Another little interview for you here with one of our amazing new artists Jessica Rose! Jessica has been kind enough to share some tips for aspiring illustrators, as well as her inspirations and some fab pictures to accompany...
Where do you live/work?
I live in Haworth, a gorgeous Yorkshire village famous for the Bronte sisters. It’s an amazing kooky little place with bags of character and creativity running in the heart of it. So a pretty inspiring place to be.
I work on my illustrations from home. I have a studio space tucked away at the top of the house, but I can sometimes be found working in the lounge or kitchen on an evening...because that’s closer to the chocolate.
What do you love about working there?
I can wear my Pjs which are the greatest of all clothing items!
Plus living in a village means it’s quiet. If my husband or children aren’t around, the house is silent and it’s easy to buckle down with no distractions.
What are your dislikes?
Sometimes it can be a bit lonely up in the silence of my studio. I have other work during the week, which means I do get the hustle and bustle of a busy studio, so usually when I’m in my own creative space it’s a pleasant thing.
The room is in the attic so when it’s windy (and up near the pennines means the wind can be pretty strong) it does sound like the roof may blow off.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
Books transport people away from their world and into someone elses. For children who’s brains are so open to possibilities, books are fuel for imagination, learning and play. I see my children fixate on characters and run to the their dress up cupboard, trying to piece together something that resembles a character they have just seen and heard about in a book. They want to be that character and continue their stories on. Because they’re children and don’t care what anyone thinks, if they want to go walking around in swimming trunks and a cape they will. Illustrating means I get to wear my trunks and cape (metaphorically speaking) and keep my inner child happy. I get to bring worlds and characters to life with drawings and telling a story the way I want others to see it. It feels magical to think something I have created may become a part of a child’s imagination.
Books are magical and I get to be a part of that magic.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I tend to start out with sketches. Although I’m a digital illustrator, the happy accidents made with a pencil and paper are something I just can’t replicate on my iPad or Mac.
I’ll then either scan or photograph the sketches and use them as a base, then start colouring up in Photoshop. Once I’ve got everything that the pencil sketch had to offer I’ll remove that layer and start to play around with maybe shadows or placement etc till I’m happy.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
Until recently it would be animals. Doing slightly humorous or fun things. The simple joy of them wearing clothes...who doesn’t like animals in clothes!? Recently though I’ve really been enjoying drawing people and focusing on the different shapes we all have and the huge variations between us all.
Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?
Juggling my time between other work and illustrating. I also have a design job, so I have to keep the balance between work, other work and me time; especially with little ones around. I try to give myself some guidelines to adhere to so I can schedule myself around that.
What or who are you inspired by?
In my eyes every day is a school day and I think I absorb and learn from all the things around me. From other people’s creative works to something I saw on some packaging, or even the colour combination a randomer may be wearing. Inspiration is everywhere it’s just about picking out what is relevant to me.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating.
Spend time with my husband and my two children. Any time I have for just me would be spent reading, gaming or being outdoors. Oh and shopping.
How did you get into illustration?
I’ve always drawn, but the idea of it being my job crept up on me. It was like it was exactly what I wanted, but I didn’t know I’d be able to make it a job. A friend planted an idea worm in my brain. She told me I should be looking at being an illustrator and children’s books based on the work I was creating in my job at the time. Well the worm grew and I realised how much I wanted to do it, so I made it my focus to develop my own style and see if it would lead anywhere.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Get yourself some awesome super comfy pyjamas for your ‘no one can see me, I'm working at home’ days!
2. Draw, draw and draw some more...you literally can’t draw too much.
Never think you can’t keep developing or learning. A rolling stone gathers no moss...Or whatever that saying is. Basically, by staying in the same place you could go stale like old bread. Keep moving forward and growing who you are as an illustrator.
3. Work hard to achieve your goal, but look after yourself too. Listen to your body and mind and nurture them. Don’t take yourself for granted because without you, you couldn't achieve all the amazing things you want to.