For our products, we work with several illustrators who assist us with the design. Each of our partners is unique in her own way and we are proud to have created such a great network over the years. To give you an insight into the work of our illustrators, Lenja, Jenny, Mona, Karin and Anna answer some questions for you in a series of interviews.
The interviews appear in the order in which the illustrators joined us. Have fun reading!
Anna illustrates motifs for posters, postcards and more. Her designs can also be found at nuukk and are popular with many customers. She also runs her own Etsy store, where she inspires people with her creativity and lovely illustrations.
Hello Anna, tell us something about yourself. How would you describe describe your own style?
Reduced. In a good mood. Very often striped. Sometimes plaid. Colorful, but harmonious. And actually always without any claim to correct perspective or proportions.
You have your own studio. What does a typical day look like for you?
The typical day does not exist at all. The daily illustration routine for freelancers oscillates between about 10-20% creative drawing work and the remaining percentages consisting of mails, phone calls, writing offers and invoices, accounting, tax, preparing print data, implementing corrections, solving technical problems, social media / marketing and cleaning up the studio. In my case, there is also the packing and shipping of orders from my online store and my dealer store. I like the variety and that most days, I can do what I feel most like. And I like that you become a “somewhat expert” in so many areas at once.
What are the biggest ups and downs of illustrating or working as an illustrator?
In any case, one of the mean things is that I would love to at least double the 10-20% mentioned above. The distribution is only so medium-fair, I think. And on the other hand, there are always some annoying issues, like the lack of willingness to pay illustrators fairly for their work, especially here in Germany and especially with big clients who could actually pay fairly. Or many exhausting imitators who do not develop their own special style, but copy what they see in other illustrators.
But it’s really cool to see the great products, collections and projects that are created with the various labels. That people like my illustrations so much that they use them to furnish their homes, dress themselves in them, or choose my postcards to send to their very dearest friends or family. These are the greatest compliments in the world!
That sounds great. Which project are you particularly proud of?
Many, many, all?! I’m always quite honored by how many companies, labels, people can imagine my illustrations on their products – so pretty much every project makes me very happy.
But I’m also proud of a spare time project I’ve been doing together with the illustrator Daria Solak for more than 4 years now: Every Saturday we draw an illustration to a song line, which one of us chooses in turn. To make sure we also get to create our very own illustration at least once a week without client specifications. We post the whole thing on Instagram at @BlameUsForOurMusicTaste. 2 years ago we met for the first time very live – in London, where Daria lives. Crazy Internet World!
Wow, cool stuff! Do you draw do you generally draw from the head or with a template?
It depends on the motif – I often look for photo templates from the Internet for postures, facial expressions, animals or objects and then abstract them so much that they get the typical Anna style.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think most of all from other illustrators – who I think are super great.
Inspire goes klaro – copy not.
Color combos also often come from the environment, from photos, through interiors, fashion, or the soup bowl next to the checkered dish towel in front of the colorful tile wall in my kitchen. Something like that inspires me.
Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?
My mom predicted when I was in kindergarten that I would illustrate children’s books one day. After school, however, I first studied communication design in Aachen and my plan was to pursue a career in advertising. Rich and famous and employed. I didn’t realize that illustration was a career path all its own until I was in the middle of my studies. Luckily I had a cool lecturer who supported this and in the end I added an illustration master’s degree in Hamburg. I cursed the detour at first, but in the end it was somehow pretty great and just right.
Did the pandemic have an impact on your order situation?
Yes, unfortunately! On the one hand, hardly any stores have bought from me in the last two years (understandably). Before the pandemic, card, poster, and calendar sales to dealers accounted for about 50% of my income. They simply fall away now.
And in addition to many cancelled projects and orders, there has also been an insane unreliability lately – projects are requested, calculated and then ignored. I could live with rejections in these uncertain times, but being ghosted by clients is somehow much more stupid than being ghosted by dating acquaintances.
Have you always been self-employed or employed?
Since graduating in 2016, I have gone straight into full-time self-employment.
Being employed is something I only know from a few part-time jobs alongside my studies. I think both are pretty much equally beautiful and exhausting. Since there are few (great) jobs for illustrators, self-employment is the only option for now. Plan B is a trucker driver. One day.
What advice can you give to all those who would like to start their own business as an illustrator / with a label?
Have a lot of patience and dare to show your work. There are always people who think they are great. The people who commission illustrators are not the stars of their own scene, but those who are happy about any alternative to Princess Lillifee.
The style and way of working is allowed to change and improve over the years. At some point, your own style will settle down all by itself. For me, it’s a mix of what I like best and what I find easiest to draw.
And in the end, the greatest goal is to have your own niche, something that makes your work stand out and be special.
Great and inspiring words, dear Anna. How nice to see you at nuukk you are with us!
All nuukk x Anna Katharina Jansen products are here!