Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist? Have you always been creative?
I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and later moved to Oldham when I was about eighteen months old. I’ve always loved to draw and at school I was in my element when illustrating text for class projects and even when drawing diagrams for science. My science drawings were very detailed and usually filled the whole page. I used to win school art competitions too, whilst at junior level.
How did you develop your skills? Did you study art in school or are you self-taught?
After leaving secondary school, I didn’t get the grades that I’d hoped for so I worked in different shops, doing hairdressing and later retail. I really hated these and realised that all I wanted to do was draw.
The following September, I went to art college and absolutely loved it! In my first year back in education I achieved a distinction. But because I didn’t have many high qualifications, I completed different art courses and eventually went to study at university. I got a 2:1. My most recent qualifications are PGCE in Art Education and a Masters degree in Textiles.
I’ve always tried to push myself to become a better artist. I like the support from the tutors and peer class members, so yes, most of my ‘art’ learning has been at art school. With college projects, I could reflect better on my strengths and weaknesses, and work on from these within a college environment.
I do however, admire people who are self-taught. They must be so dedicated, especially with not getting peer and tutor support from within a college/university.
Have your family and friends always been supportive in your artistic path, or has it been challenging for them to understand your choice?
I come from a very creative family. My grandfather loved woodwork and would make wooden toys. My grandmother loved sewing and knitting. Every Thursday my grandmother would teach me different sewing and stitching skills, as well as knitting techniques. My mother loves fashion and interior design and my father was great at DIY. So you could say, we’re all creative and practical!
My parents fully supported my artistic path. I think my mum had secretly hoped that I’d studied at a university in London. She was proud that I was good at art. I actually went to The University of Huddersfield to study Surface Pattern. This is where I found my love for pattern and illustration.
Regarding jobs, my parents just wanted me to be happy and I think it was more challenging for my grandparents to get their heads round, that you can actually make a successful career from art and design.
What was your strongest influence you had growing up (artists, cartoons, films, comics, etc.)?
I loved going to the library with my brother and sisters, along with my father on a Saturday afternoon. I would skim through fiction books, yet also had a pile of picture books by my side which I would enjoy looking at afterwards. Brian Wildsmith, Eric Carle and Geralde Scarfe were illustrators whom I most admired when I was younger. I also loved fashion and would fill in a sketch book full of fashion illustrations every few days. Some of my designs were a bit wacky, or should I say very creative!
Do you have a routine when sitting down ready to get creative?
I definitely have a routine. After I’ve read the brief, I begin with doing lots of research, which I mainly find on Pinterest and google. I love Pinterest. It’s a very useful source!
Then I scribble down a few ideas. The ones I like the best are then worked on. I tend to work traditionally at this stage. Then I scan in the ones I want to use and combine these/polish the final design in PhotoShop.
I love experimenting with each piece I produce, so my final outcomes tend to look different from one another. I’m still finding a style, so at this moment in time, I consider myself to still be ‘versatile’.
What part of the creative process is the easiest, what part is the hardest and what part is the most fun?
The easiest part of the creative process is reaching and drawing. The hardest is collating everything together because it’s a bit of a balancing act, making sure that the final composition is easy on the eye and I’m a bit of a perfectionist too. The most fun, is when I’m experimenting. I try to keep an open mind and see how things develop/where things take me.
Have you worked on any exciting projects in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I loved working on my kitsch ocean pouch design because all of the elements within the design were all about me! I love kitsch and all the quirky toys and characters. I’m a big kid at heart and love anything that reminds me of my childhood.
At the moment, I’m working in a design studio, covering maternity leave and I’m loving it!! I’ve been creating stationery for children and wedding, which will be in the stores by spring 2017.
Do you have a long-term career goal and what would your dream project be?
As mentioned in the previous question, I’m currently working in a design studio, covering for maternity leave. I’d love to carry on working in a studio and I’d like to freelance too – I’m not too greedy, I just want the best of both worlds! Ha ha..
I love creating patterns and illustrations and my dream job would be to produce different designs that can be applied to a variety of products.
Would you prefer to work for a company or work as a freelancer? And why?
I’ve answered part of this question in the previous question. The reason for working in a design studio is that you get to be involved in the whole design process, from research, initial drawings to final production. You also feel part of a team, especially if you’re working closely with your design manager and other designers within the studio.
I’d like to do freelance as well, because I like to work on my own too. I like being my own boss as well as, the freedom to create whatever you like when you’re freelancing.
What advice would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? What do you do to keep yourself creative and boost your imagination?
When dealing with art-block, I’d recommend going for a walk, grab a coffee in a coffee shop and read a book or newspaper. Just take yourself away from your work and come back to it when you feel ready to start being creative again. I tend to go on Pinterest and look for inspiration or browse through design magazines. Then when you return back to your work, put on some cool music and draw whatever inspires you. Have an open mind and try not to think about the finished piece.
Sometimes thinking about what you’d like to produce can put strain on your creativity. Just produce what comes from within. The end result may be different to what you expected and I find that working this way, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with!
Do you have a favourite subject to draw? If so, what makes it so special?
I love drawing flowers, people, animals and everyday objects. The more challenging, the better! I tend to first draw my subjects realistically, then stylise them. I like to get the proportions right, then develop from these.
Who are the artists that inspire you the most today? And why?
I love all types of designers and there’s so many to mention, so I’ll just name a few. These are; Beatrice Alemagra, Mozneko, Alice Pattullo, Amy Blackwell, Mirdinara, Aitch, Monika Forsberg and Laura Callaghan. I mainly just love their use of colour, drawing techniques and styles.
Do you have something that you've designed that you are most proud of?
Out of my most recent work, I’m proud of my abstract paintings. I produced these in October 2015, whilst on the MATS A course (ran by Lilla Rogers). They’re so different compared to other work that I have in my portfolio. I would say that I was the most experimental and open minded when painting these. I put a lot of work and detailing into them.
They have all my favourite design elements i.e. line, shapes, opaque, transparency, texture, contrasts and complimentary colours, pattern and composition. I was totally surprised in how they turned out and they were much better than I expected. I must say that I wasn’t initially happy with what I started with, but ended working into them until I couldn’t do anymore. Now when I look at them, I like what I see.
If you had to give 1 piece of advice to someone just getting started in the creative field, what would it be?
I may have to give two pieces of advice for this question. I’d suggest drawing every day. You’ll become better at what you do. Secondly, just be yourself and create work that inspires you. Other people will see your passion when seeing what YOU ‘love’.
Finally, where can we find you and your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can find my recent work on and contact me through the following sites:
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