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Subsign Spotlight #120: Sanna Sjöström.

Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Sanna: Hi! I am Sanna Sjöström, also known as Sannadorable, and I am a digital illustrator. I am 28 years old, I am a mum of two girls, I am a wife, I am a sister and I live in Sweden. I make digital watercolor illustrations of cute characters and animals and I am always incorporating nature, especially flowers and leaves. One of my main goals with posting my art is to brighten someone’s day and make them smile.

Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your childhood experiences have influenced your present creative endeavors?

Sanna: I have had a very calm and good childhood. I have always had friends, a loving family and a best friend in my sister. I was initially going to say that my childhood has been very normal, but the thing is that I have always felt very different in how my mind works to everyone else’s. I am an introvert, I am shy, I have some kind of social anxiety that I have struggled with all my life, I have never gone to a party or drunken alcohol, I get a block in my head when I meet new people, I don’t succumb to peer pressure, I am nervous about everything, and this is just the way I have been all my life. So thinking back I am actually so thankful and quite surprised that I even managed to get friends but luckily no one in my surroundings judged me for it and I have always accepted the way I am.

Growing up, I have always loved crafting, drawing and photography, so I spent a lot of time being creative throughout my childhood. I know many artists have had drawing as an escape from the daemons in their heads, but I have luckily always had a really good mental health. I have just always loved being creative so incredibly much. So my childhood hobbies definitely impact my love for art today. I have always loved real watercolor, so making digital watercolor art was pretty much the only way for me to go.

A spread in Sanna’s watercolor book from many years ago.

Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?

Sanna: I can’t remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid, I don’t think I never really knew. But in my teens my biggest hobby was photography, and at one point I really wanted to be a photographer if I could dream big. Being an illustrator was not something I even considered even if I loved to draw.

Subsign: What does your workstation look like?

Sanna: To be completely honest, I usually sit on my couch, haha, but I do have a desk area where I sit if I need to do computer work.

Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?

Sanna: I have fallen in love with digital watercolor and that has definitely become my style. I keep practicing on making my digital art look as realistic as possible. I would describe my style as loose digital watercolor, because I don’t ever try to make things neat, I love the messy look. Even if my style is watercolor right now, I have always loved the pencil and chalk textures. I have come to a point where I feel like I want to develop and get out of my comfort zone so I hope to be able to experiment more with those textures. However, my followers would be so confused if I changed direction now, haha.

Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?

Sanna: I very often get the question “where does your inspiration come from?” and I have always had such a hard time answering that question. I just get ideas in my head and then I either write it down on a list of things I want to draw or I make a rough sketch right away. Where these ideas come from is very hard for me to explain.

If I try to mention something – I do take a lot of inspiration from nature, so if I am out for a walk and I see a specific animal or a beautiful flower, seeing those things can spark an idea. Or small happenings in my life can also make me think of something I would want to draw. I of course sometimes scroll through Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration too.

So my process is generally very short and I can’t always describe how my ideas come to me. The brain signals work very fast. And then I just start to create. I don’t choose a color palette beforehand and I don’t check color values. I color the sketch in as I go and then the illustration is finished. The perfectionist in me never posts an illustration the same day as I finish it though, I leave the illustration for a few days and then I go back to it. When I wait a few days I feel like I see the illustration with new eyes and I can spot imperfections that I want to change. Sometimes I change small things, but sometimes I’m happy with how I ended the illustration last time.

Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?

Sanna: Oh, this is a really hard question. I don’t particularly have one piece of art that is my favorite. I have almost 300 illustrations on my Instagram so it is impossible for me to choose one. These eight illustrations have a little more of a special place in my heart. When I finished these illustrations I got a bubbly happy feeling and I was really pleased with them.

Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?

Sanna: I had to think about this for a while, and my conclusion was that I don’t really follow anyone for inspiration. I follow artists because I love their art, and I get happy when I see something from them in my feed, but I don’t particularly follow them for the purpose of getting inspiration. The art I love seeing myself is funnily enough not the kind of art I create myself.

Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?

Sanna: The most important advice I can give is to create what YOU love, and not what you think others will love. The only way to actually be able to sustain working creatively is if you love what you do. If you don’t love doing it, it will be so hard to keep going. And I think that if you create what you love, that joy you are feeling while creating it will show through in your creations!

Subsign: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Sanna: Without a doubt, teleportation! There are so many places I want to see in this world but traveling takes time and costs money. Like I said before I am also a very nervous person and ever since I got my kids I have catastrophic thoughts very close, so when I think of traveling I also think of danger. Teleportation would solve all those problems! I would loooove that.

Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie, for our readers?

Sanna: Haha, no, I am really sorry. I never ever read, I very rarely listen to music and I haven’t watched a movie in years. I only watch reality and series and I listen to Swedish podcasts.

Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what special occasion would you choose?

Sanna: Again, haha. I would never throw a party. If I would, that would be a party with my family or just a few friends. Having a really well made dinner, a delicious dessert and then just hanging out with each other. One activity that I really want to do is to paint pottery with people I love, so maybe that would fit perfectly for my party. And then, one important thing for me is to end the party early. Hahahaha, who even am I?

Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?

Sanna: If I invited a famous person to my party I would get a block in my head because it is a new person and I would have had a really hard time making conversations with that person if other people are around too, so for my own sake I wouldn’t invite any famous persons. A perfect party for me is to only have people I am comfortable with invited.

Thank you, Sanna, for being a part of our Spotlight!

If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at

For more of  Tijana‘s work, you can follow her work on the links: Sanna on Instagram.


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki