1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I’m from a town near London, and have always known that art was going to be the path I wished to pursue in life! Despite loving most subjects at school, I stuck to my guns and went on to do my art foundation at Reading College, then on to Falmouth University in Cornwall. At university, I got very caught up in to thinking that digital was the only way forward in the modern world, so I can’t say I came out of university actually liking anything I’d made because I know that I didn’t really enjoy making it. I then went on to experiencing working for design companies in London and New York, mostly packaging design for companies for brands like Pepsi, Bailey’s, Clipper tea, etc. They were all incredible experiences, yet after each one I just thought, “I never want to do that again!” as I just wasn’t cut out for that sort of role.
In January 2020, I came home from New York and got a job in a cafe, just to re-evaluate my career and think about what I really wanted to do… Then lockdown happened! While in lockdown at home with my parents, I got may paints out and got back in touch with my creativity, making work that I absolutely loved to make again. The Instagram community was so helpful at that point, as it provided feedback, and slowly but surely, I’ve spent the year building up my small business as a freelance illustrator, with a website, shop and a couple of clients to work for! I’ve now moved back down to Cornwall to live with my boyfriend, and I’m giving freelance illustration a real go, trying to create new work each week and gain new clients to work for! It’s definitely not easy but it’s very slowly getting off the ground!
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My aesthetic is rather colourful, calming and bright. I use quiet a lot of pink in my work, it’s my favourite colour but it also just seems to make everything look warmer and more inviting! I hand paint all my illustrations with gouache paint mainly ( as well as some pastel drawings) so I’m very in to natural textures. I love paintbrush strokes being present in my illustrations, as well as natural marks. I always aim to keep any little imperfections as that is what makes the illustration unique. Through lockdown I ran some sessions where I painted and people could join in on Instagram Livestream, and the one thing I kept repeating was “Keep those imperfections, that’s exactly what makes the work completely yours!”
I would love to call my aesthetic a mixture between Illustration and Fine Art, as I hand paint and draw everything with the idea of it being purely a stand-alone painting in its own right, but I’m happy to let people have their own interpretations!
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
My favourite medium is definitely gouache paint and pastels. At university, we used Gouache once and I didn’t touch it again until after I graduated. It’s rather hard to use initially, but now I love using it in a watered-down way, slightly like watercolours, despite gouache being invented in order to create thick, matt looking colour. I just find the colours so vivid and fun, I use a large paint brush when creating my illustrations, which give the textured, painterly look effect. Same with pastels, I love the unpredictability of the textures, the way the colours look together and the lack of control you sometimes have. It’s hard to create perfection with pastels and that is exactly what makes the image unique!
4. What is your artistic process like?
Usually I sketch the idea, whether that’s based off of a project I’m being commissioned to do, or something I see and feel inspired to paint. Landscapes, nature, fashion, faces. I drawing in pencil, then pen, and put that under another sheet of good quality cartridge paper, then place over a lightbox so I can see my drawing. I then paint directly on to the cartridge paper, so that I can paint without there being any smudged lines or pencil on the paper, creating a really clean aesthetic. Often, I paint the whole illustration in one go on a piece of paper and scan in, then touch up on Photoshop, or I paint elements separately and bring them together on Photoshop, yet I always aim to achieve the most natural looking effect.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Literally everything! Some sunglasses resting on a table, trees in a park, people on the beach, a teapot, beautiful interiors in magazines or Pinterest, products I use at home like face wash! My dreams inspire me, like travelling the world in a camper van, beautiful locations I’ve been to or would love to go. Fellow illustrators, famous artists throughout the years, and most recently, photographers. Photographers are so inspiring, something I’m continuing to delve into deeper and appreciate more.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I always underestimate how much art means to me. I always think maybe I should get a normal job, as being creative can be so hard sometimes, you put so much pressure on yourself. But having had normal jobs, I’ve always gone home and been creative, I physically can’t stop myself! My body is just always inspired, wanting to paint or draw, get something out on to paper and I can’t sleep until it’s done. Art has always had such a magical role in my life, coming from a family who wouldn’t call themselves create, art has always been the thing that I’ve had for myself, something I’ve clung onto, knowing it was what I wanted to do, I just knew! It changes the way I view the world because it’s something to escape to, it’s something unlike anything else, and I feel so incredibly lucky to feel part of the art in this world. We can all produce art, it’s just having the courage and continually believe in yourself, despite that being incredibly hard, and to follow your passion. I see successful artist as ‘the last man standing’, the ones who never ever gave up, despite being turned down, despite other people saying get a real job, despite life seeming a bit scary and without direction. These are the people who battle all these fears come out the other side. I’m still on the journey of perseverance, trudging through a battlefield in order to get to my goal… yet at the moment I have absolutely no idea what that is, maybe by doing art every day, I’ve already fulfilled a major goal?
7. Where did you study?
I studied at Falmouth University, Cornwall, UK. It was an amazing course, yet I got a bit lost creatively. I got caught up in the digital world, wanting to keep up with the times. The effect was that I then left university and got jobs in design studios, then realising that this was exactly what I didn’t want to do! In one New York internship, I even told them in my review meeting at the end of the internship that there was no way I could do this as a career, it’s just not for me, and you could see it in all my work, my heart wasn’t there. Anyone starting university, I would say completely follow your heart and keep in your own lane, don’t get side-tracked by others. If our heart flies when you are doing work, you can see it in your art! No regrets, but if I could go back, I would have released what I loved more, painting and drawing! Luckily, I’ve found that again and have just been so much happier with my work! If you love digital and you’re good at it, go for it! Just do what makes you happy as cliche as that sounds, it’s just so important!
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hmm… I’d ideally like to be making some proper money! Just enough to get by on and live without worry. Hopefully that will all come with time. People tell me as long as you have a couple of clients, the ball will start rolling and jobs will crop up. I’m still waiting for the ball to fully roll off into the sunset but at least I’m not giving up and persisting. At university, they sort of scare you by telling you there aren’t many jobs, but there are always jobs. My fellow creative friends and I have all found that it doesn’t matter what the situation is, if you try and try again there are always jobs, always. You just have to be willing to spend time scouring and hounding people. It will happen.
9. What about in ten?
Crickey! Hopefully have an established business, being an illustrator with some great projects under my belt, not worrying too much about how the heck life will turn out. Living abroad would be nice, maybe having a freelance business to just travel with, exploring some of the world while getting jobs from good clients, that’s the dream!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope to create something that provides a small escape for people, whether that’s a sense of calm or possibly happiness. My art is mostly just trying to capture something I’ve seen and feel inspired by, so that people see these things in new ways, they appreciate them differently or see a new perspective on things. Whether it’s the way the paint looks in the illustration or the way the illustration style depicts an object, I hope a new beauty and appreciation can be found in that object. Mostly, I hope joy is found in my work, as I definitely enjoy making it!
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Now that’s incredibly hard because I honestly love everything, but if I had to pick something, it’s between Italian food or Spanish tapas!
12. Favourite book?
It might be slightly boring but Jane Eyre was one of my favourite books, because it was so big and complex and I was so happy I understood and loved every word of it! Mostly though, my choices are really romantic, just a little light relief to escape to each evening before bed! I love rom-coms way too much, my friends tell me I have to stop reading and watching them because I get sucked into them thinking its real life!
13. Favourite genre of music?
Literally all music, I have such a varied pallet. Something I definitely love is folk, it just makes my heart feel things other music doesn’t, especially a bit of Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling, but the list is endless!
14. What are your hobbies?
Walking is my all-time favourite thing to do, nothing beats a walk to lift the spirits and clear your head. I also love knitting and cooking… despite not being great at either of these things!
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
An actor in a comedy show, a radio presenter, or a Rockstar performing at festivals (it’s another dream to one day stand on a festival stage… never gunna happen!)