When we first took a look at Thoka Maer’s work in 2012, she was studying at The University of the Arts Berlin, but had already begun to create a distinct style with her pencil GIFs.
Catching up with her now, we take a look at how she has developed them into sought-after editorial animations as she tells us about what she’s been up to.
Thoka’s early GIFs were witty yet relatively simple, self-contained snippets. Each had its own one-liner, looping the visual humour in a satisfying little snapshot.
While Thoka’s thoughtful storytelling obviously remains, its nice to see how they’ve evolved into these fully formed animations.
With her now having worked on projects for film and international publishing houses, we were interested in finding out where her work has taken her since we last spoke, which she talks about below.
In 2014, I graduated from the University of the Arts in Berlin with an illustrated book called ‘Almost Exactly—A Paradox Compendium’.
Right after that, I pulled up stakes in Berlin entirely, took my suitcase and moved to NY. Now I’d say that I had only very little sense of what I was getting myself into, but I feel really lucky that everything worked out so well.
Starting off as a freelance illustrator and GIF artist, I’ve worked on so many great projects since that I don’t even know where to start!
I worked on a bunch of really amazing projects for example with Tumblr and Medium. I’ve been commissioned for editorials for The New York Times, Lucky Peach and Vogue.
I created promotional GIFs for two Hollywood movies, illustrated and animated a keynote for fabulous Pop Up Magazine which was also a part of the annual TED conference in Vancouver in 2015. And much more.
As for personal projects, I have an infinite list of ideas and potential projects to be brought to life. So far, I managed starting a new GIF blog called Showering Squid and also got into patterns that I currently sell via Society6.
Still penciling everything! Just as I did back when you featured my work for the first time. It all gets digitally edited and retouched and put together in Photoshop and After Effects.
The actual, physical drawing is a very meditative process for me that I don’t want to miss.
I’m more of a note taker than a sketcher but as a new years resolution I started something like a drawn diary.
One square panel to capture the day. I’m now only 1.5 months in, but I think it’s going ok so far. I hope to keep it up for a while.
From 2012 to 2013, I spent a few month in Hong Kong. An intense but beautiful place where I still have very good friends that I miss immensely.
I recently did a very nice collaboration with professional braider and hairstylist Rubi Jones.
She turned my hair into a beautifully braided crown and I made a GIF with the pictures we took.
© Thoka Maer, 2016