Designer Spotlight: Inga Wilmink

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, I'm Inga - I'm a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer specialising in quirky, colourful designs and illustrations for products. I'm originally from Germany, but studied Graphic Design in England and started my career in the design team of a large UK retailer/stationer, which is what sparked my passion for stationery and the surface design world. I love to draw happy, colourful characters and make them into repeats.

 

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Stop looking at other artist's work (so much) and trust yourself more, girl! It can be very disheartening looking at other people's amazing pieces, which look so effortless when presented in their final form. You don't know how much sweat and tears have gone into that piece. It's also very important to design for yourself, not for others. I've worked in a big company years ago, with everyone from the art director to new product development, buyers and project managers wanting to have a say in the design. If there's one thing I learnt there it is that if you try and please all the others your work will get pulled apart and diluted - design for yourself and the results will shine, because the process was un-pressured, instinctual and because you had fun with it.

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I try to look at something completely unrelated - this might be something on Pinterest or a piece of furniture or art in my flat or a flyer that's popped through the door - and try to relate that to my current project. It's a little bit like random idea generation that I learnt in college: You imagine or look at a completely random object, and you attribute 5 words to that object. Then you try to separately relate those 5 words to your original problem or concept. Sounds surreal but it really works in getting some varied, quirky ideas on paper that you would have never thought of otherwise.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Oh I'm a pencil and paper girl all the way. Mustn't forget the eraser, either! I think I like this way of working because I'm a bit of a fiddler, often erasing and re-drawing parts of my design until it feels right. I think this is also why I prefer working in Illustrator to digitise my designs, it doesn't feel so final because it's very easy to move things around, scale them, adjust shapes. This process also comes in handy when working with clients who change their mind a lot :) 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

Most of my designs start by doodling with pencil. I draw on loose pages of layout paper which are semi transparent, so I can trace over my designs and improve them that way. Once again I like this way of working because nothing is set in stone, but it also means it's usually quite messy on my desk! Then it's scanning and then tracing the whole thing in Illustrator. For colour inspiration I often use Pinterest, or I just start sliding CMYK values until the overall outcome evokes a sort of happy feeling in my stomach. This might sound dumb but it works for me :) Then it's on to the pattern tool in Illustrator if I'm designing a repeat, I love that tool!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I've designed a few patterns for Jo-Anne's which I'm very fond of, they're just so very cute and playful. I've also designed some letterpress cards recently for elum, I really liked working with a limited colour palette and the use of metallic and even holographic foils. Another project I'm very proud of is my recent illustration work for Macmillan publishers, it's the cover and inside spot art for a middle grade book called 'Sticker Girl'. It included drawing a talking cupcake, a pink pegasus and a little fairy, which are some of my favourite subject matters :)    

Oh and I tried for Lilla Roger's Creative Talent Competition a few years back - even though I didn't get through the first round - this piece of work, which had to feature a terrarium (in my case a light bulb), is very special to me as it really made me push that little bit harder with my work.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

If I was to drop big names I would probably mention 'The Land of Nod', 'Paperchase' or 'Lilipinso'. But generally I would say I like to work with clients who are open in their design approach, clients who don't micromanage and leave a lot of room for artistic freedom.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

Pencil, Paper, Illustrator

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Normally I put on the right kind of music to put me in the mood. I design a lot for the juvenile market so sometimes I put on very cheesy, catchy music to get me there. Some very, very guilty pleasure listening reserved for those afternoons when everything around you is that little bit grey and you can't seem to come up with anything useful. Generally I just really enjoy doodling and seeing where that takes me. 

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

The greatest designer to have lived... oh, oh there are so many! I'm a little obsessed with fairytale illustration, so for me artists like Arthur Rackham or Edmund Dulac spring to mind. Looking at those 'Golden Age' book and magazine illustrations evoke so much in me and I think that's the most important part of art, it's got to stir something in you.

I would like to be remembered as someone who left a positive and inspirational legacy. But that's a little high-brow so maybe I'll just settle for the freckly girl that didn't take herself too seriously, who enriched someone's life by making it that little bit more fun and colourful.

Where you can find me:

website: www.ingawilmink.com

pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/ingawilmink

facebook: www.facebook.com/ingawilminkdesign

instagram: www.instagram.com/ingawilminkdesign