Interview: Karolin Schnoor – Illustrator

How would you describe your creative style?
I would probably say flat, colourful and feminine. I like to think of illustrations as things that are printed on a page, so the arrangement of elements is more interesting to me than a sense of depth. It’s all about how the drawing exists in it’s two dimensional space. Colour and pattern can help to keep that interesting.

What does your typical day look like?
I work from home, so I get up and do my emails over breakfast. I try to get all of that out of the way before I start to draw. Then I will try and get in all the creative work in the morning. So sketching, drawing and generating ideas all happens before lunch. I try to take a screenbreak for lunch and read or get outside. In the afternoon, I do the more tedious work- inking, colouring adjusting, etc. If necessary, I will work into the evening but I’m definitely more productive in the mornings.

Interview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung Katz

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
This depends on so many factors, mostly how the collaboration with the art director goes. Some briefs are so well put together that we arrive at a final illustration fairly quickly. Others require more back and forth. I’m quite impatient though so in my personal work I try not to stretch things out too long. I do a sketch and go right to the final. It’s a luxury if you have the time to let it sit for a day and come back to it afresh for final adjustments. That’s my ideal scenario.

How do you keep motivated?
I don’t know if I do all the time! I’m in it for the long haul hopefully, so I try to pace myself. You always come up with new ideas when your brain isn’t too stressed and overworked so I try to make those conditions happen, but it’s not always possible. It’s been a revelation to me that I can work even when I don’t feel motivated and the work doesn’t suffer too much. I also find that deadlines have to be met no matter what, so time is always a good motivator!

HotelQInterview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung KatzInterview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung KatzWhat do you want others to take away from your work?
I hope my work communicates something joyful. It brings me joy when it goes well, so it’s my hope that this gets passed on to others.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Probably just to relax. I was terrified I was never going to find work, but it was paralysing which is not helpful. I would tell myself to think less and work more. There’s no substitute for just doing the work. You can’t think yourself into being a better illustrator. Not that I would have listened, my younger self was just as stubborn as my older self.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I did an internship at a small studio in Berlin during my studies and one of the designers said not to worry when it’s rough at the beginning and that the first three years are usually awful. Even though it sounded scary, in the end it was reassuring and allowed me to just wait and see and not panic too early on.

Interview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung Katz
Interview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung Katz

What are your thoughts on art school?
That’s a tricky question. I enjoyed it, but I also had the privilege of going before it became as expensive as it is today. I’m personally completely opposed to higher education being something you pay for. I also found much of my studies to be frustrating because we did not get a lot of time with our tutors and there was no studio space to work in. I know this might be particular to London and I’ve heard great things about other schools. I do think there’s value in spending a few years being guided, however loosely, towards learning how you work, and what you’re good at, and being around other people who are doing the same thing. So overall I’d say art school is a good idea, but chose wisely.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
My main aspiration is to be able to sustain my career in the longterm. The world of Illustration moves so fast and you need to be on the ball constantly. Which is also what makes it exciting, you can’t get too comfortable! If I’m still doing this 10-20 years from now and I can build a life around it, I will consider that a success.

Interview with illustrator, Karolin Schnoor on Jung Katz

What art supplies do you use?
I’m quite boring I’m afraid. I do most of my colour work digitally, so all I need is my sketchbook, a few pencils and my trusty fineliner.

How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
I feel like I’m working in this industry at a good time, it’s open to new things and varied and interesting. I’d like to see less people demanding work for free, be it from interns, or young illustrators and designers starting out. I still get asked to do things for free seven years into my career and it’s hard to say no because so many people will say yes. But I think that’s a problem across all industries.


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