1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hello! My name is Lydia Hill, I am 21 years old and I grew up on a tiny rural town off the south coast of England called Hayling Island. Growing up I was quite a shy but playful kid who mostly felt at home outside or in the garden. In school, I was known as that one girl who could draw you anything you asked for – and therefore spent most of my time working on vast lists of commissions of things like Transformers, tigers or Disney princesses. When I was 11/12 I first gained access to the internet and found myself on sites like DeviantArt and Youtube. After begging my parents to buy me a drawing tablet for my 13th birthday I spent my time making bad fan art for whatever show I was into at the time or “animating” by rotoscoping videos in Microsoft paint, importing them into powerpoint slides and then pressing spacebar real fast. Now I’m in my third year of an Illustration BA in London! Time flies.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I think my aesthetic is a big mix of everything I love! Big bold graphic shapes, shiny colours and quirky characters.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I work digitally and love the speed and efficiency I can work with computers. I still use a mix of Photoshop and Paint Tool SAI which is an ancient Japanese drawing software I picked up at 13 and have never let go of. I’m hoping to pick up an iPad Pro soon so I can jot down ideas on the go and have more freedom to draw while I’m travelling.
4. What is your artistic process like?
My artistic process is a lot of sketches, countless Pinterest boards and sending 10 versions of everything I do to my partner for vetting. I spend maybe only 20% of my time on each piece deciding the composition and then the rest of the time playing with colours, overlays and textures. I’m not too great at visualising what a piece will look like finished so a lot of the process is trial and error until I’m happy.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I think today a lot of my inspiration comes from media outside of digital illustration. As a kid, my creativity used to stem from watching animated movies and being involved with online art communities, but now my references are a lot broader. In college, I was given quite a traditional art education and I think because of that I absorbed an admiration for renaissance and folk art.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art has always played a huge role in my life. Socially I fit somewhere between extroverted and introverted but on reflection, it is hard to imagine where I would be if I didn’t have that alone time at the end of the day in my teen years to sit down and be creative. It was an escape and an outlet all rolled into one. I’m also now constantly hunting for inspiration in my environment, it’s become almost second nature at this point. This inspiration can sometimes come from buildings, people or simply a nice set of colours on an advert in a tube station.
7. Where did you study?
I’m still studying! I’m in my third and final year of an Illustration BA at Middlesex University in London. Before that, I did a Foundation degree and BTEC at Southdowns College in my hometown of Portsmouth.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I’d love to see myself working in a cozy design office somewhere as an illustrator or artworker. I work best around other creatives and love bouncing ideas off of people. I’m lucky that my university course has all of us together in a big studio which I will miss greatly when I leave.
9. What about in ten?
It’s tempting to say I might be completely bored of digital art in 10 years and be some abstract expressionist painter in a studio somewhere in the woods – but who knows what kind of new technology will be around in 2029!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope that it makes people happy in the same way it makes me happy to make it. Being able to build a career off of something that makes you truly happy is rare, and I’m open to any paths that may take me down.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I’ve always loved cooking! My favourite meal is dim sum. Specifically at this place called Four Seasons in Leicester Square. Would definitely recommend.
12. Favourite book?
At the moment Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. For as long as I can remember I’ve been utterly fascinated by how we evolved and the steps humankind took to be here. In times of anxiety or stress, I find it really relaxing to think of the bigger picture. Sometimes I think about it so much that it becomes a bit paralysing!
13. Favourite genre of music?
I listen to anything fun. Girly pop, 70s alternative, rap, etc. At the moment I’m going through a big Grimes phase.
14. What are your hobbies?
I watch documentaries constantly. For at least an hour a day. I struggled with memorising information in school but visual learning really works for me.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
An anthropologist or psychologist. I love learning about history, science, evolution and human beings. The human brain is fascinating and I would’ve loved to be a psychologist if I wasn’t an illustrator!