Working with Vicky Hughes
I wanted to create a scene of empowered, creative women. I thought it would be lovely to capture the feeling of building something, and moving forward together. The scene is full of women collaborating, and making a lot of mess and noise! We also wanted to incorporate the Lattimore + Friends plus sign, which inspired me to draw a group of women ‘adding’ to each other’s lives and creativity.
I work digitally on my iPad, because I hate sitting at a desk all day! I worked on this on a train, on my sofa, at my coworking studio, and in my home office. My process is usually pretty much the same for all my illustrations:
First, I write down all the words I can think of to do with the brief. Some examples I wrote for this International Women’s Day brief are: “inclusive”, “change”, “growth”, “forwards”. I then think of individual visual metaphors and sketch those, in this case, things like ladders, builders hats, laptops, art materials, friends, or walking.
I then sketch a few thumbnails and work out what the overall composition could look like. I knew I wanted a layered, noisy, crowd feel. After getting a sketch approved by the lovely L+F team, I spent a few days adding colour, texture, and adjusting the illustration for different sizes.
Only getting over my self-consciousness and drawing on a train! I had a few long journeys to make on busy trains while working on this. I had to channel my illustrated character’s bold energy and not care if people were peeking over my shoulder!
I love drawing people doing the things they love; characters with joie de vivre, on adventures or being creative.
I often get ideas when I’m doing something else such as a long drive, or watching a gig. The energy and lyrics of punk/hardcore/rock music really inspires me. I’ve also got a library of books at home that I flip through for inspiration such as Pictoplasma, Nobrow, and old kids puzzle books (I love the Usborne ones!). The Dover reference books are also great visual inspiration.
I find it really frustrating that most illustrators are women, but most of the famous ones are men! I also think imposter syndrome is way more common with women, but it affects me less as I get more experienced, thankfully. I’m also getting married soon and planning to have children, and I’m not sure how I will be able to juggle that with a freelance career. That’s why I really appreciate things like International Women’s Day - it gets these conversations started and I can learn from other women who’ve been there before.