Aga shows us her sketchbooks, desk, and sharpie doodles ahead of new WWF clothing collection
Today we’re counting our lucky stars. Not only have we got to team-up with returning collaborator Aga Giecko for our new clothing collection with WWF, we also caught a sneak peek into the artist’s WIP wonderland. It was a creative show-and-tell we had to share.
If you’ve never seen Aga’s side-splitting work before, the South London-based illustrator turns mundane objects and creatures into wonky-lined, larger-than-life characters. Mostly using illustration and ceramics, Aga has given personalities to everything from veggies to sunflowers to mischievous doggies. Now, in the spirit of WWF, Aga has turned her attention to the coral reef - and all the funny characters that could lie in its waters.
Starfish, shrimp, and sea anemones are among Aga's picks for her WWF contribution, all adorned with wiggly smiles and electric patterns. To us, they look equal parts laid back and dazzling. The best part? These coral creatures were made to be worn. Aga's designs are now available as a range of jumpers and tees in soft, sustainable cotton, for those looking for some creature comforts (we're sorry, bad joke we know). The artist hopes her ocean designs will “inspire a sense of responsibility and care to the animals who call the reef home.”
To learn more about Aga's WWF designs, we chatted with the artist about her sketching process, David Attenborough, and how she's "always been a nature freak.” Scroll down to find out more and to see her final WWF garments!
Talk us through the idea behind your WWF clothing design
I wanted to add some character to the sea creatures and celebrate their beauty. It’s easy to look at the coral reef and admire it’s colours and patterns, but let's not forget they are animals who call it home. I created a little world, combining narratives and visuals, which hopefully will inspire a sense of responsibility and care. I hope it will also bring upon smiles.
What’s your favourite thing about making a design meant to be worn?
I always feel very grateful when anyone wants to wear a design of mine. Especially when there is a message behind the artwork. My favourite thing about creating a design meant to be worn is thinking about the potential ‘model’. Who would wear it? Would it help them express their personality, worldview or sense of style? Why would anyone choose to wear it? I start with a quick note and try to figure out the best way to create both visually appealing and useful designs.
When did your love for illustration first begin?
I was always the kid that was drawing or getting in trouble for drawing during classes. I treated every Birthday, Christmas, Mothers Day like an exhibition, creating decorative cards and even little comic books for my friends and relatives. I come from a very talented family, which helped me develop my love for art and I’m very grateful to be the first one who managed to make it a career so far.
What’s your favourite medium to work in?
Everything starts with a sharpie and a sketchbook. Doodling in my sketchbook is my favourite stage of creating an artwork full of loose and wonky lines, lots of different ideas and visual experimentation. Sometimes I scan it and digitally refine the lines a little bit, add some colour and details. My second favourite medium is paint. I absolutely love spending a day or two immersed in acrylic paint, shaking off some pastel dust from my tracksuit while looking at an emerging painting.
Who were you listening to whilst working on this project?
I was listening to a little playlist I created while working on this project called ‘Rock Lobsters’. It’s a bit of world music and some of my recent favourites from William Onyeabor to Quasimoto.
Talk us through your creative process for this project
I spent a lot of time doing research. I looked through various books, albums and documents. I read the WWF 2020 Living Planet Report and decided on a specific theme, ‘The Oceans’. The next stage was sketching and coming up with lots of different ideas, compositions and slogans. I tried to experiment with the colour palette, patterns and narratives, creating illustrations that would come together as a set.
Imagine: you’re scrolling through David Attenborough episodes: Deserts, Deep Seas, Barrier Reefs, Forests, Ice Caps, Grasslands. Which do you pick to watch?
It’s a tough one, but I have to say Deep seas. I’ve always been fascinated about how little we know about them and their mysterious inhabitants.
What about our natural world inspires you? Any natural elements you draw from in your work?
Everything. Literally everything. I love studying and drawing flowers, veggies, fruits, animals and everything that usually doesn’t have too much of a character. I love bringing them all to life and coming up with emotions and stories.
What’s your favourite way to get back to nature?
When I’m in London I usually take long walks or just relax in the nearby park. Sometimes I miss winter and spending time in the mountains, skiing and feeling the frost on the cheek. I also love swimming and I could live my whole life near the coast, with short, winter holiday breaks for skiing trips. What a dream.
What do you dream our planet will look like in 50 years?
I hope we can all learn how to do our bit to keep our planet safe. We’re responsible for it and we need to take action now if we want the future generations to be able to cherish it like we did. I hope that kids of today will be able to experience the beauty of earth and nature and not learn about it from books and old photos.
What drew you to this WWF project?
I was always an animal and nature freak. My favourite channels to watch when I was a kid were Animal Planet and National Geographic. I also started collecting nature related, illustrated albums when I was younger and now they’re an amazing research resource. WWF is an organisation I have always admired, a literal dream client. I also love David Attenborough, whose new film is the biggest inspiration behind my designs. It always feels great to get involved in an important cause and maybe even be a part of change.
Starfish Unisex T-shirt by Aga Giecko
Starfish & Coral Kids T-shirt by Aga Giecko
Starfish Sweatshirt Unisex by Aga Giecko
Aga's WWF garments are now available for purchase from Evermade here, with 10% of all sales passed onto WWF.
Follow Aga on Instagram for more comical creations.