A spread for the zine: ‘Bearghost’
Who and what keeps you inspired?
I love hearing strange stories, and I tend to watch a lot of weird films and documentaries. These really inspire me and are the main inspiration behind my work. I often hear strange, disturbing stories on the news and think ‘how long do I have to wait until I turn that into a zine or a painting?’
You use a watercolour and ink approach to your illustrations, which has now become part of your style, what importance do you think style has on an illustrators practice?
I think it’s really important to be recognisable, you want someone to look at an image and know that you made it. It takes a long time to get to that point though, and it’s hard not to try and be someone you’re not in terms of style; there are a lot of amazing artists out there to admire. It’s also important to constantly be making new work and finding inspiration through working in different mediums, but ultimately your voice should shine through, it’s like a signature.
Your portfolio includes pet portraits that have been commissioned by individual pet owners. How important do you think it is for illustrators to create personal projects along side commissions for large-scale clients?
I’m slowly getting more and more work in from larger clients, (I’ve recently done a couple of illustrations for The New York Times Op-Ed page) but my main source of income is my Etsy shop – it’s kind of a dream, I make stuff I really like, paint images I want to paint and people buy them! Doing personal projects has turned into my job, and I hope I continue to get to do them as I become more established, it’s such a great way to develop your work and to build a portfolio up.
New York Times: ‘How To Prevent Summer Blackout’s’
What are the three obstacles that you find throughout your freelance working day and how do you make sure you get through these?
Guilt, distraction and comparison.
Guilt – The main thing for me is guilt – I am living the dream really – working for myself and getting to draw full-time to pay my rent. It’s amazing and I never thought I would get to that stage. But, because I love it so much it feels naughty, like I’m not doing a ‘proper’ job. It’s also hard to switch off from work, if I have a day off I get very jittery.
Distraction – It’s hard not to get distracted by things; things on the internet, things out the window, people talking etc.
Comparison – There are so many amazing illustrators out there that it’s hard not to compare their life with yours; look at their amazing studio space, look at that huge job they just got, look at how good they are on social media etc. etc.
In terms of getting over these obstacles I find the best way is to take a break, get some fresh air, make a list, have a coffee and pop radio 4 on. There’s nothing that a bit of talk radio and coffee can’t cure.
Faye Moorhouse – Studio
How do you feel being part of an agency as a freelance illustrator has helped with your work to date?
I got taken on by Bright Group a couple of months ago so it is early days, they look after my children’s illustration side of things, and as that’s an area that’s very new to me it’s been really great to have them behind me to help brainstorm and develop my ideas and characters. I am working on a couple of picture book ideas with them at the moment so I’m excited to see where that will take me.
How has social media, if at all, helped you with your freelance illustration work?
I do twitter, tumblr and instagram. I find them great motivational tools and also as a gauge for what is working and what is not. Up until very recently I was working at home, so that interaction with other illustrators via twitter and instagram was really helpful. I also seem to pick up a lot of work through instagram, particularly pet portrait jobs.