You’d half expect illustrations this scintillating to be at the hands of a Mediterranean artist, but no - Ana Jaks originally hails from a small island off the west coast of the UK, and is a graduate from the University of Falmouth. Her vividly colourful, architecturally inspired pieces are ravishing - chic sunning ladies don retro shades and a red lip, and polka dots dance with geometric patterns in a rainbow of neon hues.
Ana’s bright, bold aesthetic stems from a childhood obsession with weird and wonderful Japanese stationery, and an early introduction to paper arts.
We caught up with Ana about her illustrative process, colour-coding projects and her go-to tools for sketching such sunny pictures.
When did your love of stationery begin? Do you have fond childhood memories of pencils and paper?
My favourite time of year at school was the beginning of term because it always meant a new pencil case and everything that came along with it – like smelly pens, erasers that looked like sea animals and bendy rulers. All essential.
My love of stationery started from a very young age. I remember when I became best friends with Kaya (who is Japanese), the love got even stronger. I am still close with her now. Everything was so much prettier if it was from Japan. She taught me how to make origami and paper balloons; my mind was blown. Granted, I am awful at origami, but my love for paper was born after that.
How does stationery and paper play a part in your work and creative process? What are your go-to instruments for creating?
Everything that I write or draw goes into a Moleskine. I have different coloured books for different projects or times in my life and at the moment I am on Citron Yellow, which I think is my favourite so far!
I work well with lists, so whatever the project is I make sure I write down all the keywords and important parts of the brief, usually with lots of patterns around the page to make it visually pleasing. This is because I lose concentration very quickly and get distracted! All of this is usually written with my pink Pentel Sign Pen because I have been in love with this pen since I started University.
I think if anyone were to look in my sketchbooks they’d find a surprising amount of writing for an illustrator, but after all of the notes I get into sketching. Usually I have “rough roughs” and then a more refined rough so any client can actually see what is going on. Unfortunately I lose pencils like there is no tomorrow, so I haven’t treated myself to nice new one in a long time. A lot of my sketches are drawn from any old pencil I can find!
Do you have any favourite pieces of stationery? Any new purchases you’re getting a lot of use out of lately, or classics you keep going back to?
I love my Moleskine because there are never ending pages, my pink Pentel Sign Pen because it is so easy to write and draw with, and anything by Posca. I recently bought a whole load of new Posca pens and a “Genuine Field Stationery” case to put them all in because I have too many pens I can’t fit them anywhere – basically I just found an excuse to relive my primary school new pencil case dream. All I ever used to draw with was Posca, and I never managed to find any other pen that compares. The colours are beautiful and the range of nibs is great.
Can you share your top stationery shopping spots with us?
Do you know what? I’ve only ever lived on the Isle of Man (tiny) and Falmouth (also tiny) so my shopping spots have always been extremely limited. When I started my degree at Falmouth University I fell in love with that campus shop, I must have spent an inhumane amount on stationery. I’m moving to Bristol in October so I think I’ll be running to Papersmiths before I’ve even had the chance to unpack.
Paper is most satisfying in the form of…
A brand new notebook/sketchbook. Although saying that, there is nothing better than getting your hands on a brand new illustrated book or magazine that you’ve had your eyes on for a long time.
If you could have a rummage in anybody’s pencil case whose would it be?
Without a doubt it’d either be Annu Kilpeläinen, Lynnie Zulu or Kelly Anna.
What’s been your biggest stationery indulgence?
I’m awful when it comes to anything with bright colours or a pretty pattern all over it. I’m going to say notebooks! I have far too many.
Any parting thoughts or anecdotes on your love of stationery?
I love stationery so much, I just hope that one day I can love a pencil so badly that I never lose it.
Thank you Ana!