House Portraits

Friday 5 August 2016

The Saltaire Review magazine cover illustration

I was really happy to be asked recently to design a front cover for the August/September edition of the Saltaire Review magazine, using my illustrations of Saltaire shops and houses. I was also asked if they could feature an interview with me... I hope the readers found it interesting! Below is the full interview and you can view the magazine online here.

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How would you describe your artwork?

I often get told my work is quirky, cute, very detailed and neat. My passion for children’s literature comes across in a storytelling nature to my drawings, along with a love for graphic detail. Combining real life documentation with my imagination, the way I work probably reflects the way I live and see the world – appreciating the joys of what’s in front of me while also spending a lot of time in a different, daydreamy place!  

Do you have a preferred style or medium?

Fineliners have been integral to the way I work since I was a small child! I use them in different thicknesses and love drawing tiny details with the smallest nib I can find. I like to draw in pencil too, which can suit more emotive subjects like people and animals and can be very versatile once it’s scanned in. I then scan in and usually colour digitally, but I have also started screen printing, which is a process I fell in love with as soon as I tried it.

When did you decide you wanted to become a full time artist? 

I always wanted to work in a creative job and tried a few avenues when I first left school. I started studying fashion at university before eventually realising all I wanted to do was draw. I transferred to an Illustration degree and never looked back!

Who are your biggest influences?

Looking at other artists, my main inspiration has always been children’s books. I am inspired in different ways by Shirley Hughes, Richard Scarry and Janet and Alan Ahlberg, to name just a few. My university lecturers were very influential in the start of my practice and most importantly, my supportive - and creative - family. My Dad was a skilled joiner who could make anything out of wood and my Mum is a fine artist, so I now see traits from both in my design approach to art.

What inspires your work?

My main inspiration is my happy and colourful childhood. With four older brothers and sisters, our house was always vibrant and busy and my parents were brilliant at keeping us entertained. Our home was the perfect backdrop for my imagination to flourish as we played and drew and made things. Maybe that somehow links to my other inspiration which (you can probably tell from my work!) is architecture. I get excited at the sight of characterful houses and shops and want to draw as many as I can! I go through stages of working out, spontaneity and repetition when I am drawing buildings. Each stage feels fresh when I get to it and then therapeutic in the process.

What's your relationship with Saltaire?

I lived in Leeds for five years and used to visit Saltaire regularly after first discovering the arts trail in 2009. I can spend ages looking at children’s books in Salts Mill and used to drive over specially for that. In May this year, I showed my work for the first time in the open houses of the Arts Trail and it was a great weekend. I made a trip over when I found out I’d been accepted and took photos of some of the lovely old buildings to draw and make prints of. It was really good to see firsthand what people thought to my work.  

What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans for the future?

I had just started screen printing before breaking my right (drawing) hand in a car accident earlier this year. It has been a long process and I am still having physiotherapy, but my hand is finally feeling much better and ready to get back to printing. So that is my focus at the moment. I always have ideas for children’s books ticking over too (I have a masters in children’s book illustration) - I like to write my own stories as well as illustrate them. I have also been working on some commissions, including house portraits - which I will be updating my social media streams with as they progress.

Where can we find more of your work?

I have very recently set up an online shop on etsy, where some of my prints are for sale. I will be adding more screen prints here along with some other ideas I’ve been developing for products...