See more work at: www.paperart-illustrator.com
Being an illustrator
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I make diorama’s out of paper and other house-hold objects. Each new project is a stimulus to create a style for it. For example; The children’s book set in The cook Islands, I recycled supermarket bags for clothing, used chocolate for houses and maize flour for the sandy beach. I used a bathroom mirror for the sea. I then photographed the sets to make a multi-textural looking book.
When did you decide to pursue illustration as a career?
7 years ago, I started a stall on Brick Lane where I sold New Zealand clothing, jewellery and some of my photographic illustration. The art sold more, and it was a lot lighter to get down to market on a Sunday morning, and then a London Magazine ‘PIMP’ showed interest in my work, which got me feeling confident enough to post my work on the internet. Since then I have been found on the web for exhibitions and a graphic novel.
What training did you have?
After getting a degree in World Religion ,I ran a B&B in Scotland, Sold door-to-door products in New Zealand and worked in fashion shops and drew in fashion shops.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
A Billboard in the London Underground for ArtBelow with a soft message about wearing real fur as being pretty ugly .
What’s your favourite quote?
‘You should make something of everything’ (Tanja Stanic)
Who is your favourite artist?
Grayson Perry, and Jeff Koons amongst the famous
What are you aiming for?
drawing, creating writing most days and producing my own books/stories /audio books
How will you get there?
I have a graphic novel coming out in 2012 and have had 3 children’s books published, so the timing seems right to write and illustrate my own graphic book. I am aiming at completing the writing in 2012
Is anything holding you back?
no – not really, I have illustration work on, but I find different art forms feed each other, so it’s good to have a few pots on the stove.
You and illustration
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I am always surprised when people seem enchanted by my work, and all it does, is take me into it’s world and enjoy it, a bit like a child who has re-discovered a secret door in their room.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
My Photographic paper-cut work takes about a day, and my 2d work about half a day for an image.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
Variety: Jean-Michel Jarre to Radio Four gardeners hour, and I don’t garden…yet
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
Graphic Novel ‘Night of the living Dead’ coming out soon
and my own written and illustrated Graphic Book is currently being written.
Being inspired by illustration
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Frida Kahlo and Amazing contemporary illustrators (mostly paper art): Edouard Sautai, Taylor Mckimens, Jeremias Böttcher,Matt Furie, Klaus Haapaniemi, Jim Stoten, Seiko Kato,Andy Macgregor, ILka Helmig & Karel Boonzaaijer, Toykyo, Animator/artist: Reuben Sutherland, Sculpture
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an illustrator?
Theatrical lighting, dimention, re-appropriation of objects, playing with mediums in an unusual way to get the mind thinking
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
The Graphic Novel work, its paper cut-out, but it’s also painterly and dark and atmospheric, and it was quite sacrificial to make it, as it was so intensive, and time consuming .
an illustrator’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for illustration into a career, could you give any advice?
1. Have a strong identity, as its very very competitive, its easy to think you should be all things to all people, but my experience has shown me, that it’s best to work on the styles you love the most, as you have to work hard and long to improve each year and to make changes (that are part of many jobs) without it driving you crazy, so you need to love it.
2.Professional attitude, you have to work to deadlines, and it’s good to communicate with your client in a warm manner, as that’s the best way to understand what’s needed. Sometimes the client does not know what they want, until they see what they don’t want (process of elimination) so sometimes you have to be motherly and guide a client, and make it easy for them, you have to remember that art is not easy to communicate about for some people, its hard for people to describe what they want, so like a doctor, you have to be good at working out what is needed, by asking questions, and this should be done from the start. Basically if you make it easy for the client, the job will be easier for you. 3. choose your clients- if someone is good to work with, reduce your rate if nessasary (if they are in a country with lower currency for example) as its well worth it over working with a nightmare client (the ones who are poor at communicating, leave you waiting on feedback, and don’t know what they want, dis-organised) You have to be exceptionally organised and ahead of time and leave a buffer zone to make your journey smooth…after all, its fun to draw if you feel you are on top of things.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
1.Exposure: Do some freebies at the beginning to get exposure and practice. 2.Repeat Work; Treat your clients exceptionally well, as people like working with people they trust, as clients are under a lot of pressure to meet targets , so if they know they can depend on you, they will work with you again. 3. get out there; web, market stall, exhibitions,socialize. I have found that cold- calling rarely works as well as real contacts, people like working with people they have met.