1 How did you find yourself working in the world of art licensing?
My priority in recent years has been my children, and I have made sure I have always been on hand for them as it’s been important to me to be a good mum. They are older now and I get to refocus on myself again. My youngest has just finished A-levels and I now have the luxury of working late into the night when it’s quiet and not have to get up at the crack of dawn for the school routine.
I got my degree in Graphic Design at, what is now, NUA in Norwich. I specialised in Illustration in my final year, realising that was where I had been heading all along. I’ve recently started painting originals again, which is what I did for some years after leaving college. I like the freedom to paint what I like and it is always a delight to sell a painting as it means someone else likes your work enough to want to keep it in their home.
I love cards, illustration and pattern so in more recent years it has been obvious to focus on making a living from the things I like most. I looked at all the Illustration agents, and found Pure, who I thought would offer me the flexibility to produce the kind of work I would like to do, and seemed very well placed to provide opportunities and commissions from areas using illustration which I would not have thought of. I was happy to hear back from them and am now pleased to be in the company of so many artists producing lovely work.
2 Are there any artists who inspire your work?
As a child I only thought a book was any good if it had nice colour pictures. I think I was probably right, and when my children were younger we accumulated a very sizeable collection of illustrated books. I don’t need an excuse to add to it now! I also have a lot of greeting cards that I have bought for people which never reach their intended recipient! I live near Lavenham in Suffolk, which is a gorgeous ancient village and has shops and galleries with cards, pictures and lovely things. I spend far too much time on Pinterest (I confess to a secondary secret account that has 6k of pins – I consider it visual education!) and would choose roaming round the internet looking for lovely images over watching the telly (or sometimes sleep). Paintings, illustrations, colours and lovely design just make me happy, so it’s my favourite thing to do. I could make a list of my favourite artists and illustrators but it would be very very long, so I will choose some at random – Dee Nickerson, Angela Barrett, Emily Sutton, Eric Ravillious, Kaffe Fassett, Stanley Spencer, Tom Schamp, Anna Pugh, Grandma Moses, Cate Edwards, Mary Sumner, Johnny Hannah, Evelyn Dunbar, Janet Ahlberg, Astrid Trugg, Emma Chichester Clark, Gary Bunt, The Provensons
3 Describe your work space, do you have a mascot or a favourite pen?
I do really appreciate how lucky I am to be at home and be able to hang the washing out or answer the phone, and that it is such a privilege to do what I want and enjoy what I do. I like to find a quiet spot in the house,-warm by the woodburner in winter, not too hot by the big window in summer, and one which isn’t traversed by family – and that is sometimes tricky. I have an old pine table that has castors on and a small one on wheels for my computer – so now I move it all whenever I want a change of workspace. I put an Ergotron arm on my monitor, so when I do a long nights work I can get comfy on the sofa and be able to pull the monitor where I want it. My favourite paper is Kent Edition which I have used since college, but I also use watercolour paper with not too much texture. I mostly use a 1 and a 2 brush for watercolour and gouache, but bigger sturdier ones often with acrylic.
4 Do you have a ritual before you start your creative work? 5 What is a typical day like when you are creating?
I begin the day by strictly doing all the domestic stuff, which makes for a better stretch of concentration without distractions. Silence is nice to work by but if I’m not thinking, just painting, I think Spotify is fantastic as I can listen to any music I fancy. I often start with a warm up picture and experiment with a new idea, technique or subject – it’s a lot of fun to invent something new that works and looks really good. Then if I have come up with something interesting, I allow myself a bit of feeling really pleased with myself and then stop myself going off on a tangent, and pick back up on one of the several different images I have on the go at the same time. I think the experiments feed in to the work later on. I love Photoshop for the things you can do playing with texture and pattern, and how it allows you to adjust an image, but equally there are things you can do quickly with a paintbrush that will never authentically be created digitally, so I like both and sometimes a combination.
We have a lovely dog who keeps me company all day on the chair next to me, and who I can’t get away with not walking daily. I’m lucky enough to have some lovely countryside around me so we go straight out the door and over the fields with just the sound of the birds.
6 What has been the proudest moment in your art career?
I was recently very delighted to see a design of mine published by Phoenix Trading. I actually did that particular painting for my partner’s Grandma’s 100th birthday and it’s a watercolour of a tall, tall cake with 100 candles on it (they put glitter on all the candles so it sparkles) It was lovely to be able to tell her that her painting is being bought by lots of people now as a birthday card!
7 How would you like to develop your work in the future
I do find it easy and enjoyable to illustrate for children –perhaps wall art etc. I especially like domestic subjects – the kitchen, cooking, food, cakes, fruit and veg and recipes….. and I’m interested in the combination of image and hand lettering so some packaging and editorial work would be lovely.
Pure Illustration – the agency for artists and illustrators working in art markets worldwide – www.pureilllustration.com