Karolina Szymkiewicz

Meet Karolina Szymkiewicz, an illustrator who lives in Leeds.

‘I’m Polish and no one can pronounce my second name,’ Karolina explains. ‘That’s why I work under the pseudonym ‘karolful’. TYC will shame-facedly admit that it took us three attempts to spell Szymkiewicz correctly. Doh.

Karolina’s favourite colour is purple (‘I am obsessed!’), her favourite movie is Amadeus (‘you gotta LOVE Mozart’) and other favourite things include reading with an endless supply of tea, lemon curd, Northern Soul dancers, photography, cocktails (‘Breakfast Martini!’), travelling, nail polish, Thai food, snail mail, gingerbread, good hair days and yoga.

Find out more below.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Earlier this year I graduated from an MA Illustration course at Edinburgh College of Art and moved to Leeds.  Since I got here I’ve been in the process of setting myself up as a freelance illustrator.

My favourite medium of expression is drawing.  I work in lots of different formats, with a range of different subjects and always like a challenge.  The bit of my work I enjoy most is searching for those fleeting moments in life and then trying to capture them in my pieces.  Edinburgh also gave me a growing fascination for the art of bookmaking and artist’s books.  PS On top of that I am a big fan of screen printing.

What are your inspirations?

I devoted all of my MA year to looking at the medium of dancing and capturing movement. I’m captivated by dance as a form of expression.  I like its intoxicating energy which makes it an uplifting celebration of the human body and life.

When not trying to depict dance I also explore my own imagination by working with character design, drawing weird and wonderful phantasmagorical creatures. Lastly, I’m also beginning to dabble in the world of fashion illustration.  I find the imagery is very vibrant and there’s always lots of potential to explore!

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

The project which has probably been my favourite so far was also one of the most unexpected.  It was a collaborative adventure with the phenomenal dance theatre group Company Chameleon, from Manchester.  It involved designing a set of tattoos for them to use as body art in a performance they were putting together called “Shattered”.  Doing the illustrations was the exciting part, I got to explore all sorts of mythological symbols (dragons, aztec gods, nordic runes) but then the real challenge came for me in figuring out how to transfer these images onto their skin!

Who is your favourite creative in your chosen field?

My forever hero, is the one and only Daniel Egneus. His work is absolutely stunning and I love every little thing about it. Beautiful and perfect. Full stop.  I do also look up to people like Lars Henkel and Eduardo Recife.  I am a bit insatiable when it comes to looking up new great artists – I think I get inspired purely by people’s creativity and I like surrounding myself with it.

Read Karolina’s blog, visit her website and Tweet her: @karolful.

All images © Karolina Szymkiewicz. To view them in clearer detail, click on them.


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