From cartoons to collage and from children’s books to abstract portrait prints, Stefanie Clemen’s portfolio is full of colourful artwork created in a variety of styles. Based in Hamburg, she’s got clients around the world and has been a particular hit with book and magazine publishers, grabbing many awards over the years.
Stefanie has always found it harder not to draw, and has always felt compelled to sketch away and try out new techniques. Since childhood, she’s been interested in tiny creatures like insects, frogs and newts, and drawing them. Her earliest commissions came when she was still a student, and helped fund her studies. She’s also worked in set design, and was a sketch artist for a top German TV channel before becoming a full-time freelance illustrator.
Aside from gazing at crawly creatures, she’s inspired by the drawings of Aimé Bonpland, and Ernst Haekel’s geometric lifeforms. She listens to The Eels and is also interested in movie special effects.
Stefanie studied Communication Design at the Free Art School in Stuttgart and later at the Folkwang-Schule in Essen where she specialised in free drawing and calligraphy.
The best way to start a job is to begin drawing, and that’s what Stefanie does, exploring ideas and refining them. The materials she uses will vary depending on the commission and the look and feel she’s after. For instance, when she does illustrations for children’s books she loves using all kinds of inks, really interacting with the paper, even leaving drips on the edges of the page for that true art feeling. Most images are started using traditional media, then digitised with a scanner. Stefanie also enjoys a mixed media approach, with everything from chewing gum wrappers to small pressed flowers making their way into her work. The finishing touches are done using Photoshop.
Light, fun, gentle, expressive and a touch naïve, Stephanie’s work suits all sorts of projects. Her drawings display a cartoonist’s sense of humour and she can hone the style to meet any client’s needs, using drawings, collage, and even objects she’s physically made for the image.