It’s Autumn already but the sun is shining and the birds are still singing so we’re in a good mood here at Pure Illustration. We try celebrate the talent and originality of our artists as often and as proudly as possible here at Pure. So we post an artist’s interview once in a while to highlight someone who we feel reflects the spirit of creativity that inspires all of our team and our customers on a daily basis. There is so much good artwork available in our market now days but sometimes a star shines through, and we feel many of Pure Illustrations artists and illustrators fit that description.

Here’s an interview with one of our favourite artists – Emily Stalley


  1. How did you find yourself working in the world of art licensing?

 I grew up in the countryside in a little  village called Thaxted in Essex. I lived there for 25 years until recently I have managed to buy my first home with my boyfriend in Suffolk, between Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge.

I studied Graphic Design & illustration at  De Montfort University. I specialised in children’s book illustration – writing and illustrating  two childrens books for my major projects. After graduating in 2012, I have since worked at various posts as an inhouse designer/illustrator / artworker. This included working with fashion apparel and greeting cards.

Presently, by day, I work as a full time graphic designer for a dairy nutrition company, which is mostly corporate design work – leaflets, adverts, packaging and a bit of web design. By night, (and weekend!) I’m in my element, painting bright florals, whimsical characters, birthday cakes and bicycles! It’s interesting to work in both ends of the spectrum of design, and i feel that experience in both areas definitely benefits and feeds into the other.

 2015 was the year I decided I wanted to really focus in on my freelance career. I rebranded myself, designed and coded my own website. It started to pay off, and began picking up a few freelance jobs. I saw Pure Illustration’s advert recruiting new illustrators for them to represent. I was thrilled when I got the call from Richard that they would like to represent me, and since then I’ve not looked back! Pure have been an amazing source of inspiration and motivation, and I’m really proud to be represented by them.


2. Are there any artists who inspire your work?

I’m inspired by so many contrasting artists! My favourite childrens book illustrator has got to be Jon Klassen or Oliver Jeffers. I just love their use of composition and texture. For florals, i look to Katie Daisy, who i am in awe of with her beautiful wild flower paintings. I also love humorous pieces, such as work by Liz Climo.  Caroline Gardner is a constant source of inspiration, along with the shop Anthropologie, and also Rob Ryan. Generally I’m inspired by ephemera, animals, nature, vintage typesetting and branding.

  1. Describe your work space, do you have a mascot or a favourite pen?

My work space is based at home and is relatively new, as I’ve only had it since April! It’s a bit bare bones at the moment, but I’m hoping to fill it with an inspiration board, get a few shelves and pictures up and really make it my own.  Having my own space has really made a  difference for me. It’s nice to be able to have everything I need out and ready to use, and I can be as messy and creative as I want!

I’ve chosen to have two desks in my mini studio: a digital and an analogue. I think its important to get away from the screen initially, and get hands on with my illustration. I read a very inspiring book called ‘Steal like an Artist, 10 things nobody told you about being creative’ by Austin Kleon, which I have often re-read. My favourite quote from it is: “ In the digital age, don’t forget your digits! Your hands are the original digital devices, use them.” This really rang true to me – there’s always something about starting off with pencil (2B!), paintbrush and paper, away from any digital influences!

My mascot would probably be my dog Frankie! She’s a cheeky Cockapoo who will come and distract me every hour or so!


  1. Do you have a ritual before you start your creative work?

I usually have a fresh cup of tea and a browse on pinterest. I also look at the artist blog on the pure illustration website to see whats in demand and try to cater for that! I then look for new colour pallets to inspire me. A lot of my recent work includes flowers, so I’m also trying to learn new species of flowers as i go! I collect lots of books on surface pattern design and typography, so i’m always constantly referring back to those!

Music is really important to me for me to keep me at work. I listen to a range of music, depending on my mood! An example of this can be me going from listening to classical piano, to guilty pleasures like the entire Taylor Swift collection!! My ultimate go to for work music will always be Frank Turner though!

  1. What is a typical day like when you are creating?

 I rarely get an entire day to pin down and work as I work full time. I usually have 2/3 evenings a week, and if i’m lucky, a full day at the weekend to get on with work! So I’d say my design ideas and experiments happen in the evenings, where i also start painting up individual elements. I then use the weekend to form a complete piece, in photoshop, working late on a Sunday night until i’m satisfied with the composition!


  1. What has been the proudest moment in your art career?

 My proudest achievements has been seeing two of my graphic t-shirt designs being sold in FatFace stores, and seeing my illustrations published as greeting cards and being sold in WH Smith. Recently, selling my first piece of artwork independently with Pure at May’s Blueprint show in NYC has been a great achievement for me!

  1. Who would be your dream customer to see your work in?

 I think my ultimate dream would be to design a homeware range or partyware ranges for a shop like John Lewis.  I’d also love to see my work in Paperchase too

  1. How would you like to develop your work in the future?

 I would love to collaborate with an author and illustrate a children’s book. I would also love to do more editorial work, and i’m keen to start learning animation!

Pure Illustration – the agency for artists and illustrators working in art markets worldwide –