For this month’s illustrator feature we’re taking a look at the talented Jaqueline Diedam’s creative mind! Jackie is based in Cologne and graduated from Köln International School of Design, currently doing freelance illustration and design. I absolutely love Jaqueline’s style and could look through her work for hours. She also has some great insights on how to stay creative and avoid artistic slumps, which I really appreciated. Jaqueline often will illustrate her current scenery within a travel journal which I love! What an amazing way to preserve memories! She sells a variety of posters, stationery, and other items so make sure you check out her website to ogle over!
Check out the whole interview and all her beautiful artwork!
1. How did your illustrative style develop? How has it developed and changed over the course of your career?
I always had an obsession with paper and paint. I went back and forth with my love for arts and illustrations since I can remember. My style evolved and changed so much in the past 5 years, and today I am much more confident with everything I do. It was very muted, delicate and shy, and today it’s quirky, bold, and simple. I think when I started, I was worried about my work being perfect, and today I just embrace the little flaws. I keep challenging myself with new mediums, but I have definitely found my style.
2. What do you doodle when you aren’t making anything for a specific project or client?
It’s mostly travel or floral related. I keep a sketchbook only for traveling and I like to paint places I want to go. Flowers are also a recurrent theme here. I love to paint flowers and nature. Making nice color palettes, and just experimenting is also something I love doing in my ‘free time’.
3. How do you stay original, and what tips on the subject do you have for other creatives?
Paint, sketch, do something creative every day. Even lists can be creative! Sometimes I don’t feel like painting, and instead, I just write down things that I could do when I’m in the mood. It makes me more productive and makes my mind more open to possible inspiration.
To stay original, I would also recommend remembering that if you are getting too inspired by someone else’s work, you might be close to copying it. It’s ok to like their colors, style, compositions, and to get inspired by some of this, but there is always a limit. If you can not explain how your work is yours, you went too far.
4. Along those lines, how do you react when you sense that other people are copying your work?
It’s always harsh, a feeling of theft. I had one work in particular that went viral a few years ago, and it went viral without credit. Suddenly, all over the social media channels and small online market shops, there were plain copies of my work. Sometimes it was even my own piece but a bit ‘edited’. I got very hurt and took it so personally. It impacted me a lot for a whole month. I wanted to prove a point, so I spent endless hours trying to take the copies down, tracking down the shopping owners, and losing my sanity in the process.
During this time, a friend told me to let it go. All I was doing was wasting a lot of energy that could be used to create new work. I did that, and it worked somehow. I managed to fully get back to work, and ever since I try to avoid the black hole of art thieves.
5. Where and how do you get inspiration?
Traveling is a huge source of inspiration for me. Of course, it’s not the cheapest, but I like to think of it as an investment. I like to do a lot of travel planning (even if there is no real possibility of me getting to the destination anytime soon), because it allows me to research a place, find out about local history, and this gets to my work. I’ll think of things to see, things to do, what to pack, what colors and patterns would look nice along this certain type of architecture or nature.
Additionally, I try to make myself get outside more (working from home can be quite debilitating) and go to museums and parks. Going to natural history museums and seeing things not art related can be very inspiring too.
When nothing of this is possible, and I have a huge creative block, I end up with books, magazines, and movies.
6. If you weren’t an illustrator, say, in an alternate universe, what would be your creative outlet?
I love flower shops and bakeries. Fun fact: my mother had a wedding cake business and I used to design cakes for her clients during my teenage years. I actually always wanted to put my eggs in more than one basket, so maybe in the future, I will get to be an illustrator-shop-owner-baker!
7. What does your studio or workspace mean to you?
I work from my home studio, and I think it is my favorite place. It’s always between a bit messy and fully chaotic. There is just so much that came out of my desk and this place was where I took the jump. The walls are always filled with illustration works and the shelves are full of inspirational books, portfolio files, magazines and small travel trinkets. There is always some nice music playing, or a strange podcast. I love listening to real crime podcasts like ‘My favorite murder’. My workspace is also my living room and it’s a shared area, so the area around my desk often is the focus of interest when friends come over.
8. Do you feel that attending art or design school is crucial for an artist to “make it” in 2017?
Personally, I don’t think it’s crucial. I think if you have the chance to study, it’s nice, but if not, just start somewhere and let your work evolve. I went from Product Designer to Integrated Design but never studied illustration itself. It’s nice to have a huge knowledge of styles, mediums, trends, artists, etc because it makes your work more refined. But in the end, I think you can learn a lot from books about the subjects, doing your own research, by attending workshops, or getting your hands dirty trying out things. If you are creative and willing to work, you can get there. 🙂
And print off her beautiful poster and bookmark for Lars Book Club here