One of Swedens most known illustrator must be Jane Bark. Especially for her images back in the 70th of strong free women with a lot of body movement. She is an absolute idol to me. When I was a student she came to our class to show us her work and talk about her profession, and she was so nice. I see her as someone who always been working hard and serious with every image, caring for every little detail, with a strong precise line and a good sense for layout and colour. At the same time not afraid to give an image a funny or daring twist.
I spent this summer reading her biography about her life as an illustrator. You should read it too. It made me inspired and I learned a lot from studying her technique. I even got in to it so much I started to get irritated on her work moral and success… but of course it is a good thing to have something to strive for. There is not a sloppy millimeter, she draws every straw of grass, every brick in a wall, from foreground to background she draws every detail with care. I especially like the way she draw plants and nature and also the way she incorporates that in some portraits, with big details in the foreground and an open landscape in the background.
It is also interesting to read about how she was given both models and photographers by the client back in the 70th when she made her (maybe) most famous illustrations. And how they took photos of “scenes” in different environments, that she could use for reference when illustrating. Hm… not exactly like trying to hunt for reference images on the web, with low resolution and bad lighting, like you probably do today as an illustrator… But the web also offers a chance to quickly find references from all over the world, and that perhaps make it better to work today?
If you have been a tourist in Sweden you have probably met her images and maps at Skansen in Stockholm. The last years she has been doing a serie of portraits of swedish actors, writers, politicians etc. in the magazine Fokus. I few years ago they were exhibited, among with many older images, and I was lucky to see it. And I will go again if there is a chance.
I also visited an exhibition longer ago when her book was released, and it is so thrilling to be able to study other peoples drawings close up and really see what is watercolour, what is colour pencil, is the line ink or pencil. Nerd? Yes!
To see more of her images and maybe order her book, go to Jane Bark.