Instagrammer of the Week: Mélanie Johnsson

Shining bright in the spotlight today is French graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson, a wander-luster and vivacious creator of bold, visual treats whose colourful work cannot fail to add an extra little joie de vivre to your day. Follow Mélanie and her latest adventures over at @melanie.johnsson

Tell us about yourself, Mélanie

I’m Mélanie Johnsson, a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, from France, now living in London. Apart from designing across different fields, you will always find me making things, as long as they are bold, colourful and striking! What else? Well… I like cheese (a lot), beautiful magazines, weird looking plants, exotic animals, jumping off aeroplanes (with a parachute), walking around lost islands and waking up early to catch a sunrise.

London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Mélanie at work in her London studio

How did you get into graphic design and illustration?

I am very lucky to come from a family of super creative people: photographers, designers, engineers. As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved drawing and making things, so I knew from an early age that graphic design was the way to go! I developed my illustration and lettering skills after I graduated when I found myself drawing all the time while travelling across South America. That’s how I discovered and refined my personal style.

Bold graphic prints and cards by London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Bold and beautiful greetings cards

We absolutely love your bold, colourful style. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

It’s tricky to pin down just one source of inspiration as I get inspired by so many random things. Could be a book I loved, a fashion editorial that I saw online, people I met, places I visited and that stuck with me. I get really inspired when I travel; I love immersing myself in a new culture and seeing things differently. I am obsessed with colours, patterns, and people. I’m travelling to India in October, for a whole month, and I think it’s going to be the most inspiring journey for me!

A bold, tropical print by freelance graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Feeling tropical

Tell us about your experience with Instagram…

I’ve had my Instagram account for a long time, but only really started loving it when I went freelance a couple of years ago. It is such a wonderful tool to get your work out there and get like-minded people to notice it. I now have got a lot of work coming through Instagram, it’s incredible! But the best bit is the amazing creative community it connects you to (and the real life creative friends you make because of it!). I really love it.

A bold, tropical print by freelance graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Fabulous foliages by Mélanie

What is your approach to posting images?

I like my account to have a lovely rhythm. For me, it’s all about alternating photographs of my work, behind the scenes pictures, textures, patterns or illustrations I made, inspiring landscapes…I like playing with bold colours and give everything a bit of space to breathe. I don’t write much, I prefer to let the image speaks for itself. Everything I post I made or photographed. I try not to prepare too many posts in advance, it’s so nice to be spontaneous if I see something I love or if I’m drawing, I’ll always post a little ‘behind-the-scenes’ picture. You want to surprise people and inspire them!

A behind the scenes picture showing how French graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson, turned a pair of white Dr Martens shoes pastel pink
Behind the scenes with Dr Martens – and Mélanie

Who do you most admire?

When it comes to photography and inspiration for my drawings I love @andyparkinsonphoto and also @agnesvita, her account is just beautiful. The balance, the details, the colour palette. She’s nailing everything.

On another note, I am in awe of everything that relates to our oceans, so I love the accounts of these two very inspiring free divers @theunderwaterhunter and @adamfreediver.

And sometimes, when London gets too dull and grey, I obsess over @thejoshuatreehouse account and dream of deserted landscapes, purple moons and spiky cacti.

Bold lines by London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Ink on paper, a snapshot of a work in progress

Last but not least, tell us about your relationship with flowers, foliage and plants…

I’ve always loved flowers and plants, who doesn’t? They’re lovely, they smell good and they’re colourful. I remember being obsessed with cacti when I was really young, probably because I could keep them alive without having to do much. Now I love flowers but I think I prefer plants, because they live and evolve with you, and they almost last forever (if you take care of them well enough). But if I had to choose a favourite flower, it would definitely be a sunny and unpretentious daffodil. It might have to do with a scene from Big Fish, where the main character played by Ewan McGregor declares his love surrounded by millions of them! Pretty dreamy.

Bold lines by London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Mélanie Johnsson
Monstera, the perfect accompaniment to Mélanie’s graphic prints