Susse Linton is an illustrator and pattern designer, based in Älmhult Sweden. It’s been a privilege to have this opportunity to talk to her and learn more about her career, business and a bit of her personal life. Having traveled to different countries and becoming a parent a long the way, Susse has no problem adapting to changes in order to keep her passion and business going.
While most of us find it a challenge to become accustomed to new places, environments and a different culture altogether, Susse shares with us on why we sometimes need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. She is an established artist with a home studio located near a forest. Here is her inspiring story.
What drew you to become an illustrator and surface pattern designer?
When I was in Art College, I thought I would be a painter and the painting department where keen for me to join their department. I loved the textile department and it was quite a new thing to create surface patterns (pre-computer digital textiles). It is a very artist free medium to work in. I love that your design can just change the most boring of objects into something beautiful to enjoy. I also love illustration along with storytelling. I like the connection that an illustration can really convey a story or emotion and add value to a written piece of text.
What is your source of inspiration and why?
Sketchbooks are really important to my creative process. Just playing and experimenting is a really important to generate new ideas. My sketchbooks are like little story books documenting my life and imaginary world.
I have also been very lucky to have traveled around the world and lived in different countries. Looking at my work I think you can guess I love cute things. I have a mini collection items from my travels they also help my inspiration.
Calendar 2019 Issue by Susse Linton
Calendar Mid Sommer by Susse Linton
Calendar Rain Dance by Susse Linton
Calendar Campfire by Susse Linton
What are the tools and techniques that you normally use for your illustrations?
Along with my sketchbook I like to use fine line pens . The Pilot G-Tec C4 is my favorite pen and paint with gouache. Sometimes I paint and scan images and then make them digital. However this year I have been focusing on working more on digital images. I uses a Wacom Intous pro paper tablet.
I love to draw my images by hand onto paper. This magical tool makes my images into digital files. I had a real barrier to working digitally this is a stepping stone from working on paper to a digital image. I love working and exploring new ways to create designs using this method.
I use Adobe Photoshop for my illustrations and Adobe illustrator for my patterns. I am curious about the iPad Pro now that I feel more confident about working digitally. Maybe invest in one this year.
Tell us about your biggest takeaway from the 100-day project?
I highly recommend this project for creative people. It helps you on a creative level pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It helps motivate you and get into a routine. It brings a level of confidence and well-being. It might generate new personal projects or attract new clients. Also you get to connect and support other creatives around the world too!
On a personal level when I took part in the 100-day project, I realised I had set out creative goals for myself but the process has also ended up being a mental reset and new creative routine. Something I have been really lacking since my move to Sweden.
So I started to get up at 5:00 am. I would create my 100-day image. I started to meditate again and added this to my 100-day project practice. Now it’s just instinct to do this and I use my phone less to switching off at night and not opening until my morning routine is complete. Meditating really has had a positive impact on my creative work. I start a piece of artwork clear headed and less negative rubbish bouncing around my my head.
Another positive experience for me was another lesson on letting go of perfection. One of my goals when creating my illustrations for the project was to give myself a time limit of an hour. Create each piece and post it regardless if I liked the piece or not. This was a battle with my inner perfectionism. It was a great way to let go, don’t over work an idea. It made me work faster with unknown digital tools. I enjoyed this process. It made me think and realised I also had to let go of some other things make life so busy. Unnecessary things filling up my day. So letting go both creatively and on a personal level has been an investment in self care and health.
How do you see yourself in ten years time?
Oh, I always find this one a hard question to answer. I am one of those people who just keeps going and going. Constantly creating and feel a need to create everyday. But maybe I should stop and take more time to reflect and think about my future.
I have been designing for a long time but I don’t see myself retiring from creative work and hope I will be creative all my life. Iris Apfel or the photographer Bill Cunningham are really inspiring people to me. They show creativity doesn’t stop at a certain age and a way of life.
I am not sure how the creative world look in ten years time. As the creative space is changing so fast with new tools to work with in the digital space. These tools making life so much easier for creative people. I am concerned it is taking away old school creative thought process. Making happy accidents and messing around with paint and paper.
Maybe in ten years I will turn to painting who knows what the future brings so long as I can still make a living from my creativity and feel happy and content. It would be great if I can provide inspiration for other creative people.
Check out Susse Collection Shop and more on her website www.sussecollection.com. She also recently wrote an article on 10 Tips On How To Move Your Design Business To Another Country.