How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
I would say that my work has a spoonful of realism with a few dashes of make believe finished off with a dusting of magic – well it is in my dreams!
How did you start off in the arts? How/when did you realise that you were an artist?
I think throughout my childhood I spent the majority of my time building, sewing, painting and restoring anything I could get my hands on, when I got to about 14 I could draw things in a ‘photorealistic’ style and that was when I realised I was actually quite good at something, after that you couldn’t hold me back! I went straight from school to Art College then on to University to do Fine Art, managed a career in graphics for a while before doing an MA at the NFTS, I’ve also trained partially as a ceramicist! There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I love but I’m ever so grateful that I get to spend every day illustrating for all manner of things.
Please describe a typical day of art making for you.
I’m currently working as a concept artist on a film in the costume department, so it’s early mornings and long days at a film studio, but if I’m freelancing from home I will start the day with a nice long dog walk to wake me up then depending on whether I’m working digitally I will be at my cintiq in the office in the garden or if hand illustrating I prefer a cup of tea working at the dining room table – I love to listen to music on my headphones while I work, I find it helps me close off a little from the outside world and time seems to disappear. I find all my work usually starts off as a sketch before I scan it into the computer, even though I could easily do this on the cintiq I find my sketches are far less self conscious if I start of with a good old pencil and paper.
What contemporary artist or developments in illustration do you find interesting right now?
I think the artist that have inspired me the most in the last ten years are Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey, Craig Mullins, James Gurney, Lucien Freud, Paula Rego and Sargent to name but a few – I can look at their work for hours. As far as developments go I suppose I’m just a little old fashioned and although having an iPad with an ebook, or illustrated story app can be fun and handy I would still go for a good old book any day of the week.
How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
It really depends but I would say on average an illustration could be pretty much done in a day.
When do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you’re not creating?
When I have the time I love to play a little bit of guitar – badly, knit, make clothes or get on my motorbike with my husband and zip around the countryside!
Any advice for aspiring young illustrators?
I think the best piece of advice is to just keep doing it – you really do get better the more you do and trust in your own style – you can’t pretend to be someone your not …artistically speaking!