Sonja Stangl's illustrations explore what intimate human emotion looks like

Sonja Stangl's latest illustration series explores hidden stories within people, inner landscapes and what a feeling might look like if laid bare.


Sonja is the creative mind behind inky.land – a studio based in Vienna.. She was shortlisted for this year’s World Illustration Awards for her Kiss-Me-Bottle design, inspired by a birthday of a close friend.

Sonja also creates character designs, comic strips, GIFs and interior and mural art.

In her Full Of series, intimate moments of human emotion are symbolised through beautiful yet simplistic landscapes of ocean, mountains and the desert, as well as simple objects such as balloons, birdcages and indeed, a cat.

"I love to talk about my emotions in a very picturesque language, finding metaphors and comparisons to nature and every-day objects," says Sonja. 

"That's why it seemed natural to express them through illustrations, and make them visible for others as well." 

Image: Sonja Stangl

She says she "got the urge" to find out what stories are hidden inside people and what inner landscapes they're wandering through.

"Full Of is a collection of these moments and explorations. It portraits human emotions in a curious way and tries to answer questions like: 

"Where do people escape to while they take a ride in a crowded subway and what could that place look like? A wide desert? A forest? A 16th century castle?  

"What does it mean when something "lifts me up" or "pulls me down"? Why is it called "the human nature" and what would nature look like when wallowing in memory or intensely longing?"

Image: Sonja Stangl


Sonja works with a combination of traditional ink and pencil drawings, digital illustration and some texture photography.

For this series, she worked with colour pencils on paper, incorporating the surface of the paper in the colouring. The texture mostly comes from the paper itself, but also a bit of frottage.

After each illustration was designed and drawn on paper, she scanned them onto the computer to add small details, such as the clouds and extra paper.

Check out Sonja’s beautifully unique combinations of humanity and nature.

Image: Sonja Stangl

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Image: Sonja Stangl


Image: Sonja Stangl


Image: Sonja Stangl

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Image: Sonja Stangl