Just one year before her extraordinary book was published, Woldańska-Płocińska graduated from the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the University of Arts in Poznań, where she now works as an assistant in the Packaging Design Studio. Her daily tasks alternate between commercial commissions (such as posters, press illustrations and logotypes) and original projects.
I know that in my books and non-commercial projects I can do as I please — I can let my imagination run wild and lose myself completely in a world of my own creation. With more serious projects — when I know the work demands that I adhere to specific rules and must meet the expectations of others — I try to act more sensibly, less emotionally, says Woldańska-Płocińska in an interview for web portal pinkthething.pl.
There is scant difference between the author’s commercial work (such as press illustrations and theatre posters) and the drawings in her own books, all of which are marked by a laconic, synthetic form, sometimes accompanied by captions reliant on puns and perverse connotations. Among her childhood influences, she mentions her father ('he was really rather good at drawing animals') and Bohdan Butenko, whose extraordinarily cheerful illustrations — consisting solely of plain black outlines — continue to enchant with a sense of humour that appeals to children and adults alike.
Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska has an impressive track record, providing illustrations for articles in Wysokie Obcasy (a Saturday supplement in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper), and for magazines such as Exklusiv, Gaga and Media&Marketing. While her illustrations for newspapers tend to touch on serious matters and problems, in her books Woldańska-Płocińska creates a far more cheerful world, where animals and vegetables have expressive faces and distinctive characters. Woldańska-Płocińska’s body of work includes illustrations for Zwyczajny Dzień /An Ordinary Day by Katarzyna Zimmerer (W.A.B. Publishing, 2012), Dwa albatrosy albo alfabet Noego /Two Albatrosses or Noah’s Alphabet by Marek Tuszewicki (Cwiszn, 2012), Śnieżek i Węgielek. Podróż do gwiazd / Snowy and Charcoal. A Journey to the Stars by Przemysław Wechterowicz (Alegoria, 2011) and Cyferki /Figures, a collection of poems by Jacek Cygan. The latter book was published by Czerwony Konik Press, which also published three books by Woldańska-Płocińska: Pierwsze urodziny prosiaczka / Piglet’s First Birthday (2010), the vegetable-themed Marchewka z groszkiem /Peas and Carrots (2011), and Drugie urodziny prosiaczka / Piglet’s Second Birthday (2013), in which the protagonist is a little pig on the verge of adulthood.
However, her book Co dwie brody, to nie jedna. Kompendium wiedzy o zaroście /Two Beards are Better than One. A Compendium of Facial Hair (Alegoria, 2011), was penned with the adult reader in mind.
My aim was to create a book for adults, in which the text and illustrations would play a joint role. The topic of facial hair had interested me for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I devoted my master’s thesis to the subject. The material I had gathered was enough to pique the interest of my publisher and that’s how the book came about, recalls Woldańska-Płocińska in an interview about her work.
The author believes that facial hair performs a substantial role in our culture, and that its status and significance go unnoticed. And that is why she created her book, not so much to present methods of grooming, but rather to show the changing styles of facial hair through the ages, the role of facial hair in different societies and cultures, and even so-called 'cult looks' such as the Charlie Chaplin moustache.
Woldańska-Płocińska’s recent project involved the creation of canvas bags, decorated with somewhat surrealistic illustrations, including 'Beetroot with a face' and a host of other cheerful greens.
„Ilustracja PL 2012: O-KUPOWAĆ”, Soho Factory, Warsaw
„Design Festival 2012”, Szczecin
„Ładne książki” – Poznan
“Ilustracje z życia wzięte”, Poznań
„Ilustracje z życia wzięte”, Kalisz
23rd Biennial of Illustration, Bratislava, Slovakia
„Overdesign?”, Łódź Design Festival
“Legendy wawelskie”, Cracow
24th Bienial of Graphic Design, Bern
„PL 2010”, Warsaw
„Przedmiot pożądania”, Warsaw
„Golden Bee 9”, International Biennial of Graphic Design, Moscow
„Krótkie Historie”, Cracow
9th International Poster Biennial, Toyama, Japan
Author: Anna Cymer, August 2013, transl. Garry Malloy, updated AM, May 2016.