Artist Feature: Monika Forsberg of Walkyland
By Malinda Meadows
At Ollie + Squish, it is clear that we have a love for playful, quirky, and imaginative prints. After all, the prints should match the fun personalities of those wearing them!
Have you ever wondered where our whimsical prints come from?
This week, we wanted to share a peek behind our creative process and where we gather some of the inspiration behind our children’s apparel.
Meet Monika Forsberg, a London-based animator turned illustrator and the woman behind a few of our fantastic designs, like our Tiger Tee and the Dinosaur Snapsuit. We love her playful technicolor style and her fun approach to color.
We wanted to learn more about Monika, and we thought you might like to learn more, too.
1. How did you start illustrating?
I think my friend and I started somewhere around 4-6 years old.
We’d make stories, drawing pictures, adding words and making comics before we could read and write properly.
Then I grew up. When I was 36 and our youngest son was a newborn, I didn’t want to be an animator anymore. I searched for something that’d stick, something that could turn into something - learning basket weaving and scriptwriting. I crocheted, embroidered and made jewelry.
I also decided to learn how to draw. From scratch. To lay off any ego or learnt behavior/style.
Two years later I was trying to apply for jobs but realized that I had sort of blown it, getting a ‘proper‘ job. My CV was/is like a weird specimen found in a bin.
So, I decided to take my doodles and drawings and go ‘commercial.’ I focused on everything I was good at and everything I was bad at. And I worked hard.
And when I turned 40 I got my very first illustration commission.
2. How did you decide on the name for your website, “Walkyland”?
The father of my kids used to read different blogs and a friend of his had a blog called WallKandy and our eldest son and I were always asking, “Are you reading Walkyland again?”
And then I thought, that is a good name and I bought the domain. At the time I had no drawings, only some blurry photographs. But I had a vision of what I wanted Walkyland to become. It was really good to start with a name and then build up what I thought it is/was.
3. Describe a perfect work day for you.
I drop my youngest kid off at school, have a walk over the Heath with a friend then work whilst listening to serial killer documentaries until it is pick-up time at school in the afternoon.
4. What is your favorite thing to illustrate?
I love drawing everything. I used to say it was ducks but to be honest I am a bit fed up with ducks at the moment.
5. Do you have a favorite children’s book? Or a favorite reading tradition with your children?
Anything by Lennart Hellsing and I love The Owl and the Pussycat. I always read to my kids and Richard Scarry has been a winner with both. I always read to the kids at bedtime (well the eldest is 17 so don’t read to him anymore, but we used to - The Machine Gunners was our favorite). The youngest is not into stories as much as facts so we read a lot of factual books, like the stats for a motorbike (500 horsepower and max speed 40 mph and such absolute gibberish!)
Lennart Hellsing via Pinterest
6. At Ollie + Squish, we clearly love swimming! Where do you like to go in the summer to cool off with your kiddies?
The Lido on Hampstead Heath! Or the sea, preferably Tjuvholmssundet in Lulea.
Find more about Monika’s illustrations here and be sure to check the Gazette soon for more interviews and to learn more about the creative side of Ollie + Squish.
Looking to buy a snapsuit or toddler tee with one of Monika's designs? Shop for them in our Toddler Tees + Snapsuits section of the shop.