Artist Interview: Bambi Edlund

Bambi Edlund is one of our newest artists to join ImageZoo. I just love her illustration style, so I was happy when she agreed to be interviewed. Read on to find out what inspires her and what she’s been up to.

When did you know you wanted to become an illustrator?

Illustration has always been part of my life, in one form or another—since I was a kid I have gone through phases when I didn’t draw, but I always come back to it. Professional illustration just sort of crept in from the sidelines, as I did little pieces to fit into the graphic design projects I was working on. Then it took on a life of its own, as it tends to do.

What or who inspires you to create your work?

I have different buckets that my illustration styles fall into, and they are inspired by different things. The food info graphics I have been creating the past few years are inspired by my hunger for knowledge on many random subjects. Conversations with me tend to be peppered with the phrase “Did you know…”. That’s what the food info graphics are for me—a fun way of sharing information that I find interesting.

The other side of my illustration is animal-based. I am enthralled by all animals, particularly urban wildlife, so inspiration is never far away.

I see you did a nine-month daily drawing project called Le Pen Quotidien. Can you tell us about it and why you started it?

The daily illustration project was an incentive to draw more regularly, to give drawing more of a priority. I drew the posts the same day—I didn’t stockpile or re-use old work. It definitely served its purpose—it got me drawing, but it also made me much better at sharing my work, even when I knew it wasn’t perfect. I was working full time as a creative director and designing a magazine at the same time, so there was no time for perfection, I just had to get it done and posted, because there was a new one to do tomorrow. It was surprisingly liberating, and I learned so much.

What is your favorite thing to draw?

That’s a tough one to answer. I love drawing intricate machinery as line drawings, loose and playful animal characters with dip pens, and softer but sassy animals with watercolours.

Aside from drawing, what else do you like to do?

I love to cook and bake, swim in the ocean, travel. I have a 15-month old puppy who receives much of my attention these days. I also have a bit of a book addiction.

Can you tell us about a favorite illustration project you recently did?

I had a lot of fun doing a page on cheese for the Edibles magazines, it’s always fun to find out little tidbits while doing the illustrations. I also have been having fun with a series that I call “fauxtanicals”, pages done like botanical  book plates, but with decidedly non-botanical elements.

Who are the artists that you most admire?

Quentin Blake for his ability to make quickie line drawings so charismatic; Oliver Jeffers for his great sense of humour and his ability to create such believable worlds so simply; Anita Jeram for creating the most adorable animals ever; Mattias Adolfsson for his inspired genius; Lydia Nichols’ fantastic use of colour and her great animals; my friend Linda Silvestri’s sassy and ever-confident characters. Jim Henson was probably the biggest influence on me in a larger sense—his gentle genius took me over as a kid. The way he combined animal and human characters as if there was no difference whatsoever made perfect sense to me. I saw a Smithsonian exhibit on him in New York last year and it renewed his influence. He was amazing.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on a step-by-step guide to making tamales for Edible magazines, some hand-lettering for a personal project, and some watercolours of smug raccoons and cocky crows.

Thank you for sharing Bambi! Be sure to check out her collection of food and animal images.


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