Ingela P Arrhenius (1/4)

Swedish illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius has a penchant for designs from the fifties and sixties, and you’ll see this reflected in her work. You can come across her cheerful style almost everywhere—on tableware, posters, prints, wooden figures or in a museum. In this guest blog, she talks about her workplace and the stuff she collects there.


Ever since I graduated from art school, I have always had a studio. Working from home was never an option. Having colleagues to have fun with, as well as get advice and inspiration from – and advise and inspire, too – has always been important to me. My first six years after graduating, I was part of a freelance illustration community; there were about ten of us sharing a couple of floors in a very old building in Old Town, Stockholm. It was a very educative experience for someone fresh out of school.

After maternity leave, I changed group and met new illustrators in another community. I was part of that group for another six years and liked it a lot. But I felt that it would be fun to share space with people who worked in other creative fields and were not only into illustration. After moving house and having two kids, I wanted a workplace that was closer to home and was lucky to find a lovely big studio nearby. This place has a mixed group, not just illustrators. There are graphic designers, photographers, authors, interior designers and more. It’s a big studio, and I share a room with a graphic designer. And it is SO good that I have my one space now because I have A LOT of stuff.

My collection has grown with each relocation, and it now feels like I couldn’t possibly move again. I want to be surrounded by things that make me happy and that inspire me. But my shelves are so full now that I couldn’t squeeze anything more into them. The last things I found were a Batman and Robin, and they were so nice that they just HAD to move in, but they are definitely the last! I think…

What do I have on my shelves, in the corners, under my table? I have loads of books, mainly vintage children’s ones; my own products which I designed for different companies; vintage wood figures; designer toys; boxes; etc etc. When children (and adults) come into my studio, they often stay for a while just to look around. Sometimes I feel embarrassed, a bit like a hoarder, but I need these things (at least that’s what I tell myself). They are part of my job and work process. And as I mentioned before, they make me happy, which is certainly not a bad thing ☺