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Q&A with Jakob Printzlau

Graphic designer and film maker from Copenhagen

My name is Jakob Printzlau. I'm a Graphic Designer, FIlm Maker, Father, Husband & Occional Punk Rock Singer. People know me from my work with PLASTIC KID - my one man company that i have been working with since about 2000.

How did you get started in graphic design? What is your background?

I grew up in a small town in Denmark. Very early on I got interested in skateboarding. I got very much attracted to the artwork of the skateboard scene in the late 90ies, and I remember obsessing about the work of Jim Phillips and other illustrators in the period. Skateboarding also introduced me to a lot of punk rock and heavy metal, which in turn led me to form my first band. Years later I was the singer of a successful band. We were touring worldwide and putting out records. Parallel to this I had been studying Graphic Design so it was natural that i started making record covers and videos for the band. And so I did. I was making a living as a musician, doing artwork and videos on the side. Other bands eventually started contacting me and wanted me to do work for them. So when i my band broke up I slipped right into doing artwork and videos full time...

Jakob Printzlau, graphic design maker

Let’s talk about the creative process and how you work. 

My creative proces varies depending on the projects. I do anything from really small graphic projects like t-shirt designs, to music video where i occupy a crew of 50 people.

What are you working on now?

Right now i have a bunch of record covers in the making as well as some fun projects for COPENHELL - Denmarks largest heavy metal festival.

What tools and software do you use for your work?

I use Adobe CC. Mostly Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and After Effects. When i was younger i thought it was exhausting learning new software. But these days interfaces are very intuitive and easy, so if i need a certain software i just jump straight into it now. Mostly everything starts with my sketchbook which is the most important tool when i generate new ideas...

What is your ideal work environment?

I work from my house. I have a beautiful studio with a view over the ocean. Very therapeutic. I dont wanna be bothered by others peoples phones and chit chat when i work. Ive tried various shared creative spaces and agencies, but nothing does it for me like the calm of my own studio. On the other hand i am a very social person, and i make sure i get out amongst other people to be inspired or just to stay sane. I also use music as a drive force. I listen to records for 7 hours a day while working and i can't imagine an office without records.

Where are your favorite places for art?

Obviously the internet has made it easier to trade stuff across boarders. I have bought quite a few screen prints from artists all over the world. I try to avoid looking too much at other peoples portfolios for inspiration. I much rather go for a walk, watch a movie, read a book, hang with inspiring people or something thats not art related.

Who are the designers, artists you admire most?

Obviously Jim Phillips who helped me get turned on to skateboarding. But also Derek Riggs who drew for Iron Maiden for over a decade. I got to work with him on a mascot for COPENHELL which was kind of surreal. But i also find someone like Arron James Drapling extremely inspiring. Maybe not so much for the work he does - which is also awesome. But his story has a lot of parallels to my own, and his talks always hit home with me.