Today we're very excited to be catching up with one of our newest PP artists, Louise Wright! From her journey into illustration, to her love of long walks and her favourite illustrators, let's get to know a little more about Louise...
Where do you live/work?
I live in a cute little Market town called Leek in Staffordshire which I love, we have the countryside a 10 minute drive away and a small town center super close by with plenty of places for tea and cake - so the best of both worlds. I work from my studio at home with my 2 dogs for company.
What do you like about working there?
Having my own space is really important to me and it’s so easy when you work from home. I love how easy it is to get to work and start. In the morning after we’ve walked the dogs, I can make a cup of tea and come up to the studio and start work quietly, usually with Radio 6 on in the background. All my own artwork choices are up on the wall and I have a big blue bookcase filled with art books and picture books. It’s a space for me to me in and that allows me to settle into my work easily.
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I get to make art every day, and that is my job! Honestly it’s been my dream job for so long and I love that I’m able to do it full time. I also really love when products/books get made with my artwork on, it’s still a little surreal to see to be honest but it makes me feel really proud.
How do you work – what are your techniques?
I always start off on loose sheets of cheap printer paper. I have sketchbooks of course and sometimes I’ll use those, but mostly to help free myself up I grab a stack of paper out of the printer and begin there. After I’ve created an idea I’m happy with, I’ll usually scan it into the PC and use my Cintiq to paint it in Photoshop. I really love trying to create texture and so I use some homemade brushes and lots of brushes by Kyle T Webster to help me get the feel right. I also use some scanned in textures and patterns sometimes too.
What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I love love love drawing nature! Animals, plants, foliage and a bit of woodland are my top favourites but I also really enjoy the process of drawing things I haven’t drawn before. It makes you look at things in a new way and I really thrive from this.
What or who are you most inspired by?
Being outdoors really inspires me, I find if I’m struggling with a project or getting ideas together, then a good walk in the countryside tends to help give me the space to breathe and think things over from a distance. I’m loving seeing all the birds out there at the moment.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
I have so many! To name a few…Isabelle Arsenault, Oliver Jeffers, Phillia Rice, Emma Yarlett…I could go on and on!
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
As you know, I really like getting out on some walks with the dogs. I love reading and I’ve recently taken up weaving as a hobby too which is so much fun, both of the latter can be accompanied easily by tea and cake too ;)
I went to Birmingham University to study animation, and I realized it wasn’t quite right for me and so I switched onto the illustration course there which was brilliant and I loved it. Sadly coming out of university was a bit of a shock, as I really wasn’t prepared for the ‘real world’ and after rejections left right and center, I switched up my focus a little to be able to keep myself working.
I started my own greetings card company!
This kept me creating and gave me the positive feedback I needed to carry on. My cards were stocked in shops around the country, including Paperchase. From there I have gone back into my illustration work and built my client portfolio up. A little bit of a roundabout way but I have learnt a lot from doing it this way!
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1) Draw every day. Doesn’t matter what really just try and keep the practice up.
2) You will never feel ‘ready’ just show your work at the stage it as at and keep showing it.
3) Be kind. To others and especially yourself. Us artists tend to beat ourselves up a lot, be proud of what you’ve created.
Oh and also -- YOGA -- wherever/whenever you can, even if it’s just some stretches. My back and my wrists always thank me for it.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
The Bramley Hedge books.
Goosebumps (I had so many of these, including a collections edition with glowing red eyes!!) Beatrix Potter – I had a huge book filled with all of her stories. Well, I still have it.
Roald Dahl always.
What was the last book you read? What did you think?
The last adult book I read was ‘Grief is the thing with feathers’ which was so beautiful and unusual. A look at grief and bereavement and almost poetry in it’s form. The last childrens book I read was a picture book called ‘The Journey’ by Fancesca Sanna, which was a beautifully illustrated look at a refugee family trying to find a new home. I think a must own for anyone with children and without.What are your aspirations for the rest of 2017?
I’m hoping to be able to keep pushing myself and my work with client projects, fit in some camping and fun personal work too. I’m anticipating a busy end to the year so I just have to make sure I keep my work/life balance well too.
What’s your ultimate dream?
I’d really like to write and illustrate my own picture book, and maybe some fiction too!