Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.
I’m tickled Autumn leaf pink to be chatting it up with the darling Illustrator/Designer, Puck Selders! I’m a fan girl for all her adorable designs and can't wait to share them with you! Puck lives in Leiderdorp, the Netherlands, with her partner and two wonderful children. She is represented by Brenda Manley Designs and is passionate about drawing, painting, fabrics and beautiful colours. Puck studied Fashion and Textile design at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. After graduating, she started working in-house as a babywear designer for several companies for about 13 years. After that, she became freelance, so she could focus on surface pattern design and illustration. Puck loves all things cute, stationary, fabric, children’s books, going to the theatre, the beach, being outside, rollerskating, dancing mambo and everything food related. You can view more of her artwork here!
|Busy, busy construction site! What do you want to build?|
Q: You’re superstar power is creating adorable characters and patterns for a variety of art licensing markets! Dish with us about your creative process: inspiration to sketches to final art—all the fabulous details.
A: Sometimes I make little doodles and sketches with pencil and paper first, without looking for reference, just using my imagination. Scan it into Illustrator and work from there. But mostly, I start gathering some reference first (not too much!) and then just start drawing in Illustrator, with my tablet and pen. I do have a lot of fantasy, so ideas just appear while drawing—yay! I also love to make textures with paint, scan it into illustrator and have a play with it. I recently started making lino prints, too—so much fun! Love to try new things!
As far as inspiration, I love Instagram and Pinterest! So many wonderful artists! I also use trendboards provided by Brenda Manley, my lovely agent. And just by looking around, nature, playing kids—inspiration is everywhere!
|Santa is totally already in the holiday spirit!|
Q: You worked for more than a decade as an in-house babywear designer before becoming a freelancer. How has that experience shaped and influenced you as a freelance Illustrator/Designer—both from an artist and a businesswoman perspective?
A: I learned so much while working in-house—everything from setting up themes, colourcards, moodboards, building collections, drawing styles and artworks to preparing photoshoots and making salesbooks. But also, technical stuff about fabric qualities, printing, embroidery and applique techniques and how to send your work to manufacturers, so they understand what to do. Super valuable information I still benefit from.
When I started as a freelancer, the first commissions were babywear design gigs. That was great to start with, because I knew exactly what I had to do. But I also wanted to focus more on surface pattern design and illustration and had to build my portfolio, so I spent hours and hours drawing and doing some online classes. I loved making cute baby and little kids art while working in-house and that’s still my favorite thing to do.
|Fall foxies are ready to play! Are you?!|
Q: What is a typical workday like for you? Set the scene (workspace, materials, accessories) and describe your responsibilities (art making, business stuff) and creative juju (rituals, inspiration, process).
A: Everyday starts with a big mug of coffee! Then, when the kids are off to school, I’m off to my workspace, which is at our attic. I always work with some music on the radio and if it’s not too cold, an open window—I love fresh air. I work on a PC using Illustrator, Photoshop and a Wacom pen and tablet. Since I’m represented by Brenda, I mainly work on new art—my favorite thing!! Before she was my agent, I used to spend a lot of time contacting possible new clients, sending emails, looking around which companies could be a good fit with my art, etc. I work until it’s time to pick up the kids from school. I regularly work nights, too, sometimes because there’s a deadline and sometimes because I just want to draw.
Q: Tell us all about your MOST favorite illustration project: one from your past and one from your present.
A: I once designed a series of artworks for Zeeman and they made a variety of products with it, like stickers, toys, colouring books—really cool to see those products in the shops. Recently, I sold quite some designs to Stoffonkel, a fabric company. It’s so cool to see my designs become fabric and the things customers make with it! For the future, I’d love to see my art on Paperchase products or design some kids tablewear for Rice or design baby toys. But actually, as long as I can just draw cute stuff, I’m super happy!
|Time to blast off & have an adventure!|
Q: What advice would you give fellow freelance illustrators on the following topics:
1) self promotion 2) trade shows 3) following trends?
A: 1. Get your work out there! On social media, your website—You never know which company/ agent/ art director will come across your work and might contact you! Also, send emails with some samples of your work to companies that you think are a good fit for your style. Don’t give up too fast if you don’t get a response! I know it can be super frustrating not getting responses, but just try again after a few months with new work.
2. I’ve never been to a trade show myself, so I can’t tell you a lot about it, but my agent does attend a few each year like Blueprint and Surtex. Super exciting! Busy times preparing art, postcards, blurbbook, flyers, but I love it all. I really want to go to Surtex someday!
3. I definitely think it’s important to keep your eyes open and be aware of what’s popular and trending. I think it’s a good idea to follow some trends. I did quite a lot of unicorn and mermaid designs—lol. Customers kept coming back for more. But I don’t follow trends that are just not my cup of tea—like the trend with bugs, no thanks! Sometimes it’s ok to say no, right?
|Mermaid really do have more fun!|
Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.
A: Hmmm, well. First, sleep in, then a lovely breakfast with coffee, croissants, fresh fruit & juice… After that I think we’d go to the beach, have a great time there, and of course, more food—haha! After that we’d go home, have home-made pizza for dinner and when the kids are asleep, we’d watch a movie.
Thank you so much, Puck, for chatting it up with us here at Bird Meets Worm! We think you're fabulous!!