We have a few artists in this Spotlight section from the Goodnight stories for rebel girls book, and having Justine was a must!
Justine: I am a freelance illustrator currently living in London. Most of my personal works are portraits, often inspired by cinema, music, and literature. I like to draw people (mainly women) who inspire me, artists I look up to. I also love recording the cities I travel to and make detailed cityscapes of new place I discover.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Justine: I’ve always been very attracted to images, and I had some great illustrated books as a child which I think had a great influence on me. I come from a very creative family and have always been encouraged to follow an artistic path.
I grew up constantly drawing and so naturally went on the be a professional illustrator. It’s a fascinating world to be part of, with many inspiring artists. I love that sense of a creative community.
Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?
Justine: As I was fascinated by images and always loved cooking and eating, I wanted to be either a photographer or a chef. Maybe I should have been food photographer? I would love that! But I think I naturally became an illustrator, without having to make the actual decision one day.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Justine: As I live in London and therefore do not have a lot of space to expand my workspace, I try to keep it very simple.
My favourite place is in the green house at the back of my flat. It has a very special atmosphere, quiet and lovely. It is bathed with natural light and opens onto our small garden. I set up my desk in the morning on the dining table, and the fact that I have to pack it back up at the end of the day makes it very clean and minimal. Of course I’d rather have a proper studio but I am genuinely so messy that it’s probably better this way!
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Justine: My illustrations are very detailed, which means that I often spend a LOT of time drawing… it can be stressful when deadlines are tight! So let’s say it can become quite epic, but I actually really like drawing late at night, when everybody is asleep.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Justine: Inspiration comes in different ways, but music and cinema influence me the most… What I see during the day, what I hear in the news or in the street, will also have an impact. London is a fantastic city for inspiration, there is so much going on everywhere and all the time!
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Justine: One of my favorites is a portrait of Astrid Lindgren I did for the ‘Goodnight stories for rebel girls’ book published at the end of last year.
I didn’t know much about Astrid Lindgren’s life before I was asked to draw her portrait. I knew she was a much-loved children’s book author but when I started her portrait I read a lot about her story and I became obsessed with her strength and charisma.
Not only did she managed to overcome all the adversities of being a single working mum in the 1930s, but she also helped unseat a Swedish government, influenced changes in the law and even inspired anarchists. In Sweden, she is considered a true national hero.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Justine: Quite an eclectic bunch of arty people, from fashion blogger to art directors, photographers, travelers, but of course a lot of illustrators. To name a few awesome female artists: Bodil Jane, Kate Blegvad, Kate Pugsley, Nina Cosford, Manjit Thapp, Sonia Lazo…
Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Justine: My advice would be to keep going, even when you feel down and/or frustrated. Use all of those feelings as fuel to keep making and going forward.
Subsign: If you would have a superpower, what would it be?
Justine: I would absolutely love to fly! I also suffer from fear of heights so not sure how these two would realistically work…
Subsign: Can you recommend for our readers a book, a song, and a movie?
Justine: Book: Francoise Sagan’s La Chamade
Song: Clair de Lune, by Claude Debussy
Movie: My Golden Days by Arnaud Desplechin (and all his other movies)
Sorry they’re all French!
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Justine: I would throw a fancy dress party set in year 3000, just to see what cool ideas people would come up with.
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Justine: Definitely the Foo Fighters for the fun & the music. Probably also a few scientists I admire, for accuracy debates: Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, Jane Goodall… some artists like David Lynch and Yoko Ono, and a few robots I guess. It would be quite a strange but brilliant party!
Thank you, Justine, for being a part of it!
If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .