Karoline Pietrowski

Cover portrait by: Jennifer Zehl © (jenniferzehl.de)

Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I was born on the 25th of December in Pyskowice, Poland but I grew up in Duisburg, Germany. When I was a child drawing belonged to my greatest hobbies. Even then I wanted to be ''famous'' for my drawings (haha) and draw manga comics like my current favorite artist, Arina Tanemura. I was inspired by different comics, anime series and video games. Also movies of course, I was and will always be a huge Disney fan. During my communication design studies I got in contact with different illustrators and artists, learned how to work as an illustrator and decided to start my career too.

Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I didn’t go to an art school but I studied communication design, which helped me to understand the world of graphic designers and advertising agencies a bit better. Certainly, an art school can help you to learn the basics of different techniques and expand your horizons, but in my opinion the most important thing is to be inspired by other artists, whether by teachers, students or friends. And of course practice makes perfect.

Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
It was difficult. My family thought it would have been better to make some money first and draw just for fun. I came from a strict-behaved family, where a good degree is the most important thing for the future. I also believe it to be very important, not just because of the degree itself, but mostly because of the experiences and people you meet. I got to know a lot of great people who helped me to take the right steps to get jobs and earn money. After a while my parents realized that this is the way I want to live and that makes me happy. I'm really glad about it.

What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up (artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.)?
My strongest artistic influence in my childhood were all the amazing 90s cartoons and animation movies.

Did you have a favorite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
I always loved to draw cute and girly stuff. At the time, when I started drawing I loved to develop new stories about my favorite series and characters. I’ve drawn a lot of comics and developed new characters for it. Today I’m mostly inspired by everyday situations. I love to draw girls in nice fashion outfits and also other subjects that in a way reflect the people I met or the moments that I have experienced in my life.

What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I mostly work in Photoshop for my digital pieces. I love experimenting with new brushes and testing different tools and styles of digital painting. But I also love to paint traditionally with watercolor. It's a great way to relax myself after a long day. 

What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
Find an idea is the hardest part for me, but when I find one then everything goes by itself.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
I get up, have a nice breakfast (my favorite meal), drink a lot of coffee and work on different projects for clients and publishers. After a break while playing some video games, I work until my boyfriend comes home and then I spend time with him or with friends. I mostly work alone in my home office, so I don't have anyone to collaborate or work with. This can be very relaxing and really calms my nerves, because I can listen to my favorite music soundtracks and I don’t have to dress up, haha.

What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
Always try something new and DON’T BE AFRAID. As an artist, you need to try new things to grow and to broaden your mind.

What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
As much as I love to draw characters, I also like to fill books with beautiful illustrations and typography and I absolutely love to share my knowledge and experiences with other artists. That's why at the moment I’m working on a book about drawing and sketching for beginner artists for a great german book publisher.  In the recent past I have also worked on ''Stilgefüh'', a book in English and German about personal styles of drawing (different artists talk about their experiences and tips to find your own style of drawing). Furthermore, I developed a character for a company, a little monkey, who is presenting kids stuff and toys for different topics on their website and online shop. 

Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
Freelancing. I need to feel free. Having control of my schedule, workflow and deadlines is important to me since I am a very organized person. Being so independent also gives me more time to spend with my family so for now I am very happy with this decision. Of course I would also love to work with a team and maybe one day I will.

What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
Do something completely different, don’t waste your time in front of a blank sheet. Go out, take a walk with your dog or just watch people. This can be very inspiring.

Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there are lots of choices. When you’re young, sometimes you know only one thing: you love to draw. What should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
Give to every choice a try. I have tried many things in the past and I will keep doing it in the future. You can never say to yourself  ''this is and will always be the right choice''.

Many art teachers and schools suggest to their students that a commercial artist should always work in one consistent style if they wish to have a healthy career. In your own experience, do you believe this to be true?
No, because you're constantly grow as an artist and you shouldn't restrict yourself. At the same time it's important to find your own voice and to develop your unique style of drawing. It's really a personal journey. ''Stilgefühl'', the book I have mentioned before, explores this topic even further and contains many tips and experiences shared by several Artists.

What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
Work with a great team of artists on a video game would be amazing!

If you had to recommend only one art book (a comic book, graphic novel, children book, ''how to'' book) to a fellow artist, what would it be and why?
Paper Dolls by Kerascoët. It’s full of different illustrations, sketches, doodles and great inspiration.

Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs out there?
Zoe Persico, Kerascoët, Uwe Heidschötter and Frannnerd.

Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
My treasure: ( www.karolinepietrowski.de ), Illustrations and sketches: ( www.karolinepietrowski.tumblr.com ), Process shots and life: ( www.instagram.com/karolinepietrowski ), spontaneous thoughts and news: ( www.twitter.com/karopiet ), Videos and Time Lapse: ( www.youtube.com/c/KarolinePietrowskiIllustration ), prints and other stuff: ( www.redbubble.com/people/karopiet/shop ). Elsewhere: ( www.facebook.com/karopiet ).

Thank you Karoline :)