Abi Hall is a brilliant illustrator who recently joined the Plum Family- get to know a bit about her here!
Where do you live/work?
I live in a small coastal town called Dungarvan in County Waterford in Ireland. I work from home in a small studio overlooking our south-facing garden. My dog Pip spends the day in the studio with me, mostly tucked up in his little furry bed after we’ve been out for a long morning walk.
What do you like about working there?
I like the lack of commute, and that I am surrounded here by beautiful beaches, forests, and mountains where I can walk for an hour or so every morning with Pip. Also the proximity to my coffee machine and fridge!
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
Reading, cooking, walking and hiking, watching films, eating out, and in the summer swimming in the sea.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
When I’m starting something new I like to mess around with all sorts of materials, including inks, paints, coloured pencils and oil pastels. Once I’ve settled on an overall look or direction for the project I start working digitally, drawing separations on the iPad to take into Photoshop or Illustrator. Once I have the basic drawing finished and coloured I start adding details, either using or Procreate or hand-drawing or painting onto tracing paper and scanning in to layer up digitally.
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
Definitely animals and birds. I like all the different shapes and colours that they are made up of, and that I can really add a lot of personality to them by accentuating certain features.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
The one’s that really stand out are the Anne of Green Gables series. Also I had a massive hardcover book of illustrated fairytales and folk-tales from around the world which I adored. There were loads of stories in it and they were all illustrated in completely different styles. I can still picture the illustrations now even though I haven’t set eyes on the book since I was a child.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
No, for the same reason as above! There are so many illustrators that I love for different reasons that I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite. Some that I look to frequently for inspiration are; Marc Boutavant, Isabelle Arsenault, Mary Blair, the Provensens, Sara Ogilvie and Victoria Semykina.
What or who are you most inspired by?
I couldn’t really say what I’m most inspired by as I’m inspired by so much! Obviously other illustrators and artists, but also; nature, fashion, films, graphic novels, travel, and my two young nieces.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
Being paid to draw all day! I love that I am constantly learning and constantly improving, and that I can look back and see how my work has changed and grown.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
‘Theft by Finding’ by David Sedaris. I loved it. I’m a big fan of his and find him very funny, the book did not disappoint.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Draw, draw, draw, and draw some more! Draw everything.
2. Use books, magazines, and films or videos for inspiration more than you use image searches on the internet.
3. Experiment and stay loose, embrace the happy accident.