Hey Kulafamily, today we have a guest interview with Nele Rojek, illustrator from Berlin. We love inspiring people and want to share this hidden gems with you!

Berlin or Leipzig?

Berlin. After graduating, I lived in Leipzig for ten years – the longest I‘ve ever lived in one place. Leipzig is still in my heart, but what I always missed was the internationality I find here in Berlin. Besides, my family lives in Berlin.

Summer or Winter?

I prefer the alternation between summer and winter: Spring and autumn.

Wine or Beer?


Hey Nele, thank you for having us, you are an Illustrator from Germany, based in Berlin how did you started to get involved in illustration?

I studied Visual Communication at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and then worked for several years as an art director, graphic designer and consultant in public relations. So illustration was somehow always a part of my work. After a burnout, I had to learn to find joy again and asked myself in which moments I was completely in flow as a child. And that was drawing and storytelling. So I sharpened my pencils and started drawing again.

What is fascinating you?

Animals. And what we can learn from them.

How do you start with a white page?

With anything … a line, a circle, a blob of color, a word … it doesn‘t matter. The main thing is to start.

What is coming into your mind about the word „Transforming“?

A change and a chance. Evolution. Life. A butterfly.

How would you describe your art?

A combination of conceptual ideas, vivid lines, squeaky colors, comics, 30ies cartoons, 50ies & 60ies vintage illustrations and a clean vector style.

What is your inspiration?

In particular: Comics, especially all that (Nouvelle) Ligne Claire stuff since I was born near to the belgium border. Arabic script and printed matter, as I spent my childhood in Egypt and later a lot of time in Arab countries. GDR design and aesthetics, since I lived in East Germany for many years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

And life in general – if you keep your senses open, inspiration is on the street.

Nele Rojek

How would you describe your technique you work with?

I make pencil sketches and digitize them using vectors and pixels.

Are you working day or night?

I used to work nights, but getting older I have found that I am actually most productive in the mornings.

It was an endless summer. At least we thought so.

Which topics are important to you as a creative person? What Europe should do for creatives?

Being in solidarity with other artists: support each other, share resources and exchange knowledge e.g. on working conditions, clients and payments. I think the work of professional associations is very important and would like to see more networking across Europe.

What are the major challenges as an illustrator? Women and Illustration Scene in Germany, what came into your mind at first? Do you lived abroad, if yes could you compare or explain how other countries, cultures support creatives, from which we can learn?

If you want to make a living with illustration, you should be aware that you are not just an artist but a service provider and entrepreneur: You will spend a lot of your time on acquisition, accounting and taxes/legal, networking and communicating with clients. Recently I read that in Berlin 80% of freelance artists and creatives can not make a living from their artistic work and that female artists in Berlin earn about 28% less than their male colleagues. I wish that the profession of illustrator was more socially recognized like in other countries, and not dismissed as a hobby, as is often the case here.

Why it is important to exchange disciplines?

It‘s a super way to get to know other approaches to and views on a topic: It allows for changes in perspective and gives fresh input.

Which is your personal favorite pieces of your illustration from the last years?

Playtronica Playtron and Touch Me

My cousin had told me about midi controllers from Playtronica that lets you create sounds and music by touch or turn fruits or vegetables into a keyboard and thus communicate in an intuitive and playful way. I got so excited about this idea that I started researching and turning this idea into illustrations. That‘s how I got in touch with people from Playtronica, which led to a collaboration. Check Playtronica, they are great people who develop visionary things.

Your latest project. Would you like to tell us a bit more about it.Which idea works, is it striking enough, visually appealing and easy to understand for someone who has not yet dealt with the topic?

I‘m currently working on an illustration for an article about digital cemeteries. It‘s about what happens to our social media profiles when we die and how they can help relatives deal with their grief. At the moment I am still in the concept phase and am trying to develop expressive image ideas. Spinning ideas is actually what I like best in the process of illustration. Everything is still open and the possibilities are unlimited. I have sometimes difficulties deciding on an idea, committing myself and starting to implement it. Then it is helpful to get feedback: Which idea works, is it striking enough, visually appealing and easy to understand for someone who has not yet dealt with the topic?

Outside of the world of art, what are you passionate about?

Dogs. Especially our family pug Coco.

What is one piece of advice you always give to people who starts with art?

Make as many mistakes as possible and embrace them – they will make your art unique.

What is happiness for you?

When my thoughts, feelings and actions match.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I am a true crime junkie. Listening to true crime podcasts while doodling just works best for me to bring my mind in a state of concentration to come up with ideas.

How do you spend your days of?

Roaming around town with our pug and my boyfriend.

How do you define success?

Having achieved a previously clearly defined goal and beeing satisfied with it because I have grown along the way to that goal.

What should people be aware of?

Their thoughts.

How can the world be a better place? Which social change is important?

I really don‘t know. I would probably be rich or a politician or both if I knew. My personal wish, however, would be that mankind could just BE more rather than DO more: work less, consume less, travel less …

Is there something you always wanted to share?

Secrets. But please don’t tell anyone 😉

Life Motto?

Life is a river.


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