Artist and illustrator
Feet on the earth - head in the clouds
Christine Tomtlund, Illustrator, Author and Artist
Link to a shortfilm
about the artist
Made by Johannes Graaf
Illustrator and Author
In books we can find our own strengths and get a new perspectiv on our own situations.
We can make up a world totaly different from ours. Of fantasy creatures, magic, other better or worse characters or even other planets.
But in the end, everything we do is telling us storys of our selfs. It´s just mirrors of us and what we could be or do.
When did you start writing and illustrate stories?
I did it all my life, it´s like the art, I could not stop doing it. That´s the reason.
My first book I gave out that I did both write and illustrated was A little red fox. But I illustrated books already in 1998.
Most of the stories I´ve written is still not released just because I´ve been focusing on beeing an artist. But times change and now there are more focus on writing and illustrating.
What inspires you?
I read a lot but that´s more like procrastination. For stories it´s usualy something like a naturwalk, some amazing facts or a picture that just tells me half of a story.
How do you work with a story?
I find inspiration somewhere, and then it´s like someone planted a seed in my brain. It starts growing, most of the time there is just a picture on the seedbag that shows what it should be when it is grown, but on the way it can turn out to be a totaly different plant. The story grows in it´s own way. It just grows by it self, one thing happens and lead to another one and with the base plant, there suddenly are weeds, bees and mices, and birds that eat them and all because of that little seed.
Most of the time I just write the stories like I read the book. I can guess how the story is about to be and what will happen later but planing it, is not my stile.
Many times I can´t controll the process. Many authors or artist talk about writing anxiety. My problem is more to have the time to finnish one story before there is some new seeds that starts growing and spreading in my brain.
What do you struggle with:
I have some problems with my energy. Because I have some problems with my body and ADD (a type of ADHD) and dyslexia there are some things to struggle with. And many times that hinders me from making everything I want too. It takes a lot of energy just to go around och handle my problems so my energylevel is low some times.
But parts of my problems like the ADD are also the reason my brain works outside the box, I found that as long as you know and acknowlege your skills and troubles, you can do anything. You just have to find your own way to handle things.
What´s your hobbies or interests?
I can´t realy keep to one thing. So here´s a list:
Animals: Because they amaze me in so many ways and I never feel so free as when I go around just exploring nature.
Larping: To try out how it is to live in another persons shoes is just amazing. Better than film or books.
Read: I read far too little. If I do, I prioritize it above everything else and live with a bad conscience until I´ve finnished the book
Luteplaying: I play the Lute. Not very well, but I need it to get calm. It´s my stressrelease thing to do.
Crafting: Trying a new crafting thing, metal, tree, fabric. I don´t care as long as I can try making beautiful things.
Christine Tomtlund is a Swedish artist, who debuted as a nineteen year old in 2001. She is completely autodidact and has over the years developed her own style, adapted to characterize and giving lives to animals and humans in portraits, as well as powerful forms of expression to express feelings as she illustrates poems.
Her skills have grown and she is now a highly appreciated portraitist of animals and humans. But over time, there are more and more illustrations. The nearest projects are illustrations of a children´s book about a very small and cute dragon, as well as a slightly heavier book project with drawings to poems by Sweden´s well-known poet, Dan Andersson.
Characterizing for her art is the love and knowledge of nature, with a glimpse of the fairytales and underlying messages from other worlds. She lives in the deep forests of Dalarna and has her studio close to nature.
“I have to have my feet in the ground and my head up in the blue, for inspiration”.
Out in nature, she sketches and takes photos, then, by the fireplace in the studio, to let the paintings both peel off and extract the important in the subject. Very clean surfaces meet very detailed parties in most of her work.
The contrast is of utmost importance.
She also works in close cooperation with nature conservation associations and has, among other things, been auctioning paintings for the benefit of for example, WWF.
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There is magic.
You can find traces of it everywhere. In a hug, how a feather is shaped, the shimmer in a dragonfly's wings, the power of life itself and how silence can be healing in the ever-changing chaos we live in. It is nature that gives us insight into life and stability in a world of attention-grabbing, advertising crises and false promises of happiness.
Let's leave the heat behind us and see the big in the small. Dig your feet into the ground and feel the security of the cool and softly uplifting earth.
Breathe clear and clean air and be filled with nature's pure truths.
Allow us to be ourselves, and sufficient in the way we are.
Let us then lighten from everything and let the thought fly to the land where everything is possible, where legends are truths, and fairy tales reflect our souls. There I find my power and inspiration. I belong there and I want to take you there.