The jaunty figures and detailed scenes of Stephanie Wunderlich’s illustrations have been built through a mixture of digital and paper collage, but her first love is the cruder method of the two.
“What I always loved about papercut illustration is the bold, striking, expressive and very graphical visual language,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I like the slightly rough, edgy appearance. The technique invites you to always find new ways to simplify, reduce and see things in an abstract way, or at the same time enrich things in a decorative way. You see the traces of the analogue work, the imperfect form cut by scissors, the shadowed edges, each element communicating with the other. The whole working process offers you sensual inspiration.”
After witnessing a boom in digital illustration, Stephanie has noticed a resurgence in hand-making methods recently. “When I started working as an illustrator papercut was rare, but now you see a lot of paper in 3D and 2D work. There’s definitely been a return to traditional analogue techniques lately.”
The German-born illustrator studied at FH Augsburg in Bavaria before moving to Italy to study for a degree in communication design at ISIA Urbino. After two years in advertising she became a freelance illustrator and “never again wanted to do anything else”. She’s completed commissions for Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, SZ, Plansponsor and Die Ziet.
The Busy People collection is a highlight of her folio, showing a series of people too distracted by their phones and “other peculiarities” to notice the world around them. Comprising 100 black and white illustrations, the series focuses on line and form.
These are distinctly different from much of her other work, however, which bursts with radiant colour. In her Empowering Women piece, in particular, the charming texture and brave colour choices show a refined and unique take on papercut artwork.
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