Hi! I am Sonja!
I am the quirky artist behind SONJA ILLUSTRATES. I work with an array of different media: everything from oils to acrylics, gouache to ink wash, water colours to charcoal. I create a variety of different types of art from paintings to illustration, custom calligraphy to one-of-a-kind fairy doors. Whether it is painting, practicing a new font or putting together a fairy door, I love to work with my hands. I absolutely love what I do. I put my whole heart into every project big or small and try to tell a story with everything I create.
A bit about me...
I am from a small town in the States called Vero Beach, Florida. My father is from Bavaria and my mother's family is from Norway. I grew up eating Smørrebrød and leberwurst and listening to German folk singers, like Heino. When I was a child my father loved to tell me stories about his home country. He would regale me with tales of kings and queens, dark forests and grand castles and what it was like to grow up poor in a devastated post-war Germany. I spent my days dreaming of lands far away and knew someday I would live abroad.
Ever since I was a child I have had an absolute fascination with classical literature, folklore, legends and mythology. This often influences my art and the way I see the world. I believe that the stories we tell have power. They are our legacy. The stories are what matter most.
I believe that the stories we tell have power.
They are our legacy. The stories are what matter most.
I have lived in five different cities and four different countries in the past 15 years. I speak three languages and am working on my fourth. I have completed University Degrees in both the USA and Germany and have spent the past two decades travelling the globe and gathering plenty of creative fodder for my art.
From Munich to London to Como...
After graduating University in the States I decided to go out and explore the world. I spent nearly ten years in Germany studying at the University. I graduated in 2014 with my Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from the Ludwig-Maxmilians University in Munich. I specialised in German, Spanish and English Literature from the 16th Century forward and wrote thesis about Holocaust Literature and cultural memory.
In 2012, I moved to London with my husband and fell in love with the city that has been home to countless authors and the backdrop for so many stories I have loved throughout my life. From Wilde to Dickens, Eliot to Doyle, J.M. Barrie to H.G. Wells, I found parts and pieces of their literature scattered all over London.
London will always hold a special place in my heart. It is where I began my career as an artist but also where I became a Mom. These two major life events are deeply intertwined for me because I decided to start drawing r because of my son. I wanted him to grow up surrounded by literature so I began to illustrate fairytales to hang in his nursery. Friends encouraged me to sell them online. So I did and slowly I started to make a name for myself. In London I attended art courses at the Putney School of Art and Design, and The House of Illustration and Quill London and began to seek out opportunities to learn new skills and improve my techniques. Over the years I received more and more requests for bigger and more demanding custom illustration projects and I have continued to grow and develop.
After seven years in London my husband and I made a decision to relocate to a more family-oriented setting to raise our son. In the summer of 2019, we moved to the picturesque city of Como, not far from Milan, in the heart of sunny Italy. It is here that with my husband and our adorable little boy, named Cristian, I am continuing this journey and hope to keep creating art and stories for the world.
My style has been described as "whimsical" and "fairytale-esque" but also "provocative" and "engaging". I weave a story into each piece of art I create. I am considered a very versatile artist with a wide breadth of skill, including working to a brief for custom request.
My work has sold throughout Europe and in the USA. I have worked for the likes of 3-Michelin Star Chef, Kevin Fehling creating custom illustrations of his life and influences which are now part of his personal collection. I have been featured in magazines and local media and even created art for local dance schools and the New Wimbledon Theater in London.
Work with me...
I do accept new commissions from time to time throughout the year for projects based on my time and availability. If you would like me to create something special for you please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to accommodate you.