Friday, 2 September 2016

5 Minutes With.. NEW ARTIST Claire Stamper

Each month, we are celebrating a different one of our fantastically talented artists in the '5 Minutes with...' series of interviews. We will be asking them a few questions in an attempt to gain an insight into their world as a children's illustrator! We know it hasn't been a month, just a week in fact, but we have a NEW ARTIST we'd like to introduce! So today it is the turn of NEW PP ARTIST Claire Jayne Stamper, so sit back, take five, and let's get to know a little more about Claire.

Having spent most her life drawing for fun, it came as a surprise to an 18-year-old Claire when she realised she could do it for a living! Since then she has been on an amazing journey to discovering her true potential as an illustrator: beginning as a humble fan of the manga art-style, and growing into a confident artist obtaining a First Class degree in Illustration. 
Diving head first into the world of professional illustration, Claire established herself with a flair for dynamic and colourful character design. She has utilised her skills in a variety of projects including Vodafone’s red squirrel chat stickers, an assortment of designs for Kilogramme Animation Studio and being the sole illustrator for the entire curriculum of Learning For Little Fingers piano school. Creating bright, cute & colourful images is Claire’s favourite pastime - the fact she gets to do it as a career is a nice bonus too! She is always looking to diversify her portfolio and would be delighted to work on new & exciting projects.

Where do you live/work?

For the past 5 years I was working in the Manchester area, but have recently moved over to Leeds. It is very recent though, so I’m still getting settled in. 

What do you love about working there? 

I really loved my time over in Manchester and made some awesome illustration friends; the community over there is really active! I’m excited to get stuck in and find a new community here in Leeds though, and it’s also great as I am living closer to friends from my art foundation days. It’s going to be fun seeing if we can come up with some group projects and motivate each other.

What are your dislikes? 

It's been tough living away from my family. I grew up in Nottinghamshire and that's currently where my parents & siblings are living. It's not too far away, but it would be nicer if I got to see them more regularly. My older sister has kids of her own now and I can often feel like I'm missing out on seeing them grow up. 

What do you love most about being an illustrator? 

Creating! I love the feeling of finishing a new piece of work and knowing I have added something to the world. It’s also fun to dazzle people by showing them what you’ve made; it’s like showing them a magic trick. 

How do you work – what are your techniques? 

I always like to hand draw things first. When I started working with Adobe Illustrator, I was worried I would lose my drawing ability, so found a way to combine the two skills. I will always draw things before scanning them in and going over them in Illustrator. That way I can create bright, crisp images, without losing my personal charm. Working while listening to music is also my favourite thing. I can really focus and lose myself in my work. 

What is your favourite thing to draw? 

Mostly animals. I go though phases where I’ll suddenly really want to draw people or maybe the odd plant, but I always come back to animals. It’s what I always drew as a child, so I think that’s why I continue to find comfort and inspiration when drawing them.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator? 

I would say it can be the solitude. A lot of people have trouble negotiating fees and trying to get noticed - that's where an agent comes in! There are times when you get so caught up in work that you realise what you really need is a little time off, a few drinks with friends over a weekend always fixes that!

What or who are you inspired by? 

Another tough one! There are so many things I could say inspire me.In regards to other artists, I have recently been super inspired by Fran Meneses. She created some beautiful illustrations and has a YouTube channel that is always full of inspiring and motivating content! Just looking at her work makes me want to draw. Otherwise it can be random things that inspire me. Usually birds!

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating? 

I go on a lot of walks. Going on adventures and exploring with my friends is one of my favourite things to do; even more so now that Pokemon Go is a thing. I also recently started volunteering with Guide Dogs. It’s been a lot of fun because I adore dogs and getting to work with them and see how they’re trained to help people is fascinating. It also means I get to hold the occasional puppy! 

How did you get into illustration? 

I have always been a drawer! Growing up I was always that kid that drew, but what really started it all was when my A-level teacher told me about the Art Foundation course at Nottingham College. It had never occurred to me that I could make a career of being an artist and I had no idea what I wanted to do at this point. I though, if nothing else, it would give me a year to figure it all out and it ended up being the best decision I’d ever made! Through that year I learned about all the different routes I could take for my career, and illustration was the obvious choice for me. I like how diverse it can be, so whether it’s designing characters, creating greetings cards or telling a story, I can do them all with illustration! 

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators? 

1) Keep drawing (or whatever your equivalent method is)! I made the mistake of stopping drawing for myself when I was in college, and it’s my biggest regret. You do this because it makes you happy; remember that!

2) Be willing to fail. It’s okay to go through a rough patch, or to make mistakes. You’ll often find that if you keep working through it, you’ll end up a better artist and person overall.

3) The worst thing you can do is do nothing but illustrate. Let yourself experience the world, whether that be though travel, movies, music, visiting family or friends. Make sure to keep experiencing and keep getting inspired!

What’s your ultimate dream? 

My dream is to continue growing as an illustrator and as a person. All I want in life is to keep growing and to keep saying yes to new experiences! But if I had to pick a specific thing, then it is to go to Japan and maybe even live there for a little while. I’m fascinated by their culture and find it super inspiring! I feel like a trip over there would give me a lot of ideas.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Claire and seeing her journey into illustration, we certainly did! If you want to see more fantastic work from Claire, head to  her PP portfolio here!

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