Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Johan Lindström: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Swedish illustrator Johan Lindström is a multi-talented father of three who trained in animation but also draws, knits and sews. For Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion he was inspired by varied modes of transport to create a fantastical road full of people from all walks of life.

Johan Lindström
Johan Lindström
I believe you only came to illustration relatively recently – why only now and what were you doing beforehand?
I´ve always done creative things like drawing, painting, knitting and sewing, and when I was little I wanted to be a fine artist. But during art school I discovered computer graphics and wanted to learn more so I went to a 3D graphics program at the university and fell in love with animation. After graduation I worked as a character animator in the games industry for several years and when I one day found myself without a job I decided to start freelancing as an animator. Being a freelancer made my creativity explode and I started to draw and paint again for the first time in years and I realised that what I had really wanted when I was little wasn’t to be a fine artist but an illustrator!

Johan Lindström
How do you juggle your commitments to your family with being an illustrator?
I have always considered it a great advantage for me to have children in my life. I became a dad in my early twenties and that influenced me to become more structured than I was before and definitely more focused on what ever I take on. One of my biggest inspirations are my children, they remind me of what´s important in life and I try to spend as much time as I can with them and since I’m freelancing I now got the freedom to do that.

Who taught you to knit and is this a common thing in Sweden? what kind of things do you make?
Haha, no I don’t think it´s that common in Sweden to knit, not for guys at least. My mom taught me when I was in my teens, I just thought it was cool to be able to design my own winter clothes. Since it´s cold and snowy for six months a year here in the north, warm hats, gloves, and scarves are kind of a big deal.

Johan Lindström
What is it about the handmade touch and happy accidents that you think make a good outcome?
When I was younger I could spend hours and days on remaking my drawings and paintings, I was never satisfied with the result. It was a big turning point to realize that (for me) it´s the imperfection that tells the story and makes art interesting. I try to keep my work as handmade as possible, I love the happy accidents and wonky feeling of a not-so-perfect drawing. So I usually draw and paint everything by hand and scan it and then put it together digitally.

I discovered your work on instagram and invited you to take part in this open brief, what is your favourite thing about using instagram?
I guess it´s for the same reason that I love illustration and animation – using images to tell stories. Instagram is a great place to meet new people around the world that share the same passions in life and it has become my number one source of daily inspiration.

What kind of animated videos do you make?
I mainly do motion design and explainer videos for companies and advertising agencies. A long term goal is to start doing more personal work within animation too, and further integrating my illustration style in my animations.

Johan Lindström
Who do you design patterns for?
I hope to design patterns for companies to be used for fabrics and home decor in the future, but at the moment you can find my patterns at Spoonflower and Society6.

You have said that you like to explore the roles of gender in your illustrations, why is this important to you and how do you set about doing this in your personal work?
We live in a society that still wrestles with inequality, which is quite apparent in visual language where men and women are often portrayed differently. I try to break these stereotyped patterns in my illustrations to challenge the norm of genders. As a man it also feels relevant to challenge the idea of masculinity that I think can be harmful to both society and people in many ways, but also (the lack of) fatherhood in art is something that interests me a lot.

Why have you decided to portray men as reptiles and lizards in your series about the way men deal with their feelings?
Well I wanted to do illustrations about the absurd notion that men can’t express their feelings by nature or that we don’t have the same need for them as women do. I thought portraying us as lizard men with our lizard brains made the absurdity even more obvious.

Who is featured in your artwork for my colouring book and where did you find your source material?
I love drawing real life people doing real life stuff and I think it´s funny how different ways people choose to get from one place to another, so I did an illustration where different people uses different ways of transport. My references and inspirations are a mishmash of my own photos, library book and the good old internet.

Enjoy Johan Lindström‘s work and that of so many other talented artists in my upcoming colouring book Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available soon from Kickstarter!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,Fatherhood, ,Gender, ,illustrator, ,instagram, ,Johan Lindström, ,Kickstarter, ,Parenting, ,pattern, ,Society6, ,Spoonflower, ,surface design, ,Swedish

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