Can you talk about your interest in figures?
Well, as most of my illustrations are about an experience I have had, I usually draw human forms to visualize an protagonist of the story I am trying to tell. My inspirations are sometimes friends, strangers or even figures from movies. I think in middle eastern countries women are not treated the right way and I guess it really bothers me that they are not seen as human beings but as objects. I would love to empower women and [illustrate] them as strong individuals.
What is your background? Where are you from?
My background is Persian, but I grew up in Nürnberg (Bavaria).
What inspires you to create?
I really love art and get inspired by so many things that it’s impossible for me not to sketch or draw. I basically can visualize my feelings and opinions.
Who are your creative influences?
I admire Charles Dana Gibsons illustrations, they’re simple but beautiful. He also used ink and women played a leading role in his drawings.
How do you create your work? Do you work in a studio? How often are you illustrating?
If an idea pops up in my head, I try to do some small sketches first, once I’m happy with it, I start with the actual drawing. I work at home. A studio is not really necessary, as I don’t need much space. I try to finish an illustration every week, but sometimes I’m working on commissions and therefore I can’t work on my own drawings.
Did you study art? How did you find your own personal style?
Yes, I studied art. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Design/ Illustration in 2016. I liked working with ink before I even started studying art, I guess I just feel very comfortable with the medium.
Your work is black and white. Can you discuss this stylistic choice of negative and positive space and how it works within your vision?
Black and white illustrations have a simple but yet a strong visual effect. Even though I use only black and white and basically draw simple lines, people still understand the story behind them.
What is some advice that you have for emerging illustrators?
Know the value of your own art. If you don’t stand behind your art, no one else will!
What do you hope for in the future in regards to your practice?
I hope to work with more brands and create great campaigns.
Sivan Karim is a Berlin-based illustrator who is iconic for his black and white drawings. In his work, sensuality and surrealism come together. Women play a leading role in Karim’s drawings, he creatively plays with their hair and turns them into different elements, a river, a sea or the cosmos itself.