Meet Helen Bucher: A Freelance Illustrator and Designer

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 16, 2021 •  Interviews

Helen Bucher is a freelance Illustrator and Designer who grew up and lives in Switzerland. She creates different projects for clients and runs her own little business, selling accessories and paper goods designed by her.

Growing up, it was always seen as uncommon to be left-handed, so I’d say that’s one random fact about me that I like. It was also a mouth-opener for people to find out that I have five siblings, a big family here! :)”

© Helen Bucher
Artwork by Helen Bucher

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What inspired you to make art?

I think like many other artists around my age, I was hugely inspired by Disney and lots of Anime shows like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Ranma 1/2, and many more, which led me to get interested in and get inspired by Japan.

I’m a very visual person, so traveling to Japan was the next level for my eyes.

I love all the visuals there are, be it in either super adorable or minimal packaging designs or all those cute characters they’ve created for almost everything – even in construction! Japan has the cutest construction signs you’ll ever see!

Everything is very colorful, well structured, and designed mindfully.

Artwork by Helen Bucher

Did you study at art school(s) or are you self-taught?

I completed a one-year preliminary course at art school where you discover different kinds of art forms to lead you in the direction you’d like to go.

After that year I started to study Graphic Design at the same school for three years and after my graduation, I worked as a Graphic Designer for six years straight.

My illustration skills I basically taught myself. Nowadays you can find lots of helpful tools on the world wide web, and of course practice, practice, practice!

How did you develop your own art style?

© Helen Bucher
Artwork by Helen Bucher

Your own style develops itself within your own kinds of interest and aesthetics.

I’m always drawn to everything cute, so I want my work to also have some kind of a cuteness factor, I love pastel colors, so I work with them, and so on! 🙂

I’m inspired by Japan (as already said), everyday life, animation, fashion, and also by all the artists I follow on Instagram. It is very interesting to see how like-minded people develop their visual language.

How did you start making a living as an artist? What was your first paid art job?

I worked for a very long time as a full-time Graphic Designer, so that was my main income for many years.

After building up a little of a following on Instagram with my illustration work during that time, I started to get requests for doing personal portraits. So I’d say those portrait commissions were my first taste of freelance work.

What do you live from as an artist now? What are your main income streams?

At the moment I have three income streams, being my client work, my online shop, and my Patreon community.

As a freelancer, it’s very helpful to have more than one income stream, so have as many as you can juggle!

What are you currently working on?

Artwork by Helen Bucher

Currently, I’m working on new products for my shop, in preparation for Christmas!

I also just finished another Sticker Book for a client which is currently in production, and we’re working already on a new one.

Plus there’s also a children’s book and food packaging in the works, it’s very exciting. 🙂

What are the art tools and other products and services you can’t live without?

I can’t live without my iPad and the amazing Procreate App. It’s what I’m using every day for my work.

What are your favorite art and other books (fiction, non-fiction)?

The book which helped me a lot starting my freelance career was “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook – Pricing & Ethical Guidelines“. It helps a lot to understand the value of your work and how you can build your rates.

Other than that, I like to collect “Art of…” Books and also get me some cute children’s books from time to time.

I also have a huge Manga collection from when I was younger, which I will treasure forever.

What is your favorite quote?

I always liked the quote “Earth without art is just eh.” Because that’s just the way it is. 😀

Get in touch with Helen

Thank you, Helen, for joining us today!

All artworks by Helen Bucher, used with permission

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Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.