The Daily Heller: Where Laura Ljungkvist Draws the Line

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Laura Ljungkvist finished creation schoolhouse successful Stockholm successful 1988, and successful 1993 moved to New York City. As a caller illustrator backmost then, editorial enactment was the easiest enactment to get, truthful she bought a clump of magazines and started making calls and dropping disconnected portfolios connected “drop-off days.” She started getting assignments close away, and her archetypal large occupation was The New Yorker. “They asked maine to marque sketches for their ‘Goings On Around Town’ section, and they ended up buying 20+,” she recalls. “That was a bully day!”

From there, it conscionable continued—as did the improvement of her linear style, which she discusses below.

Laura’s archetypal New York job: Mademoiselle Magazine
Logo for conception successful The New Yorker

How, and why, did your linear benignant evolve?
Sweden, wherever I came from, is simply a very “small market” for an illustrator. It’s casual to get “overexposed” when you’re hot; therefore, you need to beryllium capable to bash galore different styles. While present successful New York, I rapidly learned that determination are truthful many illustrators that it’s imperative that you person your ain idiosyncratic benignant that sets you apart. I had some “one-line illos” successful my portfolio when I came and those were the ones clients responded to and wanted, and soon my portfolio consisted of lone “one-liners.” Then I started evolving, adding shapes of colour successful the background, with the achromatic enactment crossing over, completing the objects. 

Laura’s first “one-liner” was a logo for herself.
Above: illustration for The New York Times’ Letters page. Below: illustration for Harpers Bazaar.
Book screen from Sweden, made successful NYC.
Barney’s section store window.
Laura’s archetypal experimentation with shapes of colour and enactment crossing over, arsenic good as firsthand lettering.
UK Anorak kid’s magazine.
Cover for UK Evening Standard Sunday Magazine.

What books person you done?
I person been really, really fortunate. Working and getting a batch of exposure, adjacent present your style gets “worn out,” and erstwhile different artists [mimic] your style, you need/have to determination on. And the satellite I enactment successful is ever looking for thing new, and 1 time you are not “up-and-upcoming” anymore. The word experienced isn’t needfully a compliment.

Eventually editorial enactment stopped. At the point, it wasn’t truly challenging me anymore. Then I got the thought that I wanted to bash children’s books! And it was a lawsuit of being “at the close spot astatine the close time” that my archetypal publication was published. 

To day I person written and published 13 books (I illustrated 1 for different author). My assertion to fame is simply a bid of 4 for Viking Children’s Books: Follow the Line.

Laura’s latest title. “I was ever uncomfortable with the title ‘author,’ arsenic I was conscionable penning to my pictures … but this 1 I actually authored.’ Research, character improvement and a communicative with an emotionally satisfying ending.”

Your swirling linear graphics ever seemed made for textile designs. When did you commencement your enactment of products?
I recovered these 2 platforms—Society6 and Redbubble—that fto you arsenic an creator use your patterns to different kinds of products. I person ever been fascinated by patterns (an creation teacher I erstwhile had said I “have a fearfulness of bare space”) and I person a room of a cardinal that I person done that I enactment into my illustration work, but that are conscionable crying retired to beryllium placed connected products.

You’ve done books, illustration, movie titles, etc.—does this carnal mean suit you better, oregon is it 1 of the galore media you enjoy?
I person been so tremendously fortunate successful my career, doing truthful galore antithetic thing. As an example—designing a municipality that you put together aft punching retired shapes that travel connected boards in a box. This was an duty from MoMA. I mightiness person had a sleepless nighttime oregon two, but I enjoyed building successful 3D enormously. I emotion a challenge!

3D duty from MoMA.
“When I designed the transverse connected the roof, and the awning implicit the entrance of the hospital, I felt similar a genius.”
The “final” for the hospital.
Chronicle Books’ “punch out” concept.

What are your favourite items?
They each animate me! I emotion to adjust my patterns to acceptable them. But I person a favorite pattern—it’s really an illustration successful achromatic and white, a precise graphic representation of the metropolis of Stockholm that was an editorial, full-spread duty ages ago.

Map of Stockholm utilized for pillows, blankets, aprons and more.

What bash you spot arsenic coming next?
I deliberation you mean what bash you hope comes next?

I person written my first “big people” publication astir dogs. I person multiple children’s book ideas successful my drawer. (One is retired with editors now.) More products! I utilized to thatch illustration astatine a assemblage successful Stockholm, and that is thing I’d similar to bash again. It would beryllium a imagination to person my own product line! I anticipation to beryllium challenged with caller things.

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