2. What first inspired you to get into illustration?
Hahaha, honestly my route into illustration was odd and slightly unexpected. Like most kids/teens I loved cartoons and drawing and art classes, but I wanted to go to be a doctor or marine biologist or study history, initially. I had an art teacher sit me down at school telling me I had an amazing eye for colour and she didn’t want me to drop art into Sixth Form, so I didn’t.
Partway through Sixth Form, I dropped out and went to college to study a 2-year diploma in Art & Design. But instead of drawing I was into Fashion & Photography – again, always enjoyed drawing but I saw it as an addition to the other things I loved.
I then had a college tutor tell me to apply for illustration at degree level instead of fashion communication, and I listened. I’m usually so stubborn, so in hindsight it’s kind of weird that I allowed two separate figures influence these life choices so much. But I must’ve trusted them on some level!
I then got into Falmouth but hated my first year because I was really in over my head, I genuinely had no understanding of what illustration was because I’d only ever loved drawing as an accompaniment to other things, not as the thing. I wanted to drop out, got told to stay until the second year, and it wasn’t until then when a girl in my class showed me a copy of Anorak & Nobrow that I was like “OH, I GET IT NOW!” And from then I just fell in love with it.
3. You have always worked freelance since graduating, was that always your intention?
Because I got into illustration so late, by the time it was third year I genuinely had no idea what I wanted to do. I was pretty ignorant and didn’t really believe how hard it would be to break into the industry as a freelancer, and I suppose an heir of arrogance came along with that ignorance because I reckoned I could just do it – ha.
I worked two jobs near the end of my degree and then continued working full time in a chip shop for a couple of years after. Obviously, when you work 30-40 hour weeks in hospitality, there isn’t much room for freelancing, or putting time into marketing yourself, which I did do but I wasn’t great at replying to emails right away so I missed some good opportunities because of that.
I applied and interviewed for in-house jobs, but was either told I couldn’t do client work outside of the job (which I didn’t like) or that I couldn’t stick to my style, or I had to cover multiple styles (again, didn’t like that). I stayed at the chip shop until I was getting enough enquiries to go part-time hospitality, part-time freelance. I think the intention was to always be full-time freelance, but it has taken 5 years after graduating.