Anna Bay

Meet Anna Bay⁠—a freelance illustrator from Rotterdam. Anna⁠ tells us about how she'd love to work on a sex-ed passion project, how getting into a 'zen state' when working can actually be draining, plus she gives some really great advice on getting in touch with your emotions and why having fun (and napping) should be your number 1 priority!

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

Maybe this has more to do with appreciating beauty than creativity, but I used to put caterpillars in my pocket because I adored them and wanted to show them to my mom after school. The anecdote always makes me feel good, it reminds me I’m still that kid that looks at the world with childlike wonder. Who bumps into all kinds of beauty and wants to make it bigger by sharing it.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

My parents named me Anne, after my grandmother Anna. Over the past few years, people started calling me Anna by mistake more and more. And I liked it! So that had to be in there. One of my best friends is called Anne as well so my group of friends added a B (after my surname van den Berg) to my name to avoid confusion. Which, in Dutch, sounds like Bay. Together Anna Bay sounds warm, soft and calm, which matches my personality, and thus my work, perfectly. Afterward, it sounds so logical, but it was quite a quest to find a fitting name. Before this I used Anne van den Berg Illustrates, which sounds accurate, there’s no fun in that :-D I didn’t expect a fitting name to make such a huge difference, but it does!

Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-2

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

As an illustrator, I love to emphasize the positive with my soft and sweet handmade world. Using paper and other materials one can find in and around the house. Led by color and the limitations of the materials used. Leaving as much out as possible to create a clear and strong image that shows the power of vulnerability. Lit with light that supports the story behind it and gives it that extra bit of magic.

What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

The best and worst part are one and the same! I love the way the whole world around me disappears when I’m building my tiny props. I get into a zen state because of the focus and bliss I feel while working. But the same thing sometimes makes it hard to notice when I need a break. I tend to make long days that feel good but eventually deplete me and take the fun out of my work when there are too much of those in a row.

Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-4
Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-4

Have fun! This should be your no. 1 priority! Focus on what gives you pleasure instead of dissatisfaction and everything will keep on or start to flow.

How does the local culture of where you live affect your design work and getting clients?

The Dutch are pretty direct, which makes communication with a client very effective. No need to beat around the bush or wonder if they say what they really mean. Everything is very clear. It makes it easier to approach clients as well. I’ve had plenty of examples where I emailed companies out of the blue saying “Hey, I see you use beautiful illustrations, I’m able to make some for you as well, can I?” And them simply replying “Yes!”.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

Yes! A non-existing one haha. I’d love to work on a sex-ed method that helps increase equality, pleasure, and positive body image, instead of fear. I’m looking for people who feel this is important as well and can help make it happen.

Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-6

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

The same advice I would give anyone. Have fun! This should be your no. 1 priority. Focus on what gives you pleasure instead of dissatisfaction and everything will keep on or start to flow.

When I started out and clients hadn’t found me yet, the lack of work was the only thing on my mind. Let’s just say that didn’t help. It was only when I started noticing that, when I had fun and was excited for things to come, things that matched that feeling appeared in my life, that jobs started to come my way.

Being aware of how situations make you feel and getting a handle on your emotions requires daily practice, but it works! When it’s too hard to find beauty in a situation that feels bad, take a nap! Or even better, meditate. It’s much easier to find positive aspects when sleep or meditation has diminished your resistance. It’s the most effective way to get you in a good mood so you are inspired to make your best work yet.

Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-7
Design work by Anna Bay The Design Kids interviews Anna Bay work-7

Where to find Anna Bay online.

Website: annabay.nl

Instagram: @byannabay

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