In our ATAS Artist Spotlight series, we take a deeper dive into our artists through their work and the creative process and stories behind them.
Kim Ekdahl is a Swedish-based artist known for her colorful, vivid, and fantasy-themed digital art. Her artwork is influenced by video games, books, and nature. When Kim is not drawing, she enjoys playing video games and reading fantasy novels. A motto that Kim lives by is to “never stop making art; even if you feel that you are failing, if you continue to work on your craft and push through you will always improve and grow”.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
“I love the idea that people can be helped in any way through art, it’s a great cause”
What is your creative process?
Kim: For me, I think ideas and inspiration for illustrations come from all over the place. It can be from something I saw in a dream, a movie I just watched, or a scene described in a book I just read. Once I’ve decided on what I’d like to draw, I think my process becomes very structured. I usually start by sketching out the idea, then I refine the sketch, put down base colors, go on to details and shading, and finally do some post-processing and experimenting with the color palette in photoshop. I usually work on a painting from start to finish before starting a new piece.
Which one of your works is your favorite?
Kim: I have a few that are a bit closer to my heart but I’d say one of them is “The Koi Pond”. It means a lot to me because I think it was around this time that I started to experiment more with using a flat-color art style, which I have come to love. It was also one of the first animations that I ever did which I was very happy with. It’s called “The Koi Pond” because in the animation (Check out the animated version here) you can see little koi fishes swimming through the illustration. It’s a bit funny cause I actually realized later that you can’t see them in the still version, which might confuse people a bit considering the title.
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
Kim: I have so many places I’d like to visit so it’s hard to choose one! I’d say New Zealand for now because the nature there looks absolutely beautiful.
What is your favorite piece of artwork that is not your own?
Kim: It’s too hard to choose one because there are so many artworks of other artists that I absolutely adore. But a lot of the artwork by the artist Heikala comes to mind, the atmosphere in her art is so beautiful and calming.
What do you listen to while you work?
Kim: Usually lo-fi chill music, I find it very relaxing.
Why did you decide to become an ATAS artist?
Kim: I love the idea that people can be helped in any way through art, it’s a great cause and I’m proud to be a part of this project together with lots of talented artists!