Instagram: @illustratesofia


1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

Hi hi hello, my name is Sofia Johnston and I’m an illustrator from South West London, currently living in Leeds. I’ve been doodling on things as long as I can remember but discovered illustration around 4 years ago and have been driven by it ever since.

digital painting kew gardens

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I would say my style is quite childlike and playful, which usually bodes well with my love for narrative. Colour is also a big part of my work, my palettes are usually fairly limited and well considered which I think really adds to the aesthetic of my work

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Hmmm thats a tough question…. I will always love drawing with crayons and colouring pencils, these are the tools I started drawing with as a child and there is a real sense of fun and play that comes with the textures and colours they create. However I have recently started playing around with digital drawing and have found this a very effective medium for my work and is really pushing me at the moment.

4. What is your artistic process like?

My work is usually focused around character creation and storytelling so my process usually starts with that, then I like to play around with texture and colour, testing out different media, and then finalise often digitally but sometimes its nice to go back to basics and execute a piece by hand.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

Lots of things in my life inspire my work, things I see in day to day life often give me ideas for little stories and illustrations which I like to keep note of and refer back to for ideas. There is also a countless number of artists who inspire me, Jean Jullien was probably the illustrator who’s work first got me into illustration and continues to inspire in my practice today.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

I don’t always notice it but art sort of weaves its way into so many aspects of my life, from the places I go, to how I dress, how I decorate my surroundings, it is all influenced by my creative interests and sort of makes up who I am as a person. I think being a creative definitely changes your view on the world, you appreciate little things that others might not even notice.


7. Where did you study?

I am currently studying BA Illustration at Leeds Arts University, it’s an amazing course and I’ve had a really fun time so far. My time there has already really pushed my practice, I’ve tried out lots of new ways of working and can already see a lot of progress since I started which is great.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Well I will have finished my degree and hopefully will have been able to find some work as an illustrator, fingers crossed.

9. What about in ten?

Who knows, that is definitely too far for me to imagine, but I hope I have a sausage dog, or two.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I hope that I can make work that brings a smile to someones face, brighten up their day a little, to reach people out in the world with my art and have someone put my work up on their wall would be quite the achievement.

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11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I am a big lover of Korean and Japanese food, the end of my perfect day would definitely be tucking into a big bowl of noodles.

12. Favourite book?

I’m not huge reader of novels, however I have a fab collection of art books and graphic novels, one of my favourites is ‘Map of Days’ by Robert Hunter, it’s got a lovely story and the illustrations and colour palette are just wonderful, very inspiring stuff.

13. Favourite genre of music?

I listen to lots of different music depending on the day and what I’m doing, but I have been enjoying some great jazzy afrobeat music recently.

14. What are your hobbies?

Making pompoms out of yarn, making earrings with the pompoms, painting plant pots, plant shopping for plants to fill my pots, watching cooking shows and videos and then cooking tasty food because they made me hungry.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

As a child strangely enough I always wanted to be a mountain climber, which sort of makes sense because I love outdoor activities. Although I have been told I would make a good primary school teacher, which I can imagine, busy doing lots of crafty activities.

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