Andreas Samuelsson will listen to a song on repeat until it becomes a part of the image that he’s drawing. “It gives an image a better flow and energy,” the Swedish illustrator determines, and when you look at his portfolio, you can see the presence of repetition and melody in the way he handles pattern and arranges his subjects with a sense of tempo and progression.
It’s been 10 years since Samuselsson graduated from Berghs School of Communication, in which time he has accumulated an impressive list of clients, including The New York Times, Anorak Magazine, Insound, and fashion brands like Nike and Weekday. His blocky, abstracted, colorful style—a kind of mid-century modernism plunged into a box of Lego—also lends itself well to wallpaper design. “Making random patterns might be the process where I feel 100% free as a creator,” says Samuelsson. “My goal is to feel free and be free, so maybe the patterns I create are a way to document that feeling.”
For personal work, Samuselsson will arrange highly stylized objects and letters into patterns to explore this particular interest. “These images started when I realized that I like to draw details rather than a whole body,” he explains. “I can draw an ear and an eye 100 times for example, trying to find the shape and color that feels right. The object patterns are done because of my passion for combining shapes together to make something that feels right.”
With earphones on and the repeat function selected, Samuselsson will start his process with A4 paper and pencil, sketching ideas and scanning them into illustrator. To achieve a charming effect of loose lines, he’ll draw directly on the screen with his right hand—despite being left-handed—until the image feels “simple and pure”. Occasionally, he might look at the shapes in an Isamu Noguchi garden, or the colors of a Donald Judd painting: “Seeing a physical image gives me a lot of energy every day.”