Maja Säfström’s Illustrations Say It Like It Is

Swedish illustrator Maja Säfström is recognized for her simple, but approachable style of illustration, featuring clever punch lines delivered by relatable characters. Situated at a crossroads between illustration and comics, her work often features speech bubbles.

“I think the speech bubbles are a very important part of my work,” Säfström remarked once in an interview with Lake. “I love combining text with drawings. I often experience something in life and make a drawing of that.”

Much like her finished product, her creative process is relatively simple with each piece made by first drawing a thin outline with a pencil, after which the final drawing is made with a fineliner. But though simple, there’s a certain level of meticulousness about her illustrations.

This particular feature might be tied with Säfström’s background in architecture. “I drew a lot when I was a kid,” she recalled. “I had a few years in high school where I thought I was really bad. Then I started studying architecture at university and found myself drawing the scenes around the buildings with MUCH more enthusiasm than the actual houses. Well, one thing led to another!”

After working some time as an architect, she realized her passion lied elsewhere. Now working full time as an illustrator, Säfström also runs her own shop in central Stockholm. And having amassed well over 160k fans on Instagram, as well as widespread critical acclaim, and multiple awards, her intuition seemed to have been correct.