{the interview series} Bianca Tschaikner

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

>> for the art and lifestyle lovers
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Bianca Tschaikner é uma ilustradora austríaca que gosta de viajar pelo mundo. O seu trabalho deixa transparecer as suas maiores paixões: as viagens, as culturas diferentes, aquilo que torna cada um de nós único... adoro o grafismo expressivo que Bianca usa e a forma criativa como ela dá vida a mapas de cidades para onde apetece viajar também! Leiam e fiquem a conhecê-la melhor.

Bianca Tschaikner is an Austrian illustrator that loves to travel around the world. Her work let her passions show: the travels, the different cultures, the small details that make each one of us unique... I love Bianca's expressive graphism and the way she manages to give life to maps of cities where you feel like running to! Read the interview and get to know her better.

Bianca Tschaikner

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Bianca Tschaikner. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Bianca, I’m an Illustrator, I’m Austrian but currently live in Florence, Italy, and I love drawing maps, travelling and many other things.

2. You studied literature and media design and now work as an illustrator. How was this creative passion born and what was the path that led you here?
I always loved drawing, I have been drawing since I could hold a pen, with the only difference that now I get paid for it. After finishing my studies, I went to live in Tangier, where I worked as a graphic designer for a couple of months, during which time I build a portfolio and began to look for illustration jobs, because this was what I wanted to do. And rather quickly I got enough work to make a living with my illustrations, so here I am.

3. Your work is directly influenced by your many journeys around the world, which seems like a perfect source of inspiration. How do you manage to combine these two passions so well?
All this is possible only because of my macbook, my “portable office”, and the great luck to live in the Internet age, so I can basically work anywhere in the world. But I also have to compromise. I can go wherever I want, but only as long as there is an Internet connection provided, and I always must be available and ready to work, which can have some influence on my travel itinerary, of course. Sometimes I have to stay in my hotel room for a whole day and work, or I can’t go to certain places because they are too remote. But I really don’t mind, I love my work. I’m just always a bit afraid that my macbook might be stolen or break down, which can be more disagreeable in some countries than in others.

4. I love your expressive style and the way you sometimes use your sense of humor to create from observing real life. What inspires you the most to create when you look around you?
It’s hard to tell what inspires me most. Theoretically, everything around me can inspire me, so I think it’s not so much about the object, but about the way you look at it and what happens inside your head. Things just come up. When I think about it, it’s often words or phrases I hear or read, and also faces or other things I see that keep going around in my head for a while until I have to make something out of them to get rid of them. I’m generally interested in the strange, in the unknown in any sense. Maybe that’s why I love travelling, although I think that everything is unknown to a certain degree.

5. I really love your illustrated maps series! How are these interesting compositions born? How is it like to draw the map of a place where you have never been? Tell us about the process.
They were amongst my first commissions, although at that time I never had done any before. Drawing maps really fascinated me, so then maps sort of became my passion – they became part of my personal work, and I also began to collect all sorts of atlases and other books about maps.
Drawing a map of a place I’ve never been? I always loved leafing through atlases, but drawing maps myself is even better. It’s like travelling on paper, travelling with the mind. I think it’s great fun. It’s also a fun experience to visit a place after having made a map of it, like Rome this summer – I definitely knew my way around!

6. Which mediums do you enjoy using in your illustration work, both physical and digital ones? Why?
I use both, although aesthetically I tend to prefer physical. Digital lacks soul, in my opinion, but of course it is extremely convenient, and I cannot imagine working entirely without it. But I like paper and the haptic aspect of art. At the moment, for my personal work I mostly stick with analogue and do everything on paper, but for my commercial work and for the maps I generally use a mix of digital and analogue techniques, also because that way it’s easier to work on an illustration when something needs to be changed, which is the case quite often, especially with the maps.

7. You divide your work between commercial and personal projects – what differs in your approach? What’s the type of commissioned work you prefer to do?
An illustration has to convey a clear message, it has to explain something, otherwise it doesn’t work, so it needs to be really thought-out before I can begin to draw, I need a very clear concept. My personal work is more spontaneous, instinctive and also a lot rawer than my commercial work, less perfectionist, and I definitely use less color, it’s also more serious and darker than the commercial one. But of course commercial and personal also interfere to a certain degree, I also use my personal sketchbooks as a source of inspiration for my commissioned work, and vice versa.
As to my favourite type of commissioned work, at the moment, I really enjoy drawing maps. And I love illustrating books.

8. You have a recognizable style, published work and through your shop your creations travel all around the world! What means do you use to promote your work?
I mainly use social media. I think the web is by far the most important tool for promoting. I have a portfolio site and two blogs, one for my drawings and one for my maps, my etsy shop, and my facebook account where I post some of my work.

9. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
My workspace is a rather small and simple desk, I’ve just had it for two weeks, so there is not much on it, paper, pens, ink, some books and sketchbooks and a shoe box with stationery and other things I need for my work. What I like about it are the blue walls, I think they make a nice background for my drawings, and I like that it’s still new and rather empty, like an empty sheet of paper waiting to be filled up.

10. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
What I love about my job is that there is no regular working day. I work when work comes in, so sometimes I work more, sometimes I work less, and in between I work on my personal projects and do all the bureaucratic stuff. At the moment I spend all afternoon in the printmaking workshop and have to do my other work in the morning or at night. I really like working at night.

11. Besides creating, what else are you passionate about doing?
My other great love besides art and illustration is literature, both reading and writing. I really love books, not only for their content and the knowledge they carry, but also as designed objects. Amongst other things I like doing is learning new languages, I also like cooking (and eating), and when I’m in Austria, I enjoy playing the piano and going on bike rides.

12. You’re based in Austria, but spend most of the time roaming around the world. Tell us a bit about the place where you live now and what you love most about it. Which could be your next stop?
I just moved to Florence to study printmaking. What I love about Florence is that here I am surrounded by some of the greatest works of art and architecture. Living amidst so much culture and beauty and harmony feels just great. Every day I walk through the center I feel really lucky to be here. I also love the fact that there are so many great paper and stationery shops here, and the delicious Italian food, of course.
My next stop, I really don’t know, I guess I will be here for a while, but I would really like to go to Greece.

13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I’m quite content with the era I’m living in, I wouldn’t change. But ancient Greece seems to be interesting to take a look at, because the art and culture of the era fascinates me, and because of its great influence on our own culture.

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also want to become an illustrator?
Draw every day, draw what you love, look at things carefully, always try to become better, and never give up.

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
My plans for the immediate future are to be in Florence and to improve my printmaking skills and my Italian, but I don’t plan any further. I also don’t really think in terms of realistic or unrealistic. In the last couple of years, things happened in my life that I would have never even imagined before. Life holds a lot of surprises, and anything is possible, if you are ready to go for it.

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:

book: Pale Fire by Nabokov
music: The Moonlight Sonata
movie: Persepolis
personality/artist: Isabelle Eberhardt
color: 1A1C3B (a very dark blue)
object: The Nike of Samothrace
animal: Kitten
drink: Everything sparkling, from water to champagne
food: Greek salad
season of the year: Late summer
travel destination: Samarkand
piece of clothing: Silk tank top
secret: I don’t have any. Really ;-)

Thank you for sharing your world with us Bianca!


  1. muito bom. adoro os desenhos da primeira imagem.
    beijinhos Ana


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