Anke Weckmann is a star illustrator who's drawings are featured on many of our favorite products in our Artify line. Originally from a little town near Hannover in Germany, she moved to London where studied illustration. Her work has appeared in magazines, books, advertising, on greeting cards and products spanning London, New York and Paris. Read more to learn of her love for drawing.
In primary school I planned on being a writer, even though I wasn't really writing, I was mostly drawing!
I've always been inspired by great fictional characters, particularly female ones.
Many young artists would make it a lot easier on themselves if they didn't obsess over style and just kept on making the work they wanted to make!
What was it like being little Anke and when did you know you were going to be an artist?
It was fun being little Anke! I had a lot of picture books and big rolls of paper and crayons. And I played outside a LOT, building huts, climbing trees, roller skating , riding my bicycle and drawing with chalk onto the street. In primary school I planned on being a writer, even though I wasn't really writing, I was mostly drawing! But I just loved books so much. Growing up I always knew I wanted to MAKE things. I went to fashion design school first which helped me to understand that my true love was drawing. So I moved to London, studied illustration and never looked back.
What influences your style as an artist?
Style to me is just what happens when you keep drawing and drawing. Just like your handwriting develops simply from writing. Many young artists would make it a lot easier on themselves if they didn't obsess over style and just kept on making the work they wanted to make!
For my own work, even though it is usually digitally coloured, I want it to look hand made so I draw everything in ink on paper before scanning my drawings. I tend to focus on making the shapes in my work beautiful and simple, rather than for example cross hatching or adding shadows. Simplicity can be deceptive because a lot of thought goes into what is essential and what can be left out. I usually work with more or less limited colour palettes and enjoy doing black and white work, too.
When it comes to other people's work that I like, I often enjoy art that's very different to mine in aesthetic - perhaps because I spend so much time with my own work that it's refreshing to step away from it.
I've always been inspired by great fictional characters, particularly female ones. It started with Pippi Longstocking when I was really small, later Anne of Green Gables, Harriet The Spy, Cassie Ainsworth, Katniss Everdeen, Lisbeth Salander. They're all strange and cool and brave and different. I'm also inspired by little details, nature and cosy things. Well, and it's no secret that I like cats. It's always fun when I get to draw cats.
Your healthy diet / foodie account on Instagram is very inspiring to me. What do you focus on most in life these days - any formulas for happiness you’d like to share?
Oh, thank you! It's fun to take pictures of your food, isn't it? Firstly, I'd probably be very wary of anybody who claims to have formulas for happiness. Don't trust any of them! It's so different for everybody.
I still love drawing so much, which means I sit a lot - I'm sure it is more than humans were ever designed for! When I first started to illustrate full-time in 2008, I developed lots of aches and pains from sitting all day, which is a problem for virtually all artists I know.
So I joined the gym to get stronger and started to be interested in yummy, simple, healthy foods to keep up my energy levels. If I can go for a long run in the morning, see some nature and meet some cute cats on the way, I can then sit down and work for hours pain-free and happy, which is the best. And potatoes make me happy, too.
How did you feel when you learned that TCFS was launching in Paris, London, and New York?
So, so excited! When I started to work with TCFS, it was a small line of cosmetics within TodaCosa stores and over the years it has first become its own store, then many stores all over the world! Even though I had seen the products and many pictures of stores, the first time I saw a TCFS product I illustrated for sale was when I went to Sephora in NYC last autumn. It was so much fun.
If there is one thing you could wish for, what would it be?
I would like to travel the world and keep drawing until I'm at least 105 years old.
as told to Too Cool For School
New York City, June 2017