Work / Illustration

Nanna Prieler’s tangible illustrations developed from an organic process 

The tangible quality of Nanna Prieler’s illustrations make you wonder exactly how they are made. Certainly not digital, the use of negative space leads you to think they could be lino cut, but they’re not. “The illustration work I did was digital at first, but more and more I got into pencil sketches and found my way back into hand drawing again,” Nanna tells It’s Nice That. “For the colouring process I cut out shapes of my sketches and use acrylic paint and sponges to print on paper or carton.” 

This technique isn’t contrived or set out to have a particular effect, “it just seems to be natural way of expressing myself,” say Nanna. “Now I do a lot of sketching in cafes, at friends’ houses or while travelling. I feel somehow connected to the world when I’m surrounded by people and their real stories and enjoy that there is more room for mistakes. Perfection isn’t an option anymore and somehow this way of working just makes more sense to me.”

This organic way of working has stemmed from Nanna’s background in graphic design. “I grew up in this traditional kind of fairytale world and was obsessed with drawings ever since.” As a result, “I went away to an art school with a focus on graphic design at the age of 14,” says the illustrator. “I felt very confused and out of place in my teens and kind of lost focus on what I really what wanted.” 

Following this Nanna moved to Vienna and became a graphic designer. “It’s a beautiful profession but it didn’t take me long to realise that it wasn’t right for me…I mostly pretended to work but drew all the time secretly in Photoshop to find satisfaction.”

After some time, “on a too hot summer day I finally decided to just do it, quit my day job and tried to survive as an illustrator from then on…which wasn’t easy at the beginning”. However now Nanna seems to have found a comfortable outlet for her creativity, proving that sometimes a big leap to do what you truly love is best.