Ingela P Arrhenius (3/4)

You can come across the cheerful style of Swedish illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius almost everywhere—on tableware, posters, prints, wooden figures or in a museum. In this guest blog, she talks about the things that inspire her. 

They say that creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

I don´t really agree; I feel lust and inspiration for my job most of the time. But sometimes you do find yourself just staring at a blank sheet of paper, not knowing where to start. And that’s when you need some input! I guess every creator has their own way of finding inspiration, be it through music, reading inspiring blogs, etc.

I need OLD stuff to get me going. The smell of an antiquarian bookstore or the chaos in a flea market; these two places are my biggest sources of inspiration. When I visit a bookstore, I start with the kid’s department. Old children’s books, especially those from the 50s and 60s, are very inspiring. The layout, colors and illustrations can be SO awesome and edgy. And they’re often illustrated in just two colors, which I love. Next, I move on to the cookbooks. Again, some of the ones from the 50s and 60s are designed and illustrated in such a lovely way.

Then the flea market. My favorite things to look out for there are old board games and record covers, ceramics, figurines and fabrics. I can get ideas for products I’d like to do, see a nice color combination on a fabric or a cool design on a music album.

 Every other year, a friend and I go on a weekend road trip to a part of Sweden we haven’t been to yet. Before we go, we spend a lot of time on Google, looking for flea markets, second-hand bookstores and nice places to stay in the area. We always do this in spring, before the professional bargain-hunters come out and the serious business of flea markets starts. It is a lot calmer, and we meet nice people who have time to chat.

But as you already know if you read my first blog post, I am very picky nowadays with what I buy since my shelves are stuffed full with things.

Regardless of that, after a weekend immersing myself in second-hand books and flea markets, I am full of fresh inspiration and ready to work!