamed of as much as getting a dog. i nag and nag and could not think of anything else than dogs. so one day, the parents said: yes! so a little puppy dog (a miniature schnauzer) named ruffa moved to us.

i think that dogs are very fun to draw, in different situations, embarrassed, mischievous, frightened. they are grateful to convey the mood of the picture. the text in the book was written later. i had a vague story in my head, but it was only based on the pictures. i composed a lot of pictures, moving them around, changes places untill i found it in that way i wanted.

one approach that i’ve worked a lot with during the last few years is to cut in paper. i think it is fantastic. i love to get focused and fiddle with the scalpel. i usually listen to lots of audio books and radio-documentaries when i am working. i like to work undisturbed, but also to have people close around me. at school i have found a small computer room next to the kitchen where i sit all by myself. but it is wonderful when meeting other people at lunch or at coffee breaks.

i get very inspired by great music, to move closer to the feeling generated in you when you feel inspired. to sit and draw, cut and make stuff is probably what creates the most harmony for me, the desire to work creates inspiration, new ideas and so on. to scroll in beautiful books, look in the childrens’ books you read as a child, reading novels and watching movies. to look around the blogs, dreaming about new cities and places where you want to travel or live, meet my family and friends, drinking coffee on cafés, looking at people and dogs ... to take a walk make me often think clearer. when i feel a bit discouraged, i usually take my running shoes on and walk briskly out and pretty soon it feels better.

next time i will start a book project, i will probably try to have a clearer picture of the narrative and the plot, and then start sketching the illustrations. the birre-project was great fun, but also very hard to work with. i’ve probably dropped a lot of tears during my work time.

there is one thing for all creative professional workers: you are always so lonely. it’s just one self that can take decisions in the end and it’s up to one self to draw all the pictures and to finish it. it can be very difficult, i think. both to start with a project, coming up with ideas and to get courage to run and believe in it is hard. i love to get involved in images and shapes. there is nothing better, as when you discover new things that you want to do. i love the feeling of being swallowed by a project, to work with your hands, the handcraft itself etc.

good book-illustrations must communicate not only the conditions of the outer world, but also tell something about what is going on inside people. i like images that are filled with moods, either tragic or comic, and perhaps preferably a bit of both. things that makes your heart beat is what it’s all about, i think. to do honest things is the essence. but of course, i can certainly also appreciate things that are more graphical and “nice”, but most of all i love things that concern.

Montag, 14. Februar 2011

daring simplicity

recently oili tanninen´s children´s classic nunnu rettet möksös (nunna saves möksös hat) from 1965 was republished in german. that´s probably why i have become aware of her work that dare a great simplicity.

hippu (1967)

nunnu (1965/2008)

Sonntag, 13. Februar 2011

5 names, 23 years and a great talent

her full name is agnes cecilia fideli siri charlotte sundqvist, and that is almost as impressive as her variad artwork. the young swedish illustrator and designer (born 1987) uses very different techniques and materials, and i am sure, we will see much of her in the future. please follow her live and work via her inspiring blog.

paper doll house

small talk ::: katrin gamerschlag

i start a new rubric: under the heading of "small talk" artists have their say from now on. today i have a "small talk" with the freelance designer and illustrator katrin gamerschlag.

self-portrait with tag cloud
would you please introduce yourself with a couple of sentences about you?
my name is katrin, 35 years old, living with my family in a former farmhouse nearby duisburg/germany. i'm working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for smakdesign since 7-8 years now. in addition i have started a little online-shop for kids stuff with a good friend two years ago: lilla lingon. on my blog lingonsmak i write about my work and projects, our shop and inspirations.

how did you get into design? and what do you love about your work or what don´t you love?
i love children books and illustrations since i was a child. thus i decided to study graphic design and i never regret it. i love my job not least because it offers a wide varity: different materials, colours, techniques. there is always something new to see and learn. the other side of the coin is the existance as a freelancer.

it wasn´t and isn´t always easy to work freelance. you are mostly under high pressure to acquire clients. i guess, that is the biggest challenge. it takes a lot of strength to persevere and you have to believe in yourself. thanks god, at this time clients get in touch with me.

do you have any plans or projects for 2011 to share with us?
my big project of this year is a children book. i got it in my head for a long time and it waits to be illustrated – like some other ideas, too.

what is your typical day routine?
my typical day starts with a mail-check, following i structure my day: what i have to do first? what are the most important tasks? then i start working. at the moment i work at home on a small desk – my "main station" – with my laptop. but sometimes i am also working in the living room, the kitchen or  the nursery.

working place

and the obligatory question at the end: what makes a felicitous design from your point of view?
i guess, felicitous design comes from the heart and expresses your personality. you can perceive the difference of a commissioned and a free work. thus free projects can be a great chance to make a felicitous design.

thank you very much! 

Samstag, 12. Februar 2011

the poetry of fabrics

the picture books of louise-marie cumont just make me happy!  

the artist was (*1957 near paris) was originally metal sculptor. after the birth of her son, she began taking pictures and picture books of colored fabric and patterned fabrics. she is now famous for these lyrical works throughout europe and has been exhibited in many museums.
les chaises
au lit!
au lit!
á table
á table

little creatures with scary smiles

"little creatures with scary smiles, always trying to get alive and dying if they don´t become real" – these are ideas for adolfo serra. i love his colorful and bizarre drawings, and agree with him when he says: "there is some kind of magic in every drop or stain of ink."

his first children´s book mani orejas de luna? with the writer lola guerrera was published in october 2010 by the great publisher narval editores. i guess it is a "must have" for all picture book enthusiasts.

(c) la infancia, ¿derecho o privilegio?
(c) el gato con botas
mani orejas de luna?

Dienstag, 8. Februar 2011

small talk with phillis

children are one of the main audience of book illustrators. what do they think about painting and why do they love picture books? i have had a little talk with the 6 year old phillis from karlsruhe, who is also a great little artist.

what do you like to paint most at this time?princesses and bunnies.

(c) phillis

why do you paint or enjoy painting?
since i can show all the fancy characters that i dream up reading or making books.

(c) phillis

what is your favorite picture book at this time?
my favorite book is die weihnachtsgans auguste, because i have got it by my best friend marlene and because the pictures are made with thousands of strokes.

(c) phillis

(c) phillis

(c) phillis
the works are from different creative periods.