“I’m a french-fries-loving, time-optimistic and eco-friendly poster maker and freelance illustrator based
in Copenhagen, Denmark,” is what Michelle would say if whe was to describe herself in one sentence.
27-year-old Michelle founded her company, Michelle Carlslund Illustration, five years ago while she
was still studying graphic design. In 2013 she started to work full time as a poster maker and
illustrator, and now her posters, cards, notebooks and totebags can be bought in over two hundred
design shops around the world.
Michelle sees herself as a morph of a kid and a grown-up, and her aim is to bring out some
playfulness in us grown-ups leading our busy lives with jobs, responsibility and stress.
Michelle’s illustrative universe is inhabited by strong men, eclectic cityscapes, playful puns, cheeky
tigers and honey-loving bears. She wants to create works that are playful, warm and nostalgic.
“Sometimes I think it is enough for an illustration to be pretty to look at, but more often I like to
have an edge to it. Or something a bit strange or odd. A feeling or a detail that makes you think again
and perhaps imagine how the situation in the illustration ended up like it did.”
For example, Michelle often draws only four fingers to people in her illustrations. By doing that she
wants to point out that it’s a world different from the real one with no rules. “And just because I can!”
Michelle’s choice of techniques has changed a lot over the past years. Earlier she used to cut, glue
and draw a lot, because she wanted to have an original piece of all her illustrations. This can be seen
in illustrations as Let’s Dance or My City two. Now she is more into using an electronic drawing pad.
“I am now quite caught up with using different brushes in Photoshop. This way of working is old
news to a lot of people, but I never really explored it before. I really like the opportunity to change and
rearrange elements in the computer using my electronic drawing pad and pen. I’m not good with
vector, and I love the way the lines feel more alive when you draw them by hand.”
To find a perfect color palette for an illustration Michelle tries different options and relies on her gut
feeling. She compares it to the very delicate ability of a chef balancing out different tastes in a dish.
But she does get inspired by things around her as well:
“Of course, I get inspired by the colours I see around me. The trending colours crawl under my
skin, and at some point I feel like using them, and they feel just right, too, although they didn’t a few
weeks earlier. Just like I used to hate plateau shoes and now own several pairs…”
The majority of Michelle’s posters is printed on a sustainable stone paper. Stone paper is made of
limestone and oil-based non-toxic binder called HDPE. The production of stone paper releases half as
much carbon dioxide as conventional paper. Stone ￼paper is cradle-to-cradle certified, and under the
right conditions it will start to decompose.
“I think there is too much stuff in the world already. If I am going to add more, the least I can do is
to make it as sustainable as possible. It is tough, though. Being green is crazy expensive. But I have
managed so far and will continue to do so as much as I possibly can.”
Michelle is always busy doing something new, also commissioned works. This year she has, for
example, designed mini poster collections for French mag émoi émoi. Lately she’s been working on
creating a character for a new mall in a suburb of Copenhagen – “a very commercial and different
commission for me”, she says. No matter what the project, Michelle follows her motto.
“One of my bestselling posters has the text ‘Don’t forget to kiss’. That is more of a life motto. It is a
reminder to have fun and not to take everything – including myself – too seriously.”
Fore more info and to learn about Michelles freelance commissions visit www.michellecarlslund.com
Michelle Carlslund Illustration
Kompagnistræde 33, 2. sal
1208 København K
Tlf: 28 49 84 74