Hi Nicole, it’s lovely talking to you! First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers? Who are you, where do you come from, where do you live now? Tell us a little bit about your personal background!
I’m Nicole, I was born in Germany and after a little “stopover” which I had spent in Denmark from 1997-2006, I am now back living in the beautiful region of Middle Hesse.
I am a trained merchant in wholesale and foreign trade, but I started drawing very very early, because my grandfather, who was a painter and sculptor himself, has always supported and encouraged me to do that.
What do you do for a living? When did you discover photography for yourself?
Actually, I have worked as a permanent employee in the same company where I did my training. However, painting has always been a huge part in my life and therefore, I have registered a small business in 2015 since many people enjoyed my paintings and this allowed me to sell my work. In 2019, I quit my job to fulfill my dream of self-employment. I always wanted to just paint and earn my money with that – just like my grandpa!!
My interest in photography actually came as a “side effect”: my special style – which is to draw something in order to complete the real object (a candy, a flower, a stone, etc.) by placing it on a piece of paper beforehand – is part of taking a picture from the top, so it looks pretty real and you would like to touch it.
Your Instagram Feed brings a fun and happy mood, which is probably also thanks to these cute big eyes. You even created the hashtag #showmeyourgooglyeyes! What made you do this?
Exactly! You can take the previous topic up here pretty well and Instagram plays a really big part in this, as I post the above-mentioned pictures there. I didn’t want to only post pretty pictures, but also to involve my followers a bit and tickle their own creativity. So, in 2017, I came up with the idea of an ongoing challenge named #showmeyourgooglyeyes. Anyone can join – all you need to do is put wiggly eyes somewhere and you will immediately put a smile on someone else’s face and even your own too, am I right?
It seems that you don’t only like to take pictures, but also create many motifs by yourself! How do you come up with your ideas and how did you develop your style?
That’s a pretty good question! Actually, I can’t really give a clear answer to that. The drawers in my brain are always open!
The ideas for my pictures really do come out of the blue. I simply follow my intuition and spontaneously see what things I could draw with the object (be it flowers, smarties, …) – I see or hear something, and associations pop up. I often have more fun during summer because I feel more creative, and it is always so nice and bright outside.
You can describe my style as mini minimalism. Over the years, not much has changed, except for a new phone (I take my pictures with my iPhone or iPad and edit them on Lightroom or Procreate) where the quality of the pictures get better and better because I also put more value in good lightning and clear colours than at the beginning, where it was all about fun. Nowadays, I earn money with my work.
You also like to create little GIF-Animations – what do you like most about these?
Hehe yes – since autumn 2020 my new, old love! You didn’t know that, right? When I was 12 years old, I had sent a portfolio with self-made pictures to Walt Disney in America. Unfortunately, they never arrived, and I got a “return to sender” note.
I always wanted to work at animated film and when I lived in Denmark, I went to a school for illustration and animation. That is when I learned the whole process from that time, the way it used to be done – I will call it flipbook style now: You draw each individual drawing on a foil and colour the back. One second consists of 24 individual images!
I can do that now with Procreate on my iPad and without working at Disney – and I simply enjoy seeing my pictures come to life with one or two small adjustments!
And the coolest thing is that I have an official Giphy-Account which allows all my GIFs to be used in social media by the whole world. Luckily, the users also like them even though it is something different from my Instagram images. I would say that my art is pretty diverse and not stuck with one theme. Everyone can find something in it.
What inspires you and why?
My inspiration comes from everywhere. Books, vacation at the beach, interesting people, music. I observe a lot in nature and in the world, in which I live.
(Usually,) we love to travel, we go to the cinema once or twice a month, and also like to go to a museum. Art has always played a big role in my life. But it’s the simple things that inspire me and it's simple images that I create. I don’t think it all has to be complex and complicated. I could do that, too, but I don’t think my followers on Instagram would like to see that.
Also, my son inspires me with his childlike creativity – simply doing something without getting judged.
Can you tell us a bit about your creation process? How long do you usually work on a picture?
Whenever an idea comes to me while picking a flower, I instantly put it on a white sheet of paper once I’m at home and I either start drawing or at least take a picture. After that, it usually goes pretty quickly – I don’t really sketch something out with a pencil.
You could actually say that taking the pictures and editing them takes more time… Generally speaking, I occupy myself for an hour or a little more with that – you wouldn’t believe it, but that’s how it goes.
When and why did you start sharing your pictures on Instagram?
I have shared my very first picture on Instagram at the end of 2012. It was a picture of my son after an operation at the hospital. At first, I thought Instagram was something like a photo album and I shared the pictures with people I know. I didn’t know that the whole world could see them! So, I kept sharing pictures from vacations, dinners, pictures of children. Unfortunately, I also noticed that some creepy people were using the same platform after a while, and I didn’t want to share any more pictures of my son.
A little doodle, which I created during a phone call, was the first picture that I made and posted, and it was even better received than all the other pictures I had shared before! So, I decided to switch and started to photograph my little artworks and share them on Instagram.
The kickoff started, when I posted the first picture in this style – a simple, black vase drawn with fine liner and a real primrose placed inside of it. Unfortunately, you can’t find the picture in my Instagram Feed anymore, I think I have deleted it because I didn’t like the quality or it was too dark in my taste. Nowadays, you can simply archive your pictures – which I didn’t know back then… that was 2015.
Do you have a favorite picture which you have shared? Can you tell us the story behind it?
One of my favorite pictures is definitely the small purple violets, which I have drawn in March 2016 and posted online – if I remember correctly, it was thanks to this picture I got my very first commission or rather cooperation! It was a magazine for books called @moka_magazin which is resident in Hamburg. I was commissioned to draw a cover in my style – I was sooo happy and so proud!
A year after that, my account was presented as one of ten most extraordinary Instagram Accounts in a magazine called “Bravo”. This doesn’t happen every day, too, right?
How do you feel about your Instagram community? Do they inspire you a lot? Have you been able to meet some people?
I am very thankful for my IG-Community, or rather my followers and I really love them. There are still so many people who followed me since the beginning and somehow you get the feeling that you really know these people for such a long time in real life, as well – which is kind of crazy! Some of them I actually got to know personally and we like each other in real life, like to meet up, have a phone call, keep in touch and make plans for future meetings. This is so lovely! I really like the exchange – not only with other artists. I know that many of my followers are mothers like myself. Knowing that, it’s okay to vent your frustrations in the captions of your pictures and ask for new recipes.
Of course, the artist's brain is always working, but I must confess that I'm not so keen on following others with a style similar to mine, because I don't want to eventually read under my picture "I've already seen this (similar) idea on XY, you thief!" Although I don't think anyone has reinvented the wheel....
Can you name some of your favorite Instagrammers who inspire you?
In fact, I find inspiration more in the accounts where I can still learn something or who do something completely different than me – I like to follows cooks like Jamie Oliver or the actress Elena Uhlig with her Stillen Örtchen.
When naming other artists, I like the maker Lisa Bardot with her tutorials, Charly Clements, and Jesuso - you know exactly which one! But from the beginning I always really liked Rachel Ryle with her stop motion animations, so so great!!!
Do you still like sending postcards?
I must honestly confess that I don’t send out postcards frequently anymore - only at Christmas, birthdays or from vacation.
Buuut whenever I send my pictures to customers, I always add a handwritten postcard from me – I think this is important. A little nostalgia and retro always reaches the heart, in my opinion.
Did you know Pickmotion before we started our collaboration? If yes, how did you become aware of us?
Of course I knew you before our cooperation through Instagram and I also always admired your cards in bookstores. I was honestly so surprised and was excited like a child when I received your first E-Mail.
And even now, whenever I see an E-Mail from you in my inbox and you tell me that you love my picture and would like to make another card – my heart always skips a beat!
Would you like to share a little story or anecdote with us? Feel free to tell us anything!
Yes, I can think of something nice related to your cards: I really get messages from all over the world from my followers who send me pictures with one of my cards in their hands – seeing these is really cool and makes me really happy.
And in 2018, when I received your first credit, I spontaneously used the money to fulfill my son's long-cherished dream and booked a week in London - thank you <3