Take Five: Beth Sicheneder & Illustration

Beth Sicheneder is one of our many talented designers here at Capsule. Always with a positive attitude, Beth is a pleasure to have on our team. With a keen eye for illustration, design and the entire process therein, we thought it was time to explore her creative mind. 

1. When did you discover your fondness and talent for illustrative style?

I’m still discovering it! I don’t think it’s something I will stumble upon as much as it is something that's continuously growing and evolving. I’ve always spent lots of time drawing and sketching but could never settle upon a subject to illustrate. The nice thing about graphic design is that the subject is predetermined and I have the freedom to go where I will with the style.

2. Are there any illustrators you specifically admire? Any techniques you’ve adapted for your own?

Yes! Too many to list here. The illustrators I admire most are those who don’t follow the usual defined path, but find their own way to do the work they love. Instead of looking around for an open door, they build one. That takes a huge amount of courage and effort and I really respect it.  As far as techniques I have some favorite go to’s, but I’m always exploring new ones. I’ve heard it takes about eight years to become established as an illustrator with a defined style — that’s a serious commitment and if it’s true I still have a long ways to go!

3. How does illustration play into graphic design? Is there a divide or are they one in the same?

There are many ways in which illustration and design play together.  Illustration can be the ingredient that breathes a touch of human life into a design, or sets the mood of a piece. I tend to think of graphic design as more of a process for solving complex brand and visual problems, and illustration as one of many possible solutions.

4. In what other ways do you practice your illustrative style around the community?

I do a little work outside of the normal 9-5 just for fun. It allows me to explore more whimsical themes and topics that client work doesn’t always allow for.  I find it’s a nice exercise to be able to set the parameters for myself at the onset, and work without any looming deadlines. A lot of my recent work has been focused on the outdoors and returning to nature, which is probably a product of spending so much time in front of a screen! I’m starting to find there’s a nice little niche for this kind of art in the local community, and I’m currently selling some of my prints at a little boutique shop in Minneapolis.

I also recently had a design of mine up on Cotton Bureau, which happened on a whim but ended up being a pretty cool experience. Nothing beats seeing your 92 year old Grandma walking around in a sweater you illustrated!

5. What advice would you give to those who have a talent for illustration, and want to apply it to their professional career?

I’d say if you love it, then keep at it! It can sometimes be more difficult to find an application for illustrative work in an agency setting than as a freelancer, but when it can play a part I’ve been continually surprised at the way clients have embraced it. Also, when it comes to your own illustrative style, some people may love it and others may not give it a passing glance, so learning to roll with the punches and stay true to your style despite varied feedback is key.

*Photo credit: here

About The Author

Courtney Johnson

Affectionately known around the office as C-John, CoJo or Uptown Girl, I make sure the whole world knows about the general greatness of Capsule. Armed with the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and Audrey Hepburn inspired wardrobe, I coordinate all details around building relationships and exploring new design opportunities. Sailing on Lake Calhoun and attending local concerts feed my daily musings. 


* indicates required