Christopher

Nielsen

My name is Christopher Nielsen.

I make images for ad agencies, publishers, design firms, fishmongers, seaplane charterers, department stores, banks, rock bands, breweries and my Mum.

The key to making images that connect with other people is to put a little bit of yourself into the artwork and to use your own personal interests as a starting point. The three things currently inspiring me the most are carnivorous plants, the Filipino version of Batman and Robin, and vintage Japanese guitars. I try to stay away from direct artistic influences and look to other things like music, film or nature for inspiration.

My work is all about vintage design and a love for all things that go yellow around the edges. Recently I’ve been playing around with printmaking techniques to see how closely I can replicate some of the vintage design I’m influenced by.

My studio is always open because that’s where I live! I grew up in Brisbane, but I now live in Sydney, where the traffic is light and the smiles are free of charge. One of the most formative experiences of my career was sharing a studio for almost ten years with a bunch of other illustrators in a beautiful warehouse in Surry Hills. When I first moved in it was a little intimidating to be working amongst some of my heroes, but they were great mentors and really schooled me in how to be a professional creative.

While I’m not doing client work, you can probably find me bringing up my two kids, walking my dingo-dog Rusty or playing on stage with my band The Ramalamas. In a recent review of our latest album it was noted that I was a 'nifty guitar player and had a 'serviceable pop voice' ...

The best thing about working on commercial projects is walking away knowing that you’ve satisfied the client as well as making the other people working on the project look smart for hiring you.

Not long ago I illustrated my first children’s book called Once Upon an ABC. Since then I’ve illustrated several other picture books and I’m completely hooked. Here’s a recent book called Balloon To The Moon that I created for Templar Publishing. I loved working on something that would have blown away twelve-year-old-me’s mind!

One of my all time favourite projects was the Christmas campaign I created for Myer department store. I was given the job of providing the visual universe for their ‘giftorium’ level and website for the festive season which was a huge but really fulfilling task.

Here’s another piece I’m really proud of. It was created for KW Doggett Fine Papers. They wanted vintage posters, brochures and print ads to show off their beautiful recycled paper and asked me to work on the campaign for the last three years in a row.

I was also lucky enough to create some work for Headspace. It’s such a great organisation for kids to have access to if things get a little tough out there.

It’s really important to dedicate time to personal work because it stretches out your creative muscles and lets you take chances you sometimes aren’t afforded in commercial work. I’ve always wanted to work with patterns and create some wallpapers, bedding, wrapping papers etc. I think something like this would super satisfying to see out and about in the world.

Most of my work starts with thumbnails and quick sketches. I work on tracing paper and keep going over and refining the images to find their best composition and simplest form. Then I cut stencils out of the tracing paper and make prints of the components. Once I have all of those nice organic and textured parts, I can scan them in and assemble and colour them in photoshop. I use a Cintiq to tweak everything in the final mix.

Professional recognition is always kinda nice to receive. Some awards currently lining my trophy room include a couple of Communication Arts medals and gold, silver and bronze from Illustrators Australia. I have also been acknowledged by The Society Of Illustrators New York, American Illustration Annual, AGDA, and shortlisted for the CBCA Crichton Award for best new children’s book illustrator.

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.