One of our wonderful new illustrators Nastja Holtfreter has been kind enough to answer a few questions for us regarding life as an ultra talented and wonderful illustrator! From inspo to tips to life as an illustrator - have a wee read.....
Where do you live/work?
I work and live in the middle of Berlin in my home studio.
What do you love about working there?
I have two kids and I can work, when my kids are home. So it´s the best way to combine family and work for me. My working space is very quiet and when I look outside I directly look into a great and magnificent tree. When I need some people around me I can easily work in one of the many coffeeshops nearby.
What are your dislikes?
Sometimes it can be very lonely and a studio with some other illustrators would be nice. I also would need more space for all my samples and books. But due to my family situation it needs to be close to my flat and that´s not so easy to find.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
For me it´s the best job in the world. I do what I love for a living. And holding products with my illustrations on it and especially my books in my hands is so amazing.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I mostly work digitally but I also love to paint in acrylic and gouache. I always start with many drawings. Then I scan them in and redraw it with my wacom tablet. I also like to do some textures with paint or drawings with a nip pen, which I mix up with my vector illustrations in photoshop.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
Animals, animals, animals...
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
It´s really tricky becoming an illustrator, especially one who can make a living with it. It took me years to make it as a freelance illustrator, I tried out a lot while I had a part time job as illustrator and screen designer for a small agency. But I had times when I wanted to quit and become a chocolatier instead.
What or who are you inspired by?
I´m inspired by nature, traveling, my kids, instagram and pinterest, books, doing nothing, other artists and illustrators, animals, trends,... my eyes are always open for inspiration:)
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
My kids are my spare time - my husband, too:) I would and should do more yoga - I do it once a week and I would love to read more books. The weekends we always spend in the nature. We have a little house in the forest, far away from the city, I love to do long walks through the forest. In summer I do Stand-up paddling and I looooooove to travel.
How did you get into illustration?
My mother is an children’s book illustrator and I always wanted to become one, too. I studied graphic designs (as there were no possibilities to study illustration in that time) and then worked as an illustrator and screen designer for an agency producing children’s TV and websites. After having my kids I started to work as a freelance illustrator. My plan was doing surface and pattern designs but then some book publishers found me and asked me to do books with them. This was a dream come true! Since then I did lots of board books, which I mostly also write.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
You have to really, really want this. It can be very hard and frustrating in the beginning.
You should try out a lot and if something don´t work then try out something new.
Try to have multiple income streams and never undersell yourself!
What’s your ultimate dream?
I had a lot of dreams in my illustrators-life, that I never thought could come true and today so many of them are already true!
But I´m still a day dreamer and I like to dream big, so my ultimate dream would be a children´s book which is known in the whole world!