Millie Marotta

Tea towel print for Living Union

What was your key motivation in becoming an Illustrator? 

Simply being able to earn a living doing something I love and which allows me to be creative everyday. It’s a wonderful position to be in when work doesn’t really feel like work at all.

You recently released ‘Animal Kingdom’, a colouring and doodle book for grown-ups and children, published by Batsford. What advice would you give to Illustrators looking to get their work published? 

I was lucky with ‘Animal Kingdom’ in the sense that Batsford actually approached me rather than the other way around, so I didn’t have to go through the daunting process of actually pitching the idea to different publishers. I would say the biggest piece of advice I can offer from my experience is to be prepared to work very hard and put the hours in, working on other commissions alongside putting the book together was quite demanding, both mentally and physically, but certainly well worth it in the end.

Cover illustration for The Folio Society diary 2015

What importance do you put on your own personal body of work and how does this influence your commissioned work?

Quite a few commissions have actually come my way as a result of clients seeing personal projects and so I would place a lot of importance on keeping a body of personal work on the go, I think it’s a natural process that one feeds the other. 

When a company for a commission approaches you, what are the first three steps you take?

1. First of all I will get as much information as I can about the brief, it’s important to understand exactly what the client is looking for and expecting from me before I can decide whether the project is for me or not. I will also gather other details such as the deadline, budget etc.
2. My second step will often be to contact the AOI for fee/contract advice if I am feeling unsure of anything.
3. The third step will be to negotiate with the client and agree to terms we are both happy with before making a start with research and roughs.

Packaging design for Marks and Spencer luxury fudges.
Your portfolio features both hand drawn linear and vector based Illustrations, how important do you think it is to explore a range of mediums?

I think it’s really important to experiment and sometimes this means stepping out of your comfort zone, which can be daunting but often quite refreshing. Showing variety in your work will bring a variety of clients and commissions your way and for me this has certainly been the case. That said, I do think it’s important not to swing wildly from one style of work to something completely different, it’s important that clients feel secure in knowing your work and have a clear understanding of what to expect from you when they commission you.

Cover for Animal Kingdom
Who and what keeps you inspired?

That’s a hard one to answer as I think you can find inspiration almost anywhere and often very unexpectedly, but if I had to write a list then nature would definitely be number 1.

17th October 2014

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