Friday, December 14, 2012

Illustrator Interview: Kasia Matyjaszek

from "In the Night", for more click here.

I am so excited to have my first post back in a while, be this great interview with illustrator Kasia Matyjaszek!!  I discovered her work a few months back and was so excited when she agreed to have a chat with me here at Alice in Baker Street.  Kasia is currently Artist in Residence at Edinburgh College of Art and is working on a few wonderful picture book projects at the moment.

You should definitely check out her blog: , she has lovely posts that often include images from her sketchbook, current projects and amazingly quirky photos :)  And I'll also link to her website below!

And now for our chat:

What medium do you usually work in and how would you describe your style?

I usually work with pencil – I love the quality of line, its softness and also the fact that I can always erase bits that I don’t like.

I draw lots of random pencil drawings in my sketchbook and then I put everything together digitally, add scanned textures and colours.

What’s the last page you worked on in your sketchbook? 

A mixture of random sketches from life and illustrations for the picture books I am working on just now.

Here's a picture:

When you sketch outside of your studio/work area what do you bring with you?

Actually I quite often work outside of my studio. My most basic “coffee shop studio” set consists of a moleskine sketchbook, a few pencils and an eraser. Sometimes I also bring coloured pencils, pens, reference photos and another sketchbook for drafts.

Here is a photo of what I usually carry in my bag – except this one was taken before a trip to Stockholm and I don’t usually carry a passport or a plastic crocodile with me. But I never leave the house without a sketchbook and a pencil (Click on the link above for more pictures from Kasia's trip!).

 If you could meet one artist from history and one who is living, who would it be and where would you want your meeting to take place?

I would love to spend a day with Józef Wilkoń, one of the best Polish illustrators.  It would be great to visit him in his house, spend some time in his studio and see how his amazing illustrations are created, then maybe have lunch, go for a walk and spend the rest of the day in the garden.  Józef Wilkoń is a sculptor too and as far as I know his garden is full of his magical creatures. It would need to be on one of these beautiful days in June when days are warm and long and you can sit in the garden until late.

Linked from
Illustration from The Story of the Kind Wolf by Peter Nickl, 1982.
Józef Wilkoń, with one of his awesome sculptures!

A road trip with Hieronymus Bosch sound like a fun idea too!

Bosch's The Temptation of St. Anthony, ca 1550
Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510

 What inspires you?

Travelling!  As soon as I get on a train, bus or plane the best ideas come. And the more exciting destination, the better the illustrations. As the first part of my illustrating process is mostly sketchbook drawings I can set up my “studio” anywhere really.  Waiting in the lounge for a delayed plane, travelling on a very shaky minivan somewhere in Mongolia or on a train in Armenia with no air-conditioning while it is over 40C (104 F!) outside – these are my favourite studio spaces. I am still not sure if this is about being on the move and visiting exciting places or it is more about having a few hours to kill while waiting for one means of transport or another and the best way not to get bored is to doodle something.

Unfortunately I cannot travel as much as I would like to so I’ve got this routine which works for me too. I wake up early in the morning (5.30am), go for a long walk and have a coffee in one of my favourite coffee shops and spend the rest of the morning there illustrating. I find it much more inspiring than staying in my studio at home.

It has recently changed a little bit as I am artist in residence at Edinburgh College of Art and have my own studio space with other artists and illustration students, which is even more inspiring than working in coffee shops! 

What’s the last book you read?

Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk.

What’s the last film you saw?

Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock.

Do you remember the first image you ever drew?

I don’t remember the first image. Although my mum keeps a folder with my drawings from preschool. There is a lot of squirrels and princesses there. And these funny drawings with the sky depicted as a blue strip at the top of the page and a half circle sun coming out of it. 

(note from me: Love this one! And I found a squirrel so thought I'd include it here :)

Do you collect anything?

For some reasons I collect pencils. The ones I can buy in museum shops and they don’t cost a lot but each of them reminds me of the place I visited.

 Do you have a favorite fairy tale?

No, I don’t think I have a favourite one.  As a child I had a beautiful collection of  Russian tales with amazing illustrations by Ivan Bilibin. I remember I loved this book but I was also scarred by the illustrations (especially this one!:

Bilibin's Baba Yaga

Do you have a favorite book from childhood?

There was this book with traditional tales from my hometown Kraków that I really liked as a child. I suppose I liked the fantastical stories about the places I knew and could relate to.

Do you have a favorite painting or illustration, or any work of art for that matter?

One of my favourite paintings is Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap by Pieter Bruegel the Elder:

Are you working on any projects right now?

I am working on two picture books at the moment and some other random illustrations for an upcoming exhibition. One of the picture books is about a cat and it is one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever worked on. 

(Note from me: You should all meet Stockton, he's awesome!)

Kasia, thank you so much for visiting with us here on Alice in Baker Street!!  So excited to keep following your work :)

And here are a few more images from Kasia:

Here is the cover and some beautiful illustrations for Black Beauty which she did for Ladybird Books:

Here's Harold the Hare (I hope there will be a story with him one day, I just love this illustration!):

And some rats, for more wonderful rats click here:

For more of Kasia's work, you can find her here:





and Etsy:


  1. Replies
    1. I know! Isn't her work great!! And thanks for stopping by Lori :)

  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this interview!
    I've recently become interested in children's book illustrations, so this was really inspirational :D Thank you!

    1. You are sooo welcome! Glad you enjoyed it! I'm also interested in illustration, so I definitely agree, it's alway so inspiring to hear about other artist's processes :)

    2. It really is! Will you be posting more of these interviews? ^^

  3. Lovely interview. Love that Kasia collects pencils!

    1. Thanks for reading! I know, love that picture with the pencils :)

  4. Fajne Siostra Sarenka ;-)

    Great interview!

  5. Fajny wywiad Siostra Sarenka!

    Great interview!

    Loved seeing what she brings with her.
    And I reallly love Hitchcock.

    1. I know!! So glad you enjoyed it, her stuff is AWESOME!

  7. How funny, all the way in Span I also had that book of Russian tales. But it wasn't exactly my favorite... it was my dad's favorite! He kept it on a high self to make sure my sister and I didn't destroy it.

    That was a nice interview and Kasia's style is really fun!

    1. Hi Diana! Thanks so much for reading my interview with Kasia! That's so cool that you also had that book :) He must have really loved that book haha!