U.S. illustrator, painter and surface designer, Kim Sielbeck, was heavily influenced by her years living in Hawaii as a child. Taking inspiration from her surroundings, Kim’s vibrant design includes a vanilla pod canoe, colourful foliage and coconuts, bringing to life PROPERCORN’s tropical flavour profile.

Q: What’s your background? How and when did you decide to become an illustrator?

I grew up in a military family that moved every few years so I was always in new schools and making new friends, but could always rely on art to anchor me. I didn’t want to be an illustrator until my first year of college- I loved graphic design, but also painting and drawing. Illustration is the perfect combination!

Q: How did you develop your style?

I’ve always loved bright, bold, flat color. In college, I fell in love with silkscreen. After college, I had a job in a textile design studio. Focusing on color, trend, and technique, this fast-paced job taught me so much about being a commercial artist. From this experience, I found a way of working that felt the most “me” but it really was several years in the making. It will probably evolve over time too. I don’t think style is a static thing.

Q: Who are your artistic influences?

What have you read or seen that has most influenced your work? Henri Rousseau is one of my favorite painters, and so is Matisse. They both have a playful sense to their work that is so appealing. I’m also always on Instagram and Pinterest looking for new things, whether that’s color combinations, techniques or paintings. There’s so much art at our fingertips.

Q: Where do you get your motivation and ideas from?

Living in Hawaii, inspiration is everywhere. Walking down the street on my way to grab a coffee, I’m surrounded by birds of paradise, palm trees, ginger plants, banana leaves – it would be hard not to be inspired and motivated by this beautiful place!

Q: What’s the inspiration behind your Sweet Coconut & Vanilla illustration?

I loved the idea of a vanilla-pod canoe and based it off traditional canoes from Madagascar. As far as the foliage and coconuts, that came from living in Hawaii and trying to avoid being hit by falling coconuts on a daily basis!
Q: What’s your favourite part of your Sweet Coconut & Vanilla illustration?

Everything on the pack works really well together – it was fun to create a flavour world that the popcorn would live in. Being able to play with color and make everything pop was very fun!

Q: Tell us an interesting fact about your Sweet Coconut & Vanilla design

The canoes are based on outrigger canoes from Madagascar, but using vanilla pods!

Q: Sum up your Sweet Coconut & Vanilla illustration in 3 words

Tropical, vibrant, fun.
Q: What do you love most about PROPERCORN and your chosen flavour?

Sweet Coconut & Vanilla is the perfect balance of flavor. I was surprised by how well coconut and vanilla works with popcorn- it’s not too sweet, but a very light and refreshing snack. My new favourite studio snack!

Q: How many iterations did it take before you came up with your final design?

I had a rough idea of how I wanted the bag to look at the beginning, but nailing the composition and color took a few iterations. I think I struck a good balance in the end though. It pops, has depth and captures the flavour well.

Q: What do you do to overcome creative blocks?

For me, learning a new medium or process is the best way to overcome a block. I’ve recently started ceramics, which is challenging, messy, and three-dimensional. By always learning new things, I find I can figure out different ways to improve and new directions to take.

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve got a painting show coming up next year and a festival in Japan as well. I’ve also got several illustration projects and collaborations, and I just wrapped up my first 50- spread illustrated book!

Follow @kimsielbeck to see more from Kim.
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