When Joanna Walczykowska grew up, her mother used to put on puppet shows for her, with characters made out of paper. She cut out figures, folded tiny furniture, and made a story, something Joanna remembers very well. At that moment, Joanna’s interest in crafting started, and paper became a big part of her life. Additionally, Joanna loved to draw, and seized every opportunity to draw on anything she came across.
– When I was two years old, my mom left me alone in my crib to sleep, an hour later she came back to check on me, and she discovered that I had got hold of a pencil and had drawn on the entire wall above my bed. Another time, I took her makeup and drew with it on the window, says Joanna.
Her interest in arts and crafts grew stronger every day, and after high school, where Joanna studied a program with specialization in art, a few years of hard work followed, which eventually led to her admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.
– I really wanted to be an illustrator, and get the opportunity to work with my passion. I got accepted and started a five-year education in graphic design with focus on lithography, says Joanna.
Drawing is Joanna’s main passion and for a long time, she has idolized the Czech artist and graphic designer Alphonse Mucha, who created many of his artworks by lithography. Lithography is a method of printing, where an image is drawn with oil, fat or wax onto a smooth surface of limestone or a metal plate, and then transferred to a blank paper sheet. Mucha’s work has inspired Joanna, who always has been fascinated by his way of working with clean and precise lines, a technique she uses in her own expression.
– I don’t illustrate in the same format as Mucha, his motives were huge, but I get inspiration from his work. My drawings are, however, more detailed and drawn with more precision, no brisk strokes, says Joanna.
Animals are also clearly reflected in Joanna’s illustrations and a recurring theme in the commercial commissions she takes on. Ever since she was a little girl, she has loved animals and used to spend a lot of time at her grandmother’s farm, where they had all sorts of animals. Joanna says she always felt a special closeness with animals, sometimes more than with people, and believes that’s the reason behind her great love for them.
– Animals are magical to me, and I’ve become really good at drawing them. I draw everything from cows and birds to insects and dogs. It’s also nice that I get more commissions from companies that want me to illustrate animals, says Joanna.