Hi Linda, tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I'm originally from Stockholm, in Sweden, where I also went to design and art school. I have traveled and worked in different cities, and lived for many years in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. Now I'm based with my family in the North West Coast of Ireland, and from here I work with clients from all corners of the world. Having lived by seas and oceans all my life, I like to dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean.
What area of illustration do you specialise in/enjoy?
A: I just love to illustrate, and I am probably more inclined to go towards more graphic solutions and not traditional hand-drawn. I do mainly commercial illustration, but also packaging and identity work. For many years I did graphic design like identities and identity systems. They tend to be quite functional so illustration is a nice contrast or complement to that

Self portrait
Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: As a child, I wanted to be an architect. I had a small notepad with preprinted squares I filled in. My dad showed me how to plan and draw so that the doors and windows didn’t block each other, or cupboards when opened. I liked the practical and functional aspect of those drawings. So I drew up houses, and then the rooms, counting squares and planning interiors. I have recently come back to this, trying to make sense of, and map out spaces, seeing how much information you can reduce things too, without losing meaning.
Q: Why did you become an illustrator?
A: For quite some time I had been working as Head of Art & Design in an agency in Melbourne, and just had my son. I felt I had to find a way to spend as much time with my son as possible, as I knew I would never get that time back. But I just couldn’t stop illustrating and do creative things so I started to illustrate when he had naps. Then someone said “could I purchase a print?” and so it continued and with the help of my husband we built up a little family business, attending design events and a small sustainable business was born.
Some of my more unconventional workspaces have been a wardrobe (!), trains and buses, hotel lobbies but preferably I like to work from home.
Q: How have your upbringing/environment influenced or shaped your illustration?
A: My work is definitely inspired by my upbringing, both through ideas and values but also through to colours and content. Usually, content in Swedish design has to have meaning, it is not so decorative, more functional I guess. In regards to that, my illustrations are quite graphic and functional.
Q: Explain how you work?
A: Generally, my work comes from three different areas; our family business, where we have a range of illustrations available. Secondly, I have clients who have been with me for a long time, and the third part would be new clients. It’s a nice mix.
In our family business, I illustrate and attend different events, which I really enjoy. It is one thing to illustrate at home, but I really enjoy to get out to events and illustration fairs to meet like-minded people. Where we live now we have Knock Airport, and in an hour you’re in London, so I attend as many events as I can there and in other cities. It is really intense days, but then I go home to focus on the actual illustration work.
Many of my clients have been with me for many years, or come back when their business is changing direction. I like to see how they are growing, and being an illustrator (& designer) you get an insight into other people's lives. I like that part.
"Waste not, want not." 
Cents for kids, 
Client: Red Dog & Davy
Q: Do you enjoy / or specialise in a particular area of illustration? 
A: I like drawing places, maps, and objects. In particular architecture, it is something that has stayed with me. I also enjoy drawing things for children, and I learn a lot about the world from kids. Often they are really good problem solvers and most things are possible in their world. A bit the same as in the world of illustration. They also remind you of what the important things in life are.
Q: What kind of illustration projects are you most interested in?
A: I like projects with a bit of problem-solving. I think that is what I like about a brief; a phone call and you have a certain amount of time to solve the problem and visualise the solution.
New York Illustration by Linda Fahrlin 
Q: Where do you find inspiration? 
A: Inspiration usually comes to me when I least expect it when I’m not really looking. I think I find inspiration in small things. Everyday things. And almost always when I’m not doing anything at all to do with illustration.
Q: What do you like to draw the most? 
A: New concepts. :)
New York, Honolulu & London prints, by Linda Fahrlin
Q: What illustration- or illustration related project have you been most proud of?
A: I feel good about the illustrations I did when I started up my company, as they have been appreciated by people. A custom version of the “Brisbane” illustration has been used by Brisbane City for a period of I think 4 years now.
I’m also really proud of the “Ask an Illustrator-” series, as many of the illustrators participating are very talented, but are lacking time to showcase their illustrations. It feels good to try to help out a bit with that, and it also connects illustrators to each other. Being an Illustrator can be both lovely and lonely at times, so I think it is nice that we all get to know a bit more about the illustrators behind the illustrations
Q: How does your creative process look like? 
A: When I receive a brief, it usually starts with me looking at the background and asking why things are in a particular way, then I collect facts (I like facts) about the topic. I look closer at how to approach the brief and look for a couple of ideas. Once the idea is clear, I illustrate, and then it usually goes to the client. When I’m not working I usually collect reference material, it can be sketches or photos, words etc.
Skyline, details from illustration for Guinness Store House stationary, Dublin. Client: Goosebump and Guinness Store House.
Q: What are your best tips for staying organised?
A: 1. Do things straight away if you can.
2. Try not to do things twice if you can.
3. Outsource things that other people are betting at doing. Like accounting. It’ll save you time.
Small map, for Guinness Store House.
Q: Being an illustrator you juggle a lot of things from illustration, project management and financials. How do you structure your time? 
A: Divide your day into parts. For example, I try to do all my admin 1 hour in the morning usually. Or pick an admin day.
Q: What do you think makes a good illustrator?
A: Good work ethic and practice, practice, practice.
The ability to interpret and problem solve, and translate into visuals.
Get up and go. No one else will do the work for you. Things are what you make them.
Q: What are three things you’ve learned while working as an illustrator?
A: You have to love illustration, sometimes you sit for hours refining the artwork.
I try to have a couple of projects on at the same time, that allows me to “leave” the illustration for a little bit and get perspective while swapping to the other illustration.
Working as an illustrator you get a little bit of insight into all kind of areas, so you’ll keep learning things.
Illustration for Galway green leaf. Galway City Council.
Client: Galway City European Green Leaf 2017Galway City Council
Q: How have you evolved as an illustrator?
A: For visual expression, I used to have minimal colours, patterns then almost as a reaction against the monotone, I used a lot of colours - and then again back to more minimal expression and so it has continued.
Q: What are your challenges?
A: Time. There are so many projects I would love to do and get involved in. I wish I had more time.
"Your children need your presence more than presents."
Illustration for "Cents for Kids". 
Client: Red Dog & Davy
Q: How do you find time for personal projects?
A: I just do. An hour here and there, and if I have a clear idea of what I would like to do, it goes pretty fast. Recently, I set myself a task to write and illustrate children’s books. More to get used to the format, and the storytelling, and this term I’m also enjoying to be back at Uni for writing, grammar, and literature.
I think I have always liked to learn things in various ways.

"Work with something you love, and you will never work a day in your life."
Illustration for "Cents for Kids". 
Red Dog and Davy
Q: What do you do to maintain a good work/life balance?
A: I find this very hard because illustrating is so much fun and doesn’t feel like work. Time just disappears when I sit down to illustrate. I have taken up surfing though, and I feel like it is such a nice balance to work. Getting in the water clears your mind and makes you leave everything behind. Everyone is usually so friendly in the water. Waves have the most soothing effect. Surfing and art are a bit the same, you have to be really present, there and then.

“Sherlock Holmes”
"He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover, he would have placed himself in a false position." 
Sherlock Holmes; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Q: What would be your dream (illustration) job/commission?
A: It would be lovely to illustrate pictograms and a wayfinding system for an airport.
I often get inspired by the small things in life. Sometimes I see things or imagine I guess. And then I go and draw them. This is from one of my walks in Strandhill. The seals live further out on the sandbanks and sometimes you can hear them bark.
So "Murphy the Seal" a children's book came about.
Q: What 3 things do you wish you would have known before setting up as an illustrator?
A: Always have a contract in place. Learn how to price work and about licensing.
Find someone to get advice from, not necessarily an illustrator, someone that can help out a bit like a mentor. This can also be support groups or collectives. It’s great to get some perspective on your own practice.
I think most illustrators find it hard to promote their own work. But don’t think too much. Get your work out there.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years' time? 
A: Hopefully, my longterm book is finished, and I am very grateful if my family is happy and healthy.
Q: Who, outside the world of illustration, inspires you? 
A: Scientists. People
The Watermelon ice cream maker machine. 
"Tom and the Watermelon" 
Children's book.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Interior wall graphics/illustration for a retail coffee brand in Australia.
Illustrations for an educational publisher.
Creating new illustrations for a collaborative space/popup shop which we hope to have ready before Christmas.
A children's book.
Two illustrations for an exhibition taking place in October at the United Arts Club in Dublin
This terms I'm also studying full time in the evenings!

Various illustrations.
Q: How do I go about commissioning you as an illustrator?
Send me a mail :) studio@atlanticartstudios.com
Instagram: @supertrooperstudio
Twitter: @Atlanticartst
Web: www.atlanticartstudios.com
Web: www.supertrooperstudio.com
the Amazing Linda Fahrlin

the Amazing Linda Fahrlin

An interview with Linda Fahrlin and a look at some of her best work.