TAMMY BOHLENS Shortlist Winner Nominee of the Adelaide Books Children’s Illustration Award
- Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official illustrator’s bio. Do you have any unusual creative habits?
My work process includes drinking a lot of hot chocolate or tea and listening to podcasts throughout the day. I always start my mornings with at least one hour of sketching. It helps me to loosen my mind, get my ideas out and to warm up. Working in a calming space is really important for me. My studio is decorated with lights, art of my favorite illustrators, clay dolls, old book pages, maps and other collectables that inspire me.
- Do you remember what was your first work about and when did you create it?
I always was a creative person. I found freedom in sculpting, writing, photography and painting, but my day jobs never had anything to do with art. Creating was just an outlet for me. In 2016, I heard about the university for illustration (HAW Hamburg) in my hometown and started taking drawing a lot more serious. My first illustration works were urban sketches, fictional portraits and a lot of life drawing studies that I did for the university‘s qualifying examination.
- What are you working on right now?
Right now, I focus on finishing my first picture book. I also have a lot of fun working on an exciting collaborative project with my friends from the wonderful Eiyia collective in the UK.
- What do you deem the most relevant about your work?
What is the most important to be remembered? I put a lot of time into creating my weird characters. I want them to be relatable and to be heavily influenced by our world, but they should still look strange and like they could be from another realm. I always imagine that you may find these creatures in your backyard, or in your attic, in your closet, hiding in the drawer of socks… if you just look closely enough. Creating a world full of stories, mysteries and whimsical atmospheres, that will take people‘s minds somewhere else and give them a little break from the real struggles they may have, is very imporant to me.
- Artists that have influenced your work?
My art was heavily influenced by the classical book illustrations I found in my grandmothers old fairytale books. I also admire the work of J.J. Grandville very much. Especially his collection „Public and Private Life of Animals“ inspired me a lot. Walter Moers‘ illustrations for his Zamonia books also hold a special place in my heart.