Germany, what a place to visit or even live! Introducing the wonderfully talented Beth Walrond, whose work you may recognise. Now living in Berlin (crazy fact for you here the Berlin Wall was built as a mechanism to split Berlin during WW2 between 1969 – 1989) she’s being all arty and getting herself known across in Germany!
Beth, welcome. Please can you introduce your work to us as if we’d only just met?
Hey! I’m Beth and I’m a freelance illustrator. I come from the UK originally but for the last two years I have been living and working here in Berlin. I work on a lot of different editorial projects for newspapers and magazine all over; I love the variety and excitement that this brings everyday.
So your work in five words would be…
Chunky, colourful, textural, light-hearted and geometric.
What are you main inspirations, this could be something you do in day-to-day life, a figure, or even a quote?
My bike ride into the studio, people watching and good conversations.
Name the top five advantages of living in Berlin over London.
- The pace of life is slower and the days feel longer
- The challenges of finding your way in a foreign land make everything that little more exciting
- It’s much more affordable to live here
- It’s socially acceptable to eat a gherkin as a snack
- Trains are always on time.
Your illustration work is wild and wacky and has a very distinct style about it. How would you say this emerges through your own work; is it the concept stages or do you suddenly change direction with your final piece?
I think that it starts to emerge right at the beginning of the project when I read through a text and pull out inspiration. Then my sketches usually dictate pretty much exactly what I will do for the final artwork, so this is the point in which most of the decisions are made. But then colour choices and final small details also help to shape the illustration in the last stages.
Talk us through a commissioned piece and how they come about in comparison to creating a personal piece.
One of the most exciting projects I have worked on recently was an illustration for the Guardians education pages. The brief was really fun – about teachers who are made double up and teach subjects that they aren’t trained in – and there was a lot of potential to create some playful imagery. The deadline was pretty tight, with a few hours to produce roughs and then until the following morning to finish the artwork. I love how the time restraints and the adrenaline of a project like this seem to make the work you produce more instinctive, compared to personal projects where you have as much time as you allow yourself for experimentation and adjustments. I think that both of these extremes are important for the development of ideas and the execution of illustrations.
Quick round questions!!
Concept or final piece? Concept
Germany or England? Germany
Fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction…fact is stranger!
Tea or coffee? Coffee, coffee, coffee.