For a 3rd year illustration course presentation ACAD design student Vishu Mahajan interviewed illustrator Cecilia Carlstedt.
1. Could you tell me about where you're from and what school/program you attended before you started freelancing?
I began my formal studies in Art and Design at Södra Latins Gymnasium. After A-levels I studied Art History for a year at the Stockholm University. In 1998 I was accepted into the Graphic Design Foundation course at London College of Printing. This led to a BA in the same subject specializing within experimental image-making. The course also offered a 5 months exchange program at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
2. What sort of jobs did you initially start with and at what point did you decide to focus on fashion illustration?
Before I was studying Graphic Design in London and taking the odd freelance illustration commission, and then I just gradually got more and more illustration commissions and no graphic design jobs, so it was a natural progression I guess.
3. How long have you been a professional illustrator?
4. Could you tell me a little about your process and how you work?
It varies a little but when making for example a fashion illustration I generally start by sketching out the pose and then scanning it in and cleaning it in photoshop. I like to keep the tone of the paper to have the feeling of an original. Then I color in some parts and maybe bring in a pattern that I have created in illustrator or scan in an ink-blob that could be used as texture. It's in photoshop I put all the elements together.
5. What media do you prefer to work with?
It's a mix of traditional mediums like pencil and ink in combination with modern techniques including illustrator, photoshop and photography.
6. Do you have some pieces that you're particularly fond of and why?
I like to experiment with different medias to get unexpected effects and I was really enjoying the process in the personal work titled 'old to new' on the project page on my website. Its old work that I decided to remake by photographing them...
7. Who is your favourite client and why?
There are a few but I did a job for La Perla ones for their Look Book magazine which was a lot of fun. I had free hands to interpret and create four images which should relate to the feeling of the brand. These types of open briefs are always enjoyable, but I think why this one was extra fun was that I was inspired by the clothing and was allowed to be more abstract since it was more about the mood.
8. What inspires you? Who are your influences?
When I see something that trickers the nerve to create, that could be anything really, an unusual color combination, an interesting face etc , but of course I buy a lot of books and magazines, visits galleries , go shopping for oddities, and search the internet as common places for inspiration.
Artists that influence inspires me: Many, many...for example, artists that I like include Elisabeth Peyton, Marlene Dumas and Gerhard Richter.
Thank you Cecilia for responding to Vishu's interview request! And thanks Vishu for providing it for the After Art College Blog.