Today, we’re talking with Susanne, a graphic designer and self-taught artist who has made a big impact with her “Tiny Tales.” We are excited to share her story with you and to welcome her to the #PeopleOfPaperblanks community. To see more from Susanne, be sure to check out her art profile on Instagram: @sannesarts.
A Little Bit about Susanne
City: Munich, Germany
Passions: Art! I love art and creativity in all forms, the feelings, thoughts and stories behind each piece of art – which I imagine. And stories! I love stories in all variants. They are my true passion because I like pictures where I can see stories behind them. I love reading books, playing video games and watching movies – especially fantasy and science fiction, because they have many possibilities to create your own fantasy world.
Education: I have an education as a media designer.
Occupation: Graphic designer
Creative Works: I worked for several companies as a graphic designer in the print and web sectors. This includes many different areas like tourism, healthcare, insurance, banking and gastronomy. Additionally I have worked as an illustrator on special projects for children.
Favourite Quote: “Creative people do not see things for what they are, they see them for what they can be.” – Julie Israel
2) We first noticed your art on Instagram when you tagged us in a photo of one of your “Tiny Tales” illustrations. What is the story behind this recurring theme?
In normal situations of everyone’s daily life I imagine sometimes smaller and sometimes bigger stories.
I will give you an example for my Tiny Tales 4:
I took the train to go to my office and there I saw a girl with her dog. And it seemed to me that the girl only stared at her mobile phone, without thinking about her dog. Then I got a vision for a new Tiny Tale. I imagined them going for a walk: At some point she wants a break and lies down in the colorful foliage. After a short time the dog is bored and wants to play. But the girl is daydreaming, probably she is in another more exciting world, and so she has forgotten her little dog and doesn’t even notice that he wants to have her attention. And this poor little fellow is collecting one stick after another, to coax her to play with him.
And another interesting example is Mr. Ticktack and the Happy Snail in Tiny Tales 5:
Sometimes I get to know new people who inspire me. For example someone who is always stressed, like Mr. Ticktack with the clocks on his head, which are symbols of his stress and burden. And on the other side there is someone who does not stress himself and is more easygoing and that is the little snail. Maybe she will not reach as much as others like Mr. Ticktack, but she is more relaxed and doesn’t carry as great an emotional burden as others do. And that leads to more happiness… and maybe more health… only maybe… maybe we should all stress a little less.
So many pictures… and so many tiny stories in my head. I wanted to catch some of them that I thought were cute or nice, before they fade away. And one day I found the cute and tiny Paperblanks Micro and I knew right away they are the perfect medium for my tiny tales. And so I will fill these cute books with my tiny fantasies.
My biggest dream is to illustrate a children’s book. Perhaps one day these tiny tales will lead me to something bigger…
3) In addition to these adorable small creatures, you create full-page and larger-scale artworks, too. Do you have a particular format you prefer?
Not really, they all trigger different positive emotions in me and offer their own possibilities to be creative. It’s hard to describe. If I draw on canvas everything feels so big. I can lose control and experiment as much as I want. And the result of these experiments creates a big impact. At least it feels like that. With canvas I like to draw abstract, sometimes with meanings you recognize at first glance. But at second glance you could realize that, for example, a dancing couple or a swarm of birds are hiding in the paintings. At a larger scale I can work more in more detail. That’s why I like to draw in bigger sketchbooks. I have enough space and feel free to create much more for little effort. And I can do that everywhere, because the sketchbook is compact and I can carry it with me everywhere.
But the tiny scale is really special. Your Paperblanks Micros are just too cute! And my pictures on these tiny pages become cute, too. I really love them!
4) You also use a variety of mediums to create your work, from watercolours and acrylics to simple pencils. Do you prefer one medium over another?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes I like to lose control and sink deep in my feelings, so then I use watercolors or acrylics for abstract paintings – the color chooses its own way and I can see what happens. And when I use pencils I will have the control over the paintings. It depends on what is going on in the rest of my life, like at work and in relationships with family and friends… everything I have to deal with.
5) Animals seem to be common subjects in your work. What appeals to you about depicting animals?
The answer is simple. I draw animals because I love them! They are so beautiful, even the insects. There are so many different species, with their own world and a completely different life than ours. I wish I could know what their thoughts and feelings are. I guess I feel that the more I paint animals, the more familiar I will become with their inner beings. I want to draw as many of these interesting creatures as I can, because it expands my world and inspires my imagination.
6) Do you have any themes you find yourself returning to?
Hmm… are there any themes? Perhaps people and animals, because it makes me happy to draw them. But I don’t think there is just one real theme that I’m addicted to. I like to experiment with new things. I am open-minded for everything – new suggestions and interesting projects.
7) You’ve also shown photos of your art journal on Instagram. What made you decide to keep this type of notebook?
It’s because I have more opportunities to be creative. Art journals give me the opportunity to try new things like combining different medias and techniques in just one piece of work. You can be free and experimental in endless ways. The results are always very interesting. You can’t do anything wrong, because your thoughts and feelings are reflected on these pages and only the artist himself can judge whether it’s a success or a failure. Within an art journal you can do crazy stuff and design beautiful motifs. Every page has a new style and combination of materials. I love that.
8) Has anyone, or anything, in particular inspired your creativity and artistic passion?
There was nobody special. I’ve drawn since (let me think about it)… ever. I already liked drawing as a little girl, when the drawn dresses were just triangles and the drawn heads of my characters were simple circles. For as long as I can remember, pictures and stories have been my passion. They perfectly match each other. In every picture is a story. When I am reading books or listening to a story it creates pictures in my mind. Then I have to release all my impressions.
9) Have you received any formal training in the arts?
No, I just got normal drawing lessons at school. When I was young I wanted to study art but my family always said painting is “breadless art.” They wanted me to work in some solid job, with a steady income. I found my own way and became a designer. The job as a designer is also very creative and I really love what I do. Everything that you can see in my art is self-taught.
10) Any advice you would like to share with aspiring artists?
Just do what you like! You do it for yourself and it’s a balm for your soul.
Do not despair if you don’t like the result. Just keep going, you will get better and the only thing that is important is the joy of drawing itself.
Would you like to share your art with the world, or do you have any artistic friends whose talents you think should be showcased? Message us on Facebook or send us your friend’s name to be featured on our Facebook page as part of our new #PeopleOfPaperblanks series.
About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.