The illustration work of Maria Källström is endlessly playful and colorful, lending itself well to the children’s books and educational materials she often works with. Källström also creates GIFs, patterns, and all sorts of other illustration work.
Based in Sweden, Källström has been working as an illustrator since 1998. Her style is “a mix of everything,” she says; her work includes cartoon-style illustrations that tell a story as well as more poppy, highly textured images.
On her illustration portfolio, Källström uses Format’s Peak theme to showcase her work in a neat grid layout. A memorable hand-drawn logo gives a personal touch to her site, while a simple sidebar menu allows for easy access to each gallery of work.
We got in touch with Källström to talk about how she started illustrating and where she finds inspiration.
How did you first get into illustration?
I spent three years in India in my twenties, and came in contact with an agency making greeting cards. I had always been interested in art making, but that is where I realized I could actually make a living in that field. So I went back to Stockholm to study graphic design and illustration and eventually did my MFA at the University College of Arts and Crafts.
What tools do you use to create your illustration work?
Most of the time I do the sketching, pencil work, and line art by hand, and the coloring in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I scan different kinds of materials to work as textures. I try not to use digital technique to make perfect things; I’m fond of the ugly-cute and non-perfect.
Tell us about one favorite client you’ve worked with.
A few years back I worked with an interior designer refurbishing some nightclubs in Stockholm, making large-scale illustration wallpapers and wall paintings on set. Because working as an illustrator can be a bit lonely sometimes, it’s always fun to get out of the studio and off the computer. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with returning clients such as Save the Children and Tiger of Sweden.
Who or what inspires your work?
Sometimes I get the feeling inspiration is a mindset. If you’re open to it, almost anything can inspire your work. An unexpected composition in an artwork, a color combination you never worked with, a deadline, or kids’ drawings and their naive way of describing things.
How do you use your website to support your creative career?
I mainly use my website as an online reference for existing and new clients. Using the Format platform makes it very easy to keep the website up to date and good-looking. My clients really appreciate the Proofing part. And one of these days I’ll get my own little print shop up too.
Name two artists we should be following.
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