Karolin Schnoor is a German illustrator living in London, UK. Her bold, colourful, and elegant work is informed by simple organic shapes and the screen-printing process. Many of her compositions are classic and immediate, appearing just as strong in print as they do online. Her strongly feminine style of depicting women, animals, and patterns makes her a distinguished artist with a remarkable client list, including The New York Times, Royal Doulton, and The Victoria & Albert Museum.
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Tell us about Papirmass print (not pictured)
I made this illustration between commercial projects. I had been using lots of colour and wanted to try something in B&W and really focus on pattern and the use of negative space. I also wanted to draw a woman that felt relatable to me; this began my love for drawing women with thighs! Real thighs 🙂
Where do you create?
Currently, I work from home, which I love, because it means I can be really flexible and my commute is very relaxing.
What is it like working from home?
Working from home can be frustrating, especially when living in a tiny place (shoutout to the millennial generation!) where your work desk doubles as your dining table. I dream of a dedicated workspace with a screen big enough to keep two documents open at the same time. But I also get a weird sense of satisfaction from making it work with what’s available to me right now. So you win some and you lose some!
How do you get into your creative zone?
I’m a bonafide podcast addict. So I have a trusty list of those that get me through my workday and help me focus.
What has your career as an illustrator taught you?
As with most things, I have confirmed that I like to be in control and I am stubbornly convinced that I know what’s best. It is handy that I work for myself and do not have to contend with other people that I’d probably need to (gasp!) compromise with.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
When things feel hard, take it down a notch. I like to get really amped up about stressful or exciting situations, but in the long run, I benefit from a more mellow approach, though I’m still working on that!
What was hard about starting freelance?
In the beginning, because you don’t yet know if all your hard work is going to pay off, it can be hard to stay calm and just work as much as possible. It’s probably a good idea to give yourself a grace period to just try it out without expecting too much right away.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Do as much as you can while you have time (and energy!). Try a bit of everything, and you might be surprised by what you enjoy and where you excel. Sometimes it’s paralysing to get started, which is normal and nothing to be scared of, but learning to push through feeling frozen is a skill you can only acquire through practice.
What does it take to be original today?
I think you almost need to put on blinders. Don’t look at other people’s work and don’t tailor what you create for social media. When you put your audience first, it changes how you think and work, which can be problematic.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
For me, it’s the excitement and potential of beginning a new project. I get to experience that over and over because every job is different, and that’s incredible. It keeps my brain alive!