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Hi, I'm wynlen. I'm a Norwegian illustrator working mainly with ink and watercolors. My whimsical characters make people smile and bring magic to children and playful adults. After working as a graphic designer I followed my dream and began working freelance with design and illustration in 2001. I figured out that illustration is my true passion, so that's what I'm currently focusing on. I plan to make loads of colorful illustrations and children's books filled with happiness. I think it's fantastic to be able to create something every day, and most of the time you'll find me with my nose in a sketchbook, drawing or painting strange characters, or in front of my computer named Igor.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I've always been drawing a lot - and always loved it, so I was never in doubt what to do with my life. I worked with graphic design for a while, but understood that illustration is what I love the most. I found my own style and began to see a future as an illustrator.
Who or what inspires you?
I get most of my inspiration from watching the work of other illustrators and designers. I love children's books, labels, napkins, business cards, posters - everything with a design on it. I find most of my inspiration on the internet and in books. It's also inspiring to look at my old sketchbooks and get new ideas from old work.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
I went to art school and I learned a lot there, but I consider myself mostly self-taught. I have always had a strong interest for drawing, design and colors, so I have gathered as much information as I can about the subject and done a lot of drawing to improve my skills. After I started out as a freelancer I have also become very interested in marketing, and I'm getting better at that from reading articles and books.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
I don't worry about this. I think that as long as I do what I love - and make my illustrations the way I like, I will stay fresh because my personality will be a part of everything I make.
What are some of your current projects?
I've just finished a calendar for 2006, and I work on a children's picture book script and dummy that I will try to finish before the end of this year. One of my goals for next year is to get in touch with publishers who want to use my illustrations, so I have to plan a lot of promotion. Take a look at my blog (http://www.wynlen.no/english/news.php) to keep updated about my latest drawings.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I'm very proud of my first children's picture book.I have both written and illustrated it, and now I'm in the long process of trying to get someone to publish it.
Another project I'm proud of is an animation I did for Norwegian TV2. I'm not an animator, so this was a huge project for me - and I was very pleased with myself when I had finished it.
When it comes to personal projects I'm proud of my journals. I started my first illustrated journal about 2 years ago and I got addicted. It's inspiring to look at the journals filled with my personality and vibrant colors, noticing how my skills are gradually growing.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
When I went to art school I got to try a lot of different mediums and techniques. Right now I'm focusing on my ink and watercolor work, but I hope to experiment a lot with different mediums and projects in the future. I know I would like to get better at painting with acrylics, and learn more about photography.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Believe in yourself and never give up. You will have days you think your work is good, and you will have days you think your work is bad. You'll make mistakes and get rejected, but if you love what you do you won't give up. It's also a good idea to learn as much as you can about your tools, the business and marketing.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
I think that has to do with personal taste. If I'm happy with something I have made I think it's successful (even if it's just a doodle in my journal), and it's great if others like it too.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I remind myself how lucky I am working with what I love. I know I have to work hard to make a living of it - and I do work hard, but it's also important to relax a lot. It feels good to read great comments people have left me about my work, to talk to other creative people and to read articles.
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