Interview with illustrator Jürg Lindenberger

Jürg Lindenberger is an illustrator whose work has a highly playful and cartoon-esque style. Using bright, unusual colours and creating distinctive characters, Jürg’s work is wacky and fun. He has illustrated for the likes of Anorak Magaizne, Google, and Word Skateboards. We chatted to Jürg about his work, how he found his visual style, his favourite commissions, and his advice to aspiring illustrators.

How did you get started as an illustrator?

I always doodled quite a bit, like scribbling on tables during school. When I was 17 I did an apprenticeship as a typographer. The whole printing knowledge I got from there helps me a lot. But I was always drawn to a more artistic profession and become interested in illustration pretty soon after finishing my apprenticeship. So I started to learn more about how to be an illustrator and how to find clients and things like that. I also had the opportunity to become an intern for a scientific illustrator. This definitely became pretty helpful later. I think it started with the idea to become an illustrator or just a desire for doing something truly creative, and from there it was all these little steps.

Your work has a really distinctive, playful and cartoon-esque style. How did you develop this?

I started reading comics from a very young age. So that definitely had a great impact on what I do now. Later a lot of other things inspired me like medieval book illustration, the visual appearance of skateboarding or album covers of bands I liked to listen to, for example. Working as an illustrator, I have had to expand my visual vocabulary constantly. So my style kind of grew into what it is now, based on my interests, likes and abilities (I would never ever manage to draw a cool death-metal cover, for example).

What’s the best thing about your job as an illustrator?

Most things are great. I love the creative part as well as working on the final artwork very much.

What kind of briefs and clients are you most drawn to?

I like if I have two weeks or more to do the final artwork. These illustrations tend to be more personal and have more meaning to me than if I only have two days to finish it. So yeah, this is an important aspect for me. Most clients I work for are really professional and fun and easy to work for which is just awesome.

“Working as an illustrator, I have had to expand my visual vocabulary constantly. So my style kind of grew into what it is now, based on my interests, likes and abilities”

Which commissions have been your favourite so far?

I always love to do illustrations for Anorak magazine. Doing graphics for skateboards was challenging, but also a great pleasure and I got some free boards. Basically most jobs I’ve done so far were interesting in their own way and lead to new possibilities.

Do you have a favourite series or piece of your own work?

Most of the time I tend to like the things I just finished the most. After working on something for days or weeks and then seeing it completed is really satisfying.

Is there something you want to communicate or achieve with your illustration?

I don’t really know… It just mainly something that is fun for me to do. And it avoids working in a office job, I suppose. It’s such a pleasure to work as a freelance illustrator and to be able to go out the studio whenever you like.

What are you currently working on?

I’m assembling some illustrations for a children’s clothing company right now. I hope it works out fine; I am curious about how this will turn out.

Do you have any advice to aspiring illustrators?

Building a strong portfolio seems important. Then get in contact with people who commission illustration is crucial of course. For me it was crucial to find a way to produce my illustration in a fun and efficient way.

What’s your dream creative project?

Doing a picture book would be interesting. Doing more stuff for clothing brands would be nice too. I’m a bit of a sucker for nice packaging designs so that would be something I’d be happy to have a go at too.

Check out more of Jürg’s work on his website.