Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel

It is my pleasure to feature artist Signe Gabriel on the blog this month! Signe is a Danish illustrator from Lund, Sweden. You can check out her Etsy shop, follower her on Instagram, and peruse her beautiful artist website to see some of her outstanding collaborations and projects. You can contact Signe for commissions by sending her an email: hello@signegabriel.com.

Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

Can you tell me a little bit about your journey with art? What inspires you, and what is life like in Sweden?

Like many other illustrators I was always drawing and painting as a child and just didn’t stop doing it as I grew older. However, no-one in my family are artists or even have their own business, so it took me some time to realize that the thing I wanted to do – which was, basically, drawing and painting all day – could actually be my job. I am from Denmark and started working from Copenhagen, but one year ago I moved across the bridge to Lund in southern Sweden where I live now. I live with my partner and a few friends in a really old house – all of Lund is really old, and I feel very inspired just living in a place like this. My imagination is always going, and I make up stories around the things I see, and this is really where most of my inspiration comes from, as well as old fairy tales and Scandinavian folklore. Before I moved here, I was already painting Swedish-ish nature and houses, so I think I was just meant to move here.

Lately I have started writing a little as well, putting words to all these stories I make up all the time. Really I think the picture book is an amazing medium. First of all, as an illustrator it is fun to have to make a whole bunch of drawings that have to work together to tell a story, and second I think it has so many possibilities and directions to go in. Picture books can be both fun, poetic, or educational. I think this is the direction most of my work will be going in the future.

 Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

What have been some of your favorite children’s books and magazine projects? 

I have been lucky enough to work with Taproot Magazine a few times, and I always really enjoy illustrating articles for them. They focus on craft, sustainable living and homesteading. I love working with them, I feel like their themes are a natural fit for me and the articles are always interesting.

Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

For some reason, I have been doing quite a lot of food illustration, which is also always a fun challenge. We see pictures of food all the time, so imagining food in new ways is a fun challenge. I like making tiny chefs running around arranging huge plates of food.

For the last few months, me and my partner have been working together on a children’s book about depression. It has been a heavy subject to dive into, but also a really rewarding process, and it just feels so important, which is really motivating to me. We are almost done now, and hopefully we will find a publisher for it.

 Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

What have been some of your other favorite projects or commissions?

A really fun commission I had last summer was creating a map for a conference center in Malmö. They own a whole block of historic buildings in the city center, and needed a map for their clients to be able to find their way. All these houses are different, but they are all painted bright yellow, and in the summer there is pink flowers growing everywhere. I got to sit in the sun and drink coffee and sketch and look at people for a few weeks. It is commissions like that that make me feel like I have the most awesome job in the whole world.

After spending time on commissions it is always nice to be able to spend some time with my personal projects. Here I can really pour myself into it and express myself just the way I want. Often, these are the projects that turn into posters for my Etsy shop.

 Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

Do you have any advice for artists pursuing their work as a business? Has your artist website and Etsy shop had a positive impact on your business? 

My main advice for artists that would like to turn their work into a business is to make a good website. This is your window to the world and your chance to tell your story, so put a lot of work into it. Also, something I force myself to consider every once in a while, is whether or not the content on my website really shows only my best work. As artists we keep developing our skills, so sometimes we have to take down old favourites. It is better to show only a few, really great projects. As soon as you have a website running, send emails to all the people you can imagine working with!

Interview with Illustrator Signe Gabriel #illustration #etsy #illustrator #artist #artblog #giftideas

Etsy has definitely had a positive impact on my business. It feels great sending a poster to the other side of the world to someone who for sure would never have heard about my work if they hadn’t found it on Etsy. In Scandinavia, not a lot of people now about it, but I have been able to direct people here to Etsy via my website.

Click Here to Shop Signe

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Artist Interview With Nessa Ryan

It is my pleasure to introduce the wonderful Nessa Ryan from Tel Aviv, Israel ~ visit her Etsy shop at nessaryandesign.etsy.com.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your shop, and your creative process (materials, thought process, etc)?

“I studied fine art and specifically sculpture in Ireland and also Rotterdam. After graduating I moved to New York and started to paint. I worked as an interior decorator and muralist and had my own art studio. I exhibited and performed with my band in many venues and galleries. I had a child and moved to Tel Aviv, where I started primarily to illustrate. I currently work as a children’s book illustrator and exhibit my illustrations. I work with paper, paint, ink, pen, markers..anything really. If I work on a book it is a collaboration, a dance of sorts, where sometimes the image takes the lead and at other times the text does. When I work on my own illustrations, my inspiration comes from everywhere..movies, poetry, books, memories etc. I love the meditation and process of creating an image , the excitement of colour and mystery of line. It is a wonderful world to be apart of. I joined Etsy to get a larger audience and try my hand at attempting to run a small business, I am afraid I am not a very business minded person, and have little time for marketing and promoting my shop, but every now and then I make contact with someone through the store and I find that valuable enough to keep my shop open.”

Where does your inspiration come from for the content of your work? Can you tell me a little bit about how your content and style work together?

“As I mentioned above, my inspiration comes from everywhere, I collect images in my head from just being awake ( and actually dreams are a pretty good source of inspiration, too). I do not like to take photos , so I suppose I consciously memorize something and know that it will appear if needed when I work. Most things evoke some sort of emotive response, and if not then an intellectual one. It is interesting to play with this and see where the idea decides to land.”

Is there any significance behind the oval shape that you use as a kind of frame for your illustrations?

“I wanted a free floating image, I think it seems less restrictive – it’s like an atom or a cell..it has its own energy/story in an infinite space (the page being the infinite space). The confines of the page size are irrelevant , as the page just becomes part of everything else around it. However, I am not loyal to any format, so things can change.”

Are you currently working on any new art projects?

“I am have almost finished my latest book, I am very excited about it, it was a collaboration between my friend and I. It is a Hebrew alphabet book, each letter is given a poem or a story, the writing is fantastic, it is philosophical, funny and sentimental, both kids and parents will enjoy the read. I found illustrating it to be a joy, as the text was so inspiring and free – children’s books can be so ‘safe’ this days and lack a juicy text, so it is rare to have this much fun illustrating.”

What is life like as an artist in Israel?

“I think it is the same as anywhere else. Life as an artist is intellectually and emotionally stimulating and financially devastating. If you are inferring that because of the occupation and violence here, then it maybe different, and it depends where you live.  I live in Tel Aviv and I am Irish, so I can focus on raising my child and work.  If I were a Palestinian living in Gaza or the West Bank, I would still be trying to raise my child and work, but on top of that I would have to deal with the ongoing brutal occupation. It is, for sure, a very uneven and unfair reality here.”

Nessa Ryan’s Etsy shop: nessaryandesign.etsy.com

 

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