The enchanted world of ASTRID BLUMER
We’ve fallen hard for the work of local illustrator Astrid Blumer and it’s safe to say you will too. Her designs are filled with magic, whimsy and a love of nature as well as a dose of contemplative calm. Most often you’ll see scenes of pastels and muted tones, inky night skies, nature and her dog Nina, but every so often she throws caution to the wind with juicy brights. No matter the content or the client, Astrid’s images have a dreamy, painterly quality thanks to her love of ink and watercolours and a wistfulness we can’t get enough of.
Having picked up illustration at a young age, Astrid puts much of her skill down to growing up in a creative family. “Art was always my favourite subject in primary school and when I went to high school, I chose a school that specialised in the arts. It was there that I learned about print making, drawing, painting, weaving and ceramics,” she says. Today she looks up to illustrators like Gemma Koomen, Lindsay Stripling, Kirsten
Sims and Romanian folk artist Aitch, all of whom share a love of whimsy.
Her clients vary, but recent works that caught our eye include a guest booklet for Cape Town’s La Grenadine Petit Hotel. Her images portray the same warmth and quirkiness of the hotel with fun illustrations featuring animals, music and retro charm.
Another project for interior stylist Lauren McCreath involved a brand redesign in Astrid’s tell-tale bountiful style. A starry night sky, leafy and floral elements and mysterious tigers form part of this enchanted illustration.
Lately she has put her talents to two very special books, both part of the Dithakgo tša Gobala Wordless book series by Collaborate Community Projects. The first of them, Serapana (The Garden), depicts a young girl tending to her vegetable garden with the support of her friends. “Serapana and her animal friends show you how you can grow your own food garden to feed your family,” says Astrid.
The non-profit project gathered stories from the children and parents of Pretoria’s Mamelodi community and translated their tales into images. That the books have no words allows the reader to narrate the story with creative freedom, in a language of their choice, elevating the art of illustration to empower children and break down the boundaries to literacy.
The second of her books for the nonprofit has just been released. Entitled Moruki, which translates to The Seamstress in Sepedi, it follows a young girl who uses sewing to earn a living.
In terms of her process, Astrid begins with pencil sketches, which she refines until she is happy with them. These are then transferred onto “fancy paper” where they’re brought to life with watercolour or ink and then polished in Photoshop.
“If I’m working digitally, I still start with pencil sketches and then finish the artwork with texture and paint brushes in Photoshop or Procreate,” says Astrid.
When it comes to dream gigs, she lists a glut of projects including illustrating well-known book covers, a greeting card line for Red Cap Cards, designing an illustrated fabric range, collaborating with a natural bath and beauty company on their packaging and illustrating her own children’s book.
“I want to do everything, so let’s see how much I’m capable of!”
Check out Astrid Blumer Illustration & Design on Facebook, and her delightful Insta page @astridblumer.
There’s a lightness to graphic designer Astrid Blumer’s illustrations that is magnetising. We wanted to know more!