One-on-one with Silvan Borer

Boneshaker Press is happy to give you some one-on-one time with Silvan Borer who is taking part in the third volume of Encounters with the Imaginary. Silvan lives in Zurich, Switzerland. Checkout his website for more wonders from this talented artist !

What’s your background?

Growing up in the countryside of Switzerland I loved to draw since I was a child, although, it was not a straight path I went through. Before I decided to move to Zurich, to study at the University of Arts and make a living as a full-time illustrator, I worked as landscape gardener.

What got you interested in the arts to begin with?

I grew up drawing dinosaurs and Mangas. I think this was a starting point of my artistic visions.

When did you decide to dedicate yourself to art?

Working as gardener didn’t fulfil me, I always craved for more. At some point I simply realized I had to do what I really love in order to be satisfied. So I decided to start my studies and dedicate myself to art.

Where shadows fall – editorial illustration

Do you remember the first piece of art you made that you were really proud of? The one that made you say “yes I am an artist!”

There wasn’t an particular piece of art. But my kindergarten tutors (and of course my mother) always praised my drawings – that was probably one of the most influential points that laid the foundation for everything that followed.

Do you collect anything?

I love books. Every time I travel I go to a local book store and pick an illustrated book. For me it’s the best souvenir that reminds me of my journeys.

What research do you do?

Nature is a big source of inspiration for me. Besides that, I find inspiration in going through my book collection or browsing the internet, seeking for new ideas.

Sparta – editorial illustration

Do you enjoy collaboration work? What qualities do you look for in collaborators?

To collaborate with interesting people or design agencies is something I do enjoy a lot. Working with other people forces me to rethink and continuously improve my own work. It’s not always that easy, but in the end it pays off.

What is your dream project? If there were no time/money restrictions what would you create?

I would love to write and illustrate my own book. And I would be very glad to have an opportunity to create illustrations for a classic literature book, to create something sustainable.

Coco & Frosh/ science et cité – children’s book

What advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?

Go for your dreams. It’s the only right way.

How has your practice changed over time?

Though I like traditional techniques I now work digitally or use mixed media much more often. New techniques and experimental ways of working allow me to expand my limits.

How do you keep your creative spark? What keeps you motivated?

When you can notice that your artistic level improves and gets more developed and matured.

What does visual storytelling mean to you?

To inspire people and broaden the limits of comprehension.

Red riding hood – editorial illustration

What’s your main challenge when beginning a new piece of art?

To turn my inspiration into a visual form which reflects my idea and also meets the expectations of a client/beholder. On top of that, having high expectations for myself, I want every new piece to be better than the previous one.

What are you working on right now? What are you currently obsessed with?

Besides my normal advertising and editorial work, I’m currently working on my next children’s book. It will be published early the next year. The book is written by a great author and I had the honor to contribute some illustrations. Since the project is not officially announced yet, I can’t share more at the present.

Would you eat the moon if it were made of spare ribs?

I think I would prefer to stay hungry rather than eating the moon and leave the world without its profound magic. What a loss this would be!

Moon – mixed medias


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