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Mina Braun Printmaking from Germany to Edinburgh

September 6, 2012

Mina Braun is a talented artist who’s presently living in Edinburgh. She kindly answered some questions I had for her for the Fishinkblog readers.

How did you start on your path to being an illustrator and what factors along the way have led you to take such a ‘colourful’ and nature inspired palette ?

I studied visual communication at the Kassel Academy of Art in Germany for  a certain period, but decided to continue studying abroad and eventually moved to Edinburgh, where I completed a BA and Masters in illustration.During my studies I discovered printmaking and fell in love with it, especially with screen printing, dry point and etching. I always loved drawing and like working with pens and pencils; however, screen printing opened up my work to using more colour. Printmaking has since become an important part of my professional practice. After graduating I joined the Edinburgh Printmakers and gradually started to sell my work in shops and galleries, which has opened up opportunities to show my work to a wider public. I received my first commissioned work whilst being a student, designing album covers for the Scottish musicians James Yorkston and Orkestra Del Sol. I have since designed more cover illustrations, including a commission by the Edinburgh Book Festival. Since I was a child I love being outdoors and my ambition to move to Edinburgh was very much motivated by wanting to spend time in the beautiful Scottish countryside, which has influenced my work. I have always been inspired by the realm of folk and fairy tales and by themes revolving around forest mythology and nature; hence my work often features trees and animals. A common theme in my work is characters flying or dreaming, with their environment transforming around them.

Who’s work has been an influence on you and who would you most like to work with, given the chance ?

Most of my inspiration comes from picture books and I also really like short animations. For me one of the greatest picture books of all times is “Where the Wild things are” by Maurice Sendak. I am very inspired by artists who tell stories that address children and adults alike. Illustrators I admire for this particular gift and who I would love to work with are Shaun Tan, Kitty Crowther and Chiara Carrer. Two short animations that inspired me are “The Village” by Mark Baker and “Father and Daughter” by Michael Dudok de Wit . If the writer Angela Carter was still alive, it would be fantastic to work with her and illustrate her stories.

How do you start collecting ideas when you’re given a new brief ? sketches ? internet ? real life drawing ? or do you mainly work for your own portfolio, drawing what inspires you ?

A lot of the work I create is my own work which I sell to galleries or create for myself, but I have also been working on a few commissions this year. Ideas could come from anything like listening to a song, reading a story or going for a walk and seeing something interesting, but a lot of ideas come from constant doodling. For me the most important place to start thinking is my sketchbook. I usually start with sketching a few ideas and the end product will, most of the time, develop from one of my first ideas.

What mediums do you mostly work with? Describe a typical day for you ?

A typical day working on my artwork would either be in the studio or in the print-workshop. In my studio I spend a lot of time experimenting in my sketchbook, working on the light-box or on my computer. The most important mediums for me are ink pen and pencil, which is what I use for all my sketches. Those sketches then transform into prints or digital work as well. I really enjoy working with colour pens and pencils too.

Are there other areas that you’d like to take your design work into? I can see it working well as animations for instance.

Being involved in short animations would definitely be amazing! As a student in Kassel I was involved in animation projects and I loved it. Other than that I am open to various creative areas; my main interest however revolves around visual storytelling and printmaking.

What are your future aspirations and what are you working on now?

My biggest future aspiration is to work as a book illustrator. At the moment I am trying to take some time to work on some personal projects illustrating stories, which I hugely enjoy! And now where summer is almost over it is also time to start thinking about making new prints for the Christmas period.

Here’s a few of Mina’s past prints that first caught my eye. Beautiful characters and I love the one entitled ” In The Flowerfield “, it’s so full of summery joy.

There is more info and images on Mina’s blog and two of her latest pieces of work below.

The top one is for Scree Magazine and the lower illustration is for a client called Rosa Martens from the Netherlands, and is a cover illustration for her thesis.

Great to see such a variety of work Mina, thanks again for your help in making this post possible.

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