“I became interested in drawing fashion items when I finally realized that I’d be much happier drawing the things that made me happy rather than trying to create art masterpieces. Fashion and beauty really make me smile.”

 Kristina Emma Hultkrantz of emmakisstina illustration
Kristina Emma Hultkrantz of EmmaKisstina illustration

You may not be familiar with Kristina Emma Hultkrantz’ name or her brand “EmmaKisstina” (yet) but if you’re a person who has a Tumblr or Pinterest account and loves fashion, then I assure you, you’re very familiar with her work especially with her “What’s In My Bag” series. That is why I reached out to her. It’s time fashion lovers around Asia and Oceania regions should get to know this girly girl behind those uber cute fashion illustrations that often floods our Tumblr and Pinterest feeds. [Note: The transcription below has been edited and condensed.]

Here Story

“I’m Kristina, the girly behind EmmaKisstina Illustration, a fashion forward brand which I create illustrations and products for from my home studio in Stockholm, Sweden. I’m such a girly girl, I adore wearing dresses, the color pink, and playing around in the kitchen.

Stockholm is an amazing and very inspiring city to live in. Both fashion and art are very important here. People really care about how they are dressed and love to fill their homes with nicely designed home wares and art, of course. There are also so many talented designers and artists who live here, so I feel constantly inspired and motivated to create new work.

I really adore drawing, and always have. I took drawing lessons from a very young age and continued to study art through my college years. I even graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I made the switch to illustration though after my studies to find more commercial work and I also found that digital illustration suited me much more. (I didn’t really like the mess of painting.) I became interested in drawing fashion items when I finally realized that I’d be much happier drawing the things that made me happy rather than trying to create art masterpieces. Fashion and beauty really make me smile.”

Favorite Artists

“Two of my favorites are KrisAtomic and Blair Breitenstein

Her Work

emmakisstina illustrations

“Simple, fun, pretty, happy, and girly. I’m inspired by other girls/women and what makes them happy.

My illustrations have quite a soft side as I primarily use pastel colors and very simple compositions. Many other fashion illustrations are very harsh, overly sexy and expressionistic. My illustrations are very easy to like I think and appeal to many different ages.

I am inspired by everyday life and simple everyday items, anything from a flower arrangement to a diamond ring.

All of my illustrations and designs start with hand drawings and end with digital coloring. I love the mix of traditional and digital techniques, this gives my illustrations a hand drawn quality but the colors are perfect and easy to change. I also don’t have to worry about making mistakes because they can easily be changed once scanned into the computer. I am inspired by everyday life and simple everyday items, anything from a flower arrangement to a diamond ring. I read countless blogs and visit Pinterest daily for tons of inspiration.

emmakisstina art prints
EmmaKisstina Art Prints available on her Etsy Shop

I started a monthly collaboration with the magazine to create “What’s in my Bag” illustrations of famous old Hollywood movie stars, fashion icons, and book characters. (These you can all still find in my Etsy shop.) It was actually Katie Armour of Matchbook Magazine that pitched the idea to me. I worked with them for 2 years and afterward went off on my own. I decided to branch out to bloggers instead as I find real girls and real style really inspiring. It’s also fun getting a peek into our favorite blogger’s purses and favorite everyday items. I think it’s a great and creative way to learn more about them and also a fun way to spread the word about my work.

I also adore creating custom “What’s in my Bag” illustrations for clients. They are always my favorite projects to work on.”

Illustration Process

“To start off my drawings I sketch them with pencil on simple white drawing paper. When I’m pleased with the design I’ll outline them with ink. I then transfer the outlined drawing to the computer using my A3 scanner. To finish the illustration I’ll make any changes to the line work that need to be done and then digitally color. I also use Illustrator for some projects such as my fabric designs so they can easily be changed into different color schemes and can be blown up to any size without worrying about reduced quality.”

Favorite Work

emmakisstina silk scarves
EmmaKisstina Silk Scarves

“I adored working on my silk scarf designs. I put so much planning and hard work into their creation and so much love too. Each design took many many hours to draw, then even more time to digitize and color. When I saw the final result printed on gorgeously vibrant silk I knew that all my hard work had paid off, they were truly perfect.”

New Projects

“I’m always planning and working on new projects. Since coming out with my silk scarves and now makeup bags I’ve been itching to come out with even more products. So I’m in the designing and planning stage of creating fabrics for pillows and other bags, as well as trays, and phone cases. Maybe more things. Stay tuned!”

emmakisstina makeup bags
EmmaKisstina Makeup Bags

Overcoming a Creative Block

“I don’t have many creative blocks thankfully but some days I don’t feel as motivated as others. It usually helps to step away from a blank piece of paper or my computer for a while to do something else, such as go outside or cook a meal. This feeling usually doesn’t last too long so the next day I’ll be pretty excited to get to work again and will be full of new ideas. Vacation and travel really helps as well. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming having to come up with new ideas and constantly be on social media 24/7. I really have to take breaks quite often therefore I try not to work too much on the weekends.”

Her Shop

“I adore having an Etsy shop! Etsy is so easy to use and I’ve had a lot of success selling on Etsy. When I set up shop in 2007 there weren’t very many girls doing fashion illustrations. Since then the category has certainly grown, but I still think that my illustrations stand out from the crowd since I’ve stuck to my style and what I like to create.

You can also find my illustrations on Swedish site Nordic Design Collective and American site Great.ly. At the moment I don’t have any of my products in physical stores, but I’m looking!”

Advice to Aspiring Fashion Illustrators

“Try out tons of different drawing and painting techniques until you find the one that syncs with you the most and then just create like crazy. If you’re completely in love with your work, others will too!”

-As told to Alyssa Martinez via email on 9th of September 2014. Photos from Kristina Emma Hultkrantz blog and Esty shop.