Candyfloss characters in comical GIFs with a feminist touch

Inspired by Instagram artists, Swedish art director Sofia Hydman creates GIFs depicting chubby, confident girls.
Sofie Hydman

Sofia Hydman is a Swedish art director who spends her spare time illustrating and making GIFs in her New York apartment. Her images come to life as plump pink characters box each other, recline on donuts and smoke cigarettes. Hydman has a BA in Visual Communication from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm and has studied two years of photography at Broby Grafiska College of Cross Media, and Illustration at Nyckelviksskolan, just outside of Stockholm.

We asked her a few questions to find out what makes her tick.

Sofia Hydman

Describe your workspace…

I work with my illustrated GIFs at home, late nights after work or during the weekends. I sit on my bed, crooked like a cheese doodle, with my Wacom and Mac. Beside me sits my better half, also doodling, while we're listening to Swedish podcasts about sports.

Sofia Hydman 1

How would you describe the style of your illustrations?

I would describe my GIFs as whimsical and fun with a feminist touch.

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Who or what has had the greatest influence over your illustration work?

Instagram, I follow a bunch of super talented people and my biggest drive is jealousy.

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What’s the greatest satisfaction you get from illustrating?

While I’m working on an illustration I feel calm and concentrated at the same time, it’s a state of mind I’m longing for when I’m stressed out about something. It’s the moment when I’m in control and it feels like I've accomplished something even if it’s just a silly little GIF.

How important is it for you to work on personal projects?

Very important. I’m so grateful that I have an everyday job where I get to be creative together with a bunch of other people, but sometimes it’s frustrating to share the creative process. I came to realise that I needed a project where I could call all the shots.

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All your GIF characters have balloon-like forms – is there anything behind this?

Nothing more than the fact that chubby, confident girls are my favourite thing to draw. There are too many skinny bitches out there already.

Do you create your GIFs with a social media audience in mind?

I guess I do. Or at least, I spend time thinking about what will gain most likes. I haven’t cracked the code yet so until I do I will continue to draw whatever I feel like in the moment of inspiration. I try to stay away from using too much black, though, in my case, it gains fewer likes. 

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Find Hydman's GIFs on Instagram and Tumblr