Alva Skog’s striking illustrations impressed the judges of last year’s V&A Illustration Awards with their visual wit, distinctiveness and technical accomplishment. Shortlisted for the student category, Alva’s illustrations The Thinker, The Explorer and The Leader were displayed at the Museum from May until June 2018. This vibrant series explored traditional representations of femininity and was inspired by the “strength and wisdom” of her peers.
A Swedish Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Alva recently graduated from Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts) in London. Alva has since received several notable commissions, including producing illustrations for The Guardian. She has also featured as ‘one to watch’ on It’s Nice That, Digital Arts and Creative Review.
To mark the opening of this year’s awards, we caught up with Alva to find out more about her work and what inspired her to become an illustrator.
How did it feel to be shortlisted for the V&A Illustration Awards 2018? What impact did this have on your work?
I was extremely honoured, happy and proud to be shortlisted for the V&A Illustration Awards, student category.
It had a big impact because it showed me that my work is good enough. I was shortlisted with a project that I had created myself at university, and to be shortlisted for that project gave me the confidence I needed to believe in my own ideas and to keep doing more self-initiated projects.
What made you want to become an illustrator?
Illustration has always been a way to communicate and express myself. I cannot remember a time when I did not draw. Becoming an illustrator has always been a dream, but it was not until I started studying at Central Saint Martins that I understood what the profession of an illustrator or graphic designer actually is.
How did you develop your personal style? Who are your influences?
I developed my personal style in the last year of my bachelor at university. It developed from a few key projects; my entry for the V&A Illustration Awards was one of them.
My creative influences and inspiration come from different things and directions but most important is my younger sister’s view on life, my mother’s knowledge of feminism as well as feminist science fiction, graphic novels, and women and non-binary people who stretch the boundaries of gender identity.
What advice would you give to emerging illustrators and student illustrators?
Work hard and be confident about your work. Show it to people, talk about it, and send it to competitions.
For students I would give the advice to experiment and explore a lot but most importantly to be engaged with your fellow students. I am collaborating and working with people that I studied with and some of the most important things I learned from university came from my classmates. Support each other and inspire each other. That is the advice I would like to give.
What’s next for Alva Skog?
I will continue working! I am very excited to see what collaborations and work opportunities the future holds.
The V&A Illustration Awards 2019 is now open to entries until Monday 17 December 2018. Student and published illustrators are invited to enter for free at https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/va-illustration-awards.
The winner in each category will receive £3,000 and a trophy with the student runner-up receiving £2,000. The overall winner of the published category will receive £8,000. Winning works will be displayed at the Museum in 2019.
View more of Alva’s work at http://alvaskog.com/