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Interview with Jannik Stegen

Jannik Stegen is an illustrator from Heidelberg, Germany. In his works he explores geometric compositions and organic elements. Inspired by people and nature he narrates stories through joyful characters; sometimes to tell a message, sometimes just for fun.

Your love of nature serves as inspiration for your work; what exactly about nature excites you the most?

Being outside is something I have always enjoyed, whether to have an adventure or to just relax myself. I am greatly fascinated by animals and I appreciate every opportunity for observation or interaction with them.
Having so many possibilities to escape the city is what I love most about my hometown, so I go for walks in the forest quite often. It always clears my mind and gives me fresh ideas.



How did that start? Have you always illustrated on a PC/tablet, or started old-school with pen and paper?

Drawing analog is equally important to me as drawing digital. My professional projects always start in my sketchbook, its the best way for me to brainstorm and develop ideas. And of course its a lot of fun. But working digital is just too convenient. I used to use layout markers, inks and all kinds of equipment and it was so frustrating whenever I messed up a line.



You’ve painted some of your illustrations on walls several times. What do you enjoy more; working on such a large scale or on a PC?

Hard to say. I like the idea of public art and enjoy working outside. It feels very rewarding once you are done. But painting a mural is physically very tiring. Drawing digitally on the other hand allows to sit in a nice cafe while working. So for my daily practice I would stick with working on my tablet.



How would you characterize your works?

Clever, minimalistic and fun. For me it’s great to achieve a good result through contrast and composition, rather than overloading my drawing with too much detail. I always try to abstract and simplify objects as much as possible while keeping it interesting and emotive.



Have you learned anything new about yourself in the last few years of creating?

A lot has changed for me over the past years. I grew in terms of style and as a professional, but also personally. It’s hard to pinpoint just one aspect. If I have learned something, then that there is no reason to be afraid; neither of growing up nor of staying a child.



What would be an absolute dream project of yours?

Painting murals got me really excited for public art and the layout of public space. I would love to create a large scale design for a square or a whole building, something that really influences the city’s appearance and feel.



What advice would you give to students or graduates who want to become illustrators?

I decided to start freelancing when I felt that my style was well enough developed. But I soon realized, that same as with drawing, freelancing is something you need to learn and practice. For me it was trial and error, but nothing to be afraid of, really. So take it easy, try out different things and don’t loose your passion for drawing.

Exhibtion: This is really happening

A large unused space in the middle of Munich turned into a hotel and public space for a limited time. 4.800 square-meters full of exciting ideas dealing with pop, politics, art, commerce and communities — we can’t wait!

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