Rina Jost is a Swiss illustrator with an incredible eye for visual storytelling....
Im so excited to be launching my New Discoveries series with Rina Jost. She was the artist that changed my plan for the blog series! I spotted her beautiful illustrations for 'The Toad Spirit' which is one of many beautifully illustrated stories in the book 'The Revenge of the Black Cat' a series of Swiss myths bought together. I couldn't believe how she wasn't on my radar, then it got me thinking - gosh how many other amazing artist have passed me by in the last few years of double kid madness!
I trawled her instagram and website and wanted to know more! So here are some questions we pinged over to Rina to find out a little more about her work, process and inspirations....
Please tell us a little bit about how you found your way into illustration?
I discovered illustration when I was in my preparation course at Zurich University of the Arts and I instantly fell in love (and I have been in love with illustration ever since), so I studied Illustration Fiction at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. I loved it, however the school could have prepared us better to the business side of the profession. That's why some illustrators (myself included) are collectively organizing ourselves at the moment with the help of a union.
Are there any artists who inspired you to pursue Illustration?
So many. Apart from being influenced by artists on deviantart I remember this particular book called Juxtapoz Illustration which had such a big influence on me. My tastes have since changed quite a bit but this book might have made me apply for studies in Lucerne. Looking back I was also heavily influenced by all the childrens books and comics in our home while growing up, I just didn't know then that it is possible to pursue a career in illustration.
Who inspires you now?
So many illustrators haha. Since I've been more mindful about diversity and representation lately I will share some recent inspiration: Nicole Miles, Sarina Mantle, Meggie Ramm, Joelle Avelino, Aida Muluneh, Ngadi Smart, Chanté Timothy, Laetitia Ky, Aleea Rae, Abelle Hayford, Monica Ahanonu, Helina Metaferia, Charlot Kristensen, Mia Saine, Dapo Adeola, Asharah Saraswati, Vashti Harrison, Christina Bauer,Melanie Grauer, Ayşe Klinge, Puleng Mongale - I'm gonna stop now because you need to check them all out!
Can you tell us about how you work...
I usually start sketching by hand and then I quickly swap to digital. I'm mostly using Procreate, so it feels quite natural and I have more possibilities and more control. I'm trying to get more comfortable with traditional tools again for there is more room for fortunate coincidences.
Which personal projects are your favourite?
I still like the my work for Lunar New Year of the Earth Pig (see above). And the temporary tattoos and the delicious butt postcards. ;) Actually I'm fond of most personal work featured on my website. I'm also working on my second graphic novel now which I'm trying to get funded. As with client's work, I find personal work to be partly fun and partly hard work. When it comes to fun I might find live drawing the most enjoyable, because it's just drawing without any expectations, just craftmanship.
Which commercial project was your favourite to work on?
Hard to tell, because I liked to work on most of my commercial projects. A favourite is the visual identity for Out in the Green Garden Festival. The Double Life Wimmel picture ranges among my favourites, because it was such an enormous project and I had to think up so many characters. The stamp was also great to work on (plus I can frank all of my correspondence with my own stamp now, how cool is that).
What is your biggest goal professionally as an illustrator?
When I was a student I made a list with clients I want to work with - most of them are still legit (like illustrating a cover of the New Yorker, I'd still do that haha). But I think all of these very particular goals have shifted more towards having a sustainable career in illustration. I'm still ambitious for prestigious client work but the older I get, the more important it is to stay inspired, having good working conditions an enjoyable daily routine in this profession.
Can you tell us a little about your creative experiences during the pandemic?
First I felt paralysed. When suddenly everything was cancelled I struggled keeping up a daily routine, even though I'm very used to organising myself. Seems like pandemics are not good for my mental health. However, after two weeks I also felt sort of strangely relieved to have no social commitments at all and being able to concentrate on my work.
Some event drawing was cancelled, teaching was postponed. I still had client's work to do and I took the chance to work on my graphic novel and the application for funding. I also set up products to sell through a collective online shop (that was created because of the pandemic).
Can you tell me a little more about this project?
This is a liquor label commissioned by the tourist office of my region to celebrate the anniversary of a lookout tower near my city. I always wanted to illustrate a label and/or product packaging so I was delighted when they asked me. It's actually one of the few clients work where I've worked mainly with traditional media (ink).
I like the diversity of Rinas work, it really demonstrates her ability to approach different projects with an alternative eye, giving them a unique look for their brand.
Please do share this if you enjoyed it and keep posted for next weeks New Discoveries interview!!