Illustrator & Art Director at Blinkist, and freelance


SheydaSabetian (Illustrator & Art Director  at Blinkist, and freelance)

Art director by day, freelance illustrator by night. Born in Guatemala, based in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany • January 27, 2023

What led you into design?

I've been passionate about drawing, art, and animation ever since I was a child. I loved watching animated series, and I would print stills and trace over them. When I started High School I realised that the only class I truly enjoyed was Art class. I was lucky enough to attend a school that actually paid attention to art, so we had really good teachers and materials and I learned a lot of different painting techniques, and also theory in Art History that gave me a head start once I started Uni.

I initially wanted to study animation, but since there weren't any animation careers in universities back then in Guatemala, my mom suggested that I study Graphic Design. I don't regret it, I really fell in love with design and I think it gives people enough space to explore all the different areas that design has to offer and find the ones you identify with the most to specialise in those areas. For me, it was illustration, but also editorial design and branding.

What does a typical day look like?

I work remotely, so I start work at 9am from my home desk. At around noon in the springtime or summer, I work outside in the balcony when the sun is starting to shine there. Kimchi, my cat, loves that time of the day when we go outside. She spends hours watching birds and people pass by downstairs. I have lots of meetings during the day, so if it gets too loud outside, I will move back inside and work either at my desk or kitchen. I also like to take walks when I have a free space in my calendar, or at lunch time. Some times at night you'll find me drawing either for myself, or for clients.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I buy a lot of books (as you can see in the picture above). I think the feeling of having a physical book and going through the pages is a different way of getting inspired and I value that more than looking at things online. The same thing happens when I go to art exhibits and museums. I think the reason is because I work in front a screen basically the entire day, so getting off the screen and looking at things irl offer a different kind of value for me. I get inspired by the simple things as well: things from my every day life, and my cat, Kimchi.

I also try to do some things manually when I can. For example, paint with real paint instead of using Procreate, lino cut, start a ceramics class, do jewelry with polymer clay, knit with a punch needle, do different objects made out of cement with terrazzo patterns like lamp shades, candle holders, etc. Doing creative things with my hands also help me stay inspired...and it's a really nice feeling to hold physically in your hands an object that you made.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I love everything that WeTransfer makes. Recently I subscribed to the WePresent newsletters, and I also follow them on Instagram. Every time I receive an email or see something they post, I know immediately it's gonna be something beautiful and inspiring.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I'm really proud of these illustrations I made for a mini book about divination. I definitely would love to do more editorial illustrations for books.

Written by Ivy O'Neil, editorial design by Celeste Joyce, and editorial house is Hachette US.

I'm also really proud of these frame by frame animations because they require an enormous amount of patience, but I love the end result. Here are a few examples: example 1, example 2 & example 3.

Finally, I'm also really proud of the way my personal illustrations have evolved through time, but I also want to keep learning and getting better at it.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Keeping up to date with design trends, while achieving a functional and easy-to-use app. Maintaining brand consistency in performance marketing assets is also a design challenge we're currently facing. 

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Always keep learning! Even after so many years as a designer, there's so much to learn! There are so many areas of design to explore and find the ones that are a true passion for you. You can always find a new passion in design, even after many years of being focused on only one. For example, my main passion is illustration and brand design, but recently I started a course in product design and I find it truly fascinating. 

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Here's a few links I'd like to promote:

And my Instagram handle