Personal Work – Cat And Dog Prints
When did you realise you wanted to make drawing your career?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing pictures more than anything else, I remember making hairy animal pictures with the remnants of my first haircut. I think this is probably the case for most children, but I was just too stubborn to give drawing up!
But I didn’t really have any idea that sticking my own hair to a piece of paper could (theoretically) become a career until I had started my art foundation at Chelsea. This nearly didn’t happen, after school I was torn between maths and art. When I made the decision to go with art, I definitely felt that I’d chosen the route of self-indulgence over a healthy future salary. I didn’t realise drawing could also be a job; I thought jobs meant offices and grey suits!
At Chelsea I saw a really inspirational talk by Damien Gascoigne who, at the time, was an animation tutor at Kingston University. Damien made me realise that Kingston was the place I had to be. It was only on my illustration degree that I started to see how people had managed to build a career out of drawing and that was incredibly exciting.
You use bright colours within you work, how do think about the palette you choose, how do you feel this affects your final outcome?
I began to explore using mono print techniques which led to a colour explosion in my work – I saw all the coloured inks lined up on the shelf and couldn’t resist using them all.
So now I am colour mad! I’m not scared of using lots at once, and unless it’s been detailed in the brief I don’t deliberately choose a palette before I start. I’ve learnt that as long as I keep my tones clean and bright, I can usually get away with using a tonne of different colours. I really enjoy keeping my work bright, and hopefully people find it fun to look at as well!
Printmaking is something you explore in your practice, what appeals to you about the handmade?
I find that printmaking is the perfect solution to prevent me from overthinking and my work from getting too tight. Overthinking is my nemesis! Using unpredictable processes such as mono print leads to really interesting mistakes, and I try to keep my work as spontaneous as possible by limiting the amount of redrawing I do. When I use screen print I work directly onto sheets of plastic before exposing them, staying well away from a computer! I try to stay away from digital as much as possible as I find it too predictable, too easy to control.
When I have a really tight brief it’s a challenge to keep my work looking fresh so I tend to work very small, and often use my initial sketches rather than redrawing them for the final piece.
Snake (‘The Art Of Ping Pong’)
Where do you create your work, what do you have surrounding you as you work?
I have a studio space at home which suits me really well as during the day I work as a designer at a publishers. I like working from home as I have access to all my books and materials and can work in my pj’s if need be. My desk is a bit of a jungle! I’m surrounded by succulents, cacti and lots of model animals. I collect animals (unfortunately not real ones) from around the world, as I love the stories of where they came from and how they were made.
Before I start working I get out all my materials so I can see all the colours, and I like to mix materials, so I get out paints, pencils and pastels.
Lorna Scobie – ‘Work In Progress’
Animals have become a noticeable part of your personal work, how important is creating your own work within your professional practice?
For me it’s essential. It’s through my personal projects that I develop new ideas, characters and also find new ways to work. Example? At the moment I’ve been working on a series of little people pictures which has not only been really fun, but has led to further ideas and also commissions. I use my personal projects to create the work I’d like to be doing, and so this leads to commissions, which I really enjoy.
Even when I’m really busy I make sure I’ve got at least 3 or 4 personal pieces in the background, so I can dip in and out of them and create a bit of variety when I’m in the middle of a big job.
Personal Work – ‘Jungle’
Illustration can be a lonely profession, how do you go about networking as an illustrator?
I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of talented designers and illustrators during the day and they are a great support group. I really enjoy visiting and taking part in fairs as it’s great way to meet people. The House of Illustrations illustration fair earlier this year was brilliant and I met lots of new people.
I love connecting with other illustrators and creatives through social media. I also use my channels as a sort of online sketchbook. I enjoy being able to share my personal projects on Instagram and it’s great to get feedback and advice from other creatives.