“My drawings are very open to interpretation,” explains Lasse Wandschneider, a Brussels-based illustrator who bases his style on abstract and experimental interpretations of the world. “They’re more like an invitation to look at the shapes and colours, and how they work together. Sometimes, they create more of an atmosphere than a clear depiction or message of some sort.”
Way back in 2014, we first featured Lasse and his character-filled, pastel-hued doodles and we were instantly hooked. A whopping five years down the line, and he’s back at it again – this time with a much more refined approach to illustration. “Back then I was still in school and I was really just starting to experiment,” he tells It’s Nice That. “And since then, I’ve become much more secure in what I want my work to look like.” This can be seen in his first long-form 48-page comic book, titled Regen, which was published by Reproduct Berlin. Testing the illustrator with his ability to balance and represent a narrative within his “usually quite abstract” style of work, this was “something that I learned a lot from and that still fascinates me,” he explains. As well as self-publishing a collaborative book with Nina Cosco, called Bleu Pissenlit, and working on stage productions, Lasse has also relocated from Berlin to Brussels in order to gain a masters degree in graphic storytelling.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t stop quite there. Lasse has also created the artwork for The Harpoons’ latest album, Amaro. “[It was] something of a dream job for me; a collaboration that leaves an enormous amount of space for my own decisions and ideas while contributing to someone else’s art and work.” Additionally he also took part in the Berlin-based risoprint publisher, Colorama’s Colorama Clubhouse Week, an ongoing project that brings different groups of people from the illustrative world together to work on “a big volume of very exciting and experimental comics.” Lasse adds: “Projects like this and the communities that are created around comics, drawing and illustration are definitely one of the main things that keep me going.”
Drawn in by the free-flowing process of illustration, Lasse enjoys experimenting with different formats, printing techniques and self-publishing, and tends to play around with different representations of his drawings. “I like to think of my drawings as objects,” he says. “I’ve tried to always keep an open mind and incorporate new ideas into my work, and the key factors have been exhibitions and personal projects, more so than commissioned work.”
At first picking up his pencil simply due to the fact that he enjoyed it, Lasse admits that he wasn’t entirely sure where it would take him in terms of a career. “I hadn’t really heard of illustration as a field of work until later on,” he says. “I feel that the concept is not very well established in Germany, or its image is mostly limited to children’s books.” Yet what keeps him in the illustrative game is the idea of working together with other people across the disciplines – including music, writing or film, which is something that’s always been of much intrigue. “It shows how drawing can connect different ideas and add to them at the same time, keeping its integrity as the extremely malleable medium that it is.”
For Lasse, his favourite part of drawing is when he makes something that surprises him. “I would be happy if my work also gave the viewer the idea that maybe not everything has to be the way it is right now, that there’s always other choices we can make,” he continues. “There are many other possible worlds that might be worth exploring or at least looking out for.” He concludes by linking the visual with the political, something that he sees as a prominent aspect throughout his work. “I feel that the political and the aesthetic are much more intertwined than we often realise, and they influence each other constantly, or maybe they’re just one and the same.”