Five Go Mad

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Q and A with Karin Akesson

Freelance Illustrator Karin Akesson was born in Sweden. She moved to Brighton to study Illustration, which was followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art. Karin exhibits her work across the UK and her eye catching designs have led to commissions for many leading brands.

What is your earliest memory of being creative?

As long as I can remember I have been drawing and creating things. Anything from board games to puppet shows or home made books. I think most children are creative, drawing was something I carried on doing.

Who was the first illustrator you discovered to inspire you?
Not sure she was first, but when I started studying illustration I discovered Marion Deuchars and loved her work.

What about your contemporaries, anyone you particularly admire?
Impossible to choose one, there is so much talent out there!

What methods and techniques do you use when creating your work?
Drawing, collage and the computer.

What is your favourite medium to work with? 
I love my Mac and would be lost without it, but at the same time I wouldn't be able to create my work with only a computer. It's important for me to retain that hands-on feeling.
Your designs are very eye catching and often feature elements of nature. 
Nature is fun to draw and nice to look at. One of the things I love most when I go home to Sweden is going back to nature and outdoor life. In London I live a typical city life, the only animals I see are mice on the tube or pigeons eating old chips, there is not much wild nature around. So, I like to bring some of the natural life indoors, like drawings of birds and plants. 

What are you working on at the moment? 
A commission by design studio BCMH to create illustrations for a luxury French hotel. Also an editorial commission to create some illustrations, featuring monthly in Pregnancy & Birth magazine. I love the mix of clients and projects I work on. Recently I have also been focusing on developing new products for my online shop.

What would be your dream commission? 
I would love to develop a range of textiles, transferring my drawings onto fabrics. I love patterns and composition and would like to develop further.

You were born in Sweden but have lived in Britain for a while.
The Five Go Mad slogan is "Quintessentially British" what does that mean for you?
Friendly people with a good sense of humour, pork pies, pubs, cold houses and politeness.
Do you have a favourite British icon?
Princess Diana.

You are from Sweden, I imagine the food is quite different to here. Do you have a favourite British dish? 
I don’t often eat meatballs and herring in Sweden and I can’t say the food I eat is particular British. Although I am a fan of the Sunday roast tradition!

Do you have a favourite cafe you couldn't live without? 
Market coffee in Spitalfields is a favourite place around the corner from where I live.

by Liz Appleby


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