From Business Reports to Mind-blowing Illustrations

Bartosz Sokolow - Illustrator for Snowball Digital

I started drawing when I was 10 years old. I would spend hours and hours just drawing. At first, I would copy illustrations and cartoons that I saw. Typically from the Japanese manga Dragon Ball, or Cartoon Network series like Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack. After a while, I started to create my own style. I found that drawing and creating cartoons were the best way to truly express myself. Drawing became a natural reaction to boredom or stress, and a getaway to create new stories.

From Numbers to Cartoons

When choosing a career path, it felt important to get a ‘proper job’. Drawing wasn’t necessarily considered one of these, so I got my Bachelor’s in international business and Master’s in economics. However, circumstances seem to have wanted a different life for me. During my studies, I was given opportunities to go on exchange programs and international internships. I was always very interested in experiencing new cultures, and I always wanted to live in a different country, so I grabbed at this chance with both hands.

I wanted to experience as much of each country as I possibly could. So, I travelled and fell in love with hitchhiking. More precisely, I got addicted to it.

First, it led me from Poland to Turkey. Then to Tunisia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and finally to Norway. During these years, I gradually developed my digital illustration skills and stepped up my game as an illustrator. It turned out that I didn’t have to stick to economics-related jobs!

The real breakthrough occurred while living and working in Osaka, Japan. I got hired as an illustrator intern in a design and product company. This was one of the first professional experiences in this field I had. Ironically, I found myself in the same country that my initial inspiration for drawing came from. People would tell me how they appreciated my illustrations. From that point, I started thinking that I could actually make a living out of this, as people found value in it and it was such a big part of my life.

When Passions Come Together

One of the things I love about hitchhiking is that you can meet different people you would normally never meet. Local people that can teach you about their culture and history and share their story. It’s an opportunity to experience something very different.

I once met a guy who clears mines to create a safe community for others. I also met a group of people who could not speak English or even read. We were hardly able to communicate. Still, they welcomed us to their home and cooked for us. I have many stories like that - unique stories that still inspire me and prove how good people are all over the world.

If you believe in the good in people, you open yourself up to create great memories.

Travelling is my way to tell new stories, and it is what took me to Norway and to Snowball Digital. My role here is to create illustrations for our products and services, and for our customers. I love how varied my tasks are, and that my illustrations can depict so many different stories, moods and meanings. I am continuously surprised and humbled by all the areas where people find a use for my illustrations.