Sunday, October 19, 2014

"What I like about you - you really know how to dance!"

Brigitte Liem is an illustrator from the Netherlands. Her current project is "365 songs" - every day Brigitte posts a new illustration of a song on her drawing blog "Sketchbook". With Trade Your Talent she speaks about her favorite music and why her sister is her greatest inspiration.

TYT: Where do you take your daily inspiration from?

Brigitte Liem: I am inspired by many things and especially by cartoons like those from Marc Johns and Sempé, graphic novels like Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, the work of Mariscal and brands like Lazy Oaf, Callate la boca and Kukuxumusu. Also websites like Pinterest are perfect to spark new ideas.
For the lyrics project I get inspiration out of the lines of the songs. When you take a good listen to them they often are quite funny. Some days I have a song in my head all day long so that will be the one I am going to draw. Other days I switch on the radio to get ideas. People also give suggestions for songs.  

TYT: How did you come up with the series "365 songs" and what is your favorite song? 

Brigitte Liem: I started my drawing blog Sketchbook in February 2011 - a small drawing accompanied with some text every week day. After three years I found that it was getting harder to come up with new ideas for drawings. In this period I saw the work of the illustrator Lisa Congdon. She made a book with quotes, all hand lettered by her. She explained that the book was the result of her 365 days project where she practiced her hand lettering. 
I was inspired by that and decided to start my own 365 days project and to develop 'mixing hand writing with illustration' skills along the way. Since songs are like small stories I thought it would be fun to draw (lines of) lyrics. 

A 365 days project usually starts at the first of January but I did not want to wait for New Year's Day. So this one runs from May 2014 to May 2015. My favourite artist is George Michael. I love his voice and I think the song I like most of him is "Kissing a Fool".

TYT: Do you listen to music while you work? Which kind of music inspires you? 

Brigitte Liem: It is quiet when I draw. At other times I listen to the radio, preferably to the Dutch pop station 3fm. And I like to play the record player with many old records from artists like Marvin Gaye and Superstars of the 70's. It turns out that I draw many songs from the 80's. Maybe because this was when I grew up?

TYT: What is it like to be an artist in the digital age? What is difficult? What is helpful to your work as an artist? 

Brigitte Liem: It is a perfect time now: your work does not have to be in a museum to be seen. Through social media you can find your audience and you can see what other people are making and doing and be inspired by their way of working. 
The downside is maybe that social media is always 'on' which can make you feel restless. Also: by seeing other peoples work it seems like everything already has been done. So at times it is good to take a step back from the computer and disconnect.
Very helpful is that you can learn much from others on the internet, as well as they can learn from you. When you need to know something the answer is already available in online courses, explanatory videos on Youtube, etc. I recently discovered They broadcast creative classes from the world's top experts. I am a fan. 

TYT: If you could pick one artist in the world you could work with, who would you pick?

Brigitte Liem: I already work with the artist I want to work with: my sister Francis. The two of us run the illustration and animation studio: Studio Limón ( We create so called 'white board animations' and make illustrations for licensing and logo's.
It would be nice to learn from the best people in the animation and illustration industry. So if I could work with one artist in the world it would not be someone famous but with one who could teach me more technical tricks of the trade in illustration and animation.

Find out more about Brigitte: 


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