Maciek Blaźniak: ‘A good illustrator develops and searches’

We recently caught up with illustrator and graphic designer Maciek Blaźniak to talk about his incredible work and what he enjoys most about it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Maciek Blaźniak, I am 36 years old, and I live in Lodz (Poland) where my wife and I have been running a graphic design studio called Ładne Halo for ten years. In the beginning, we were simultaneously active as a niche publishing house specialising in books for children. Today I illustrate and design books only for other publishers. Apart from illustrations and picture books, I am interested in games design and new technologies. I design websites, applications and visual identities.

How did you get started as an illustrator?

I started studying photography at an art college but quickly switched to design with an art book specialisation. My adventure with illustration and books began during my studies. But photography has remained important to me, which I think can be seen by looking at my illustrations (the ones I create for myself) in which photographic frames of urban landscapes and nature dominate. I like to have my camera with me on walks.

How did you find your style?

It seems to me that the adventure with drawing almost always starts with peeping and imitating your favourite illustrators or artists. There is no point in doing this 1:1, but it is from these exercises, trials and searches that an individual language emerges over time. In my case, the starting points were geometry, minimalism and colour, and the details were shaped over time and continue to shape because my style—although it has its own recognisable DNA—continues to update. It is also good to draw inspiration from very different fields—not only from illustration. For example, I am quite strongly inspired by photography, games and architecture.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I run my own business, so I like the fact that I am my own boss and can organise my work as I want. I am glad that most of the customers who come to me know and appreciate my work and know what they can expect. I enjoy the variety of commissions that come to me, because apart from illustrating, I am also a graphic designer. The orders from publishers for children’s books are intertwined with other client work, e.g., the visual identities for festivals or exhibitions, packaging for the local craft brewery or the design of mobile app interfaces.

Are your sketches always done digitally, or do you sometimes do these by hand?

Yes, if you do not count the stage of maturation of the idea in your head, I start the sketches directly on the computer.

You have some lovely work on your Etsy store. How do you decide which prints make it to your Etsy store?

It is simple, I have chosen for publication those that are stylistically compatible 😉

What do you think makes a good illustrator?

I value illustrators who are not slaves to a single style or palette that has been successful at some point, and some customers always expect this from them. A good illustrator develops and searches. This is my subjective definition.

Street view in Nottingham, England How many hours a day do you spend drawing?

Because I work

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