Interview: Aleksandra Stanglewicz on Beauty and Fashion Illustration, Creative Podcasts, and Being an Overnight Success

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You want another interview, you've got one.

Today I'm chatting to Polish illustrator Aleksandra Stanglewicz, who specialises in fashion, beauty, and botanical designs. Using watercolours and coloured pencils she creates soft and dreamy illustrations that wouldn't look out of place in a classic high-end designer's workbook. We spoke a bit about her introductions to this career, her favourite inspirations, and the likelihood of being an overnight success (not likely at all!). I hope you enjoy reading about the wonderful Aleksandra!
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Magic & Musings:
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Aleksandra! Would you like to introduce yourself and what you do? When did you first get into illustration? Is this something you’ve been formally trained in?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
Hi! My name is Aleksandra Stanglewicz and I am an illustrator from Poland, living in London for almost 3 years. I mostly focus on fashion and botanical illustrations, and I use a mix of watercolours and coloured pencils to create them. I first got into illustration when I was around 16 years old and I started attending drawing classes. I have always been interested in fashion so I thought it would be an interesting way to combine those two subjects. Also I discovered fashion illustrations of David Downton who has been my inspiration ever since.


Magic & Musings:
When did you first start sharing your designs online and did you find yourself overcoming any hurdles regarding your confidence?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
When I was in high school I created a blog where I shared my work. However when I was studying I really struggled with finding my style and I stopped sharing anything on there. I was convinced that I should be sure of what I am doing and be 100% happy with the outcome of my illustration to share it on the internet. But then I realised that finding your style is a process, that there won’t be a magical moment when I will be ready! It is actually great to be able to see how my style and technique has improved since then.

Magic & Musings:
On Magic & Musings I love talking about female and non-binary artists and their work. Which artists, if any, would you say have been influences on your work? Do you have any favourites to look to when you need some inspiration or motivation?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
Definitely my first inspiration was Anna Halarewicz and her beautiful watercolour fashion illustrations. At the moment I follow so many amazing female illustrators, but my favourites are Frannerd (her YouTube channel is full of amazing advice), Bodil Jane, Laura Callaghan, and Cecilia Carlstedt

Magic & Musings:
Oh, I love Fran's illustrations, and everything on her channel!
Of all of your illustrations, which are you the happiest with and why?




Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
I really like a series of 3 portraits created at the beginning of the year, inspired by Dior Haute Couture Spring 2017 fashion show. I believe I managed to keep a nice balance between showing details and not overdoing the illustrations at the same time. 

Magic & Musings:
I’m interested in knowing how people work and get things done. Do you have a particular place you work or find yourself the most productive? Are there a particular set of things that need to be in place for things to get done? A specific hot drink? A relaxing album?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
I don’t have any specific routine, however when I work on my illustrations, I always work at home. The first thing I do is tidying up the desk and planning the tasks. I like to listen to inspiring podcasts while I’m drawing, it helps me to stay motivated and not be too distracted.

Magic & Musings:
What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a rut creatively?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
I try to loosen up by sketching anything without worrying about the outcome. Also I love listening to creative podcasts. My favourites are Creative Pep Talk and Arrest All Mimics.

Magic & Musings:
What are your favourite tools you use to create your illustrations? Are there any books on creativity and/or working for yourself you would recommend to others?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
I usually work with watercolours and coloured pencils, but recently I have started experimenting with brush pens and it is great! I would definitely recommend reading How to be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees and Becoming a Successful Illustrator by Jo Davis for all the illustrators who are just starting out. Those books cover all the basic information you need to understand the illustration business.


Magic & Musings:
What one thing do you wish someone told you when you were first starting out working in this field?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
“There is no such a thing as an overnight success, it is a process.”

Magic & Musings:
Fun question! Can you recommend everyone reading a book you’ve enjoyed recently, as well as a film and an album or song?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
I am a proper book warm, I love to read and long commutes in London are a perfect opportunity to do that. I recently read two books by Jojo Moyes: The Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You. Both gripping page-turners!

Game of Thrones has come back with a new season, so like probably everyone else I am impatiently waiting for Mondays. 

Magic & Musings:
Is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? How can people find out more about you and your work?

Aleksandra Stanglewicz:
Thank you for interviewing me! You can find my work on my website www.aleksandrastanglewicz.com and on Instagram. I share all the behind the scenes and progress photos. Also I have an Etsy shop with my prints! Feel free to check it out!

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