Lizzy Stewart, who lives and works in Edinburgh, and also recently went to art school there, has some great pencil and painting work. They are packed full of intriguing characters and scenes that conceal various stories.
I asked her a few questions on how she got into illustration, what and who inspires her, her tools and work process and what work is taking up her time at the moment.
What made you decide to get into illustration?
‘I started out studying fine art but switched to illustration at the end of my first year after realising that all I really wanted to do was tell stories with my images. All the work that I was looking at and feeling inspired by was illustrative and the work that I was doing for fun (when I wasn’t painting in the studio) was smaller, quieter and drawing based. As soon as I started it seemed as though I’d made a logical decision’.
Which artists to you gain inspiration from?
‘All sorts. Most of my inspiration to draw comes from music and literature but artist/illustrator wise a few of my current favourites are Joe McLaren who does really fun, charming illustrations and is great at filling a small space with wonder. Also Jon Klassen, who’s work is just perfect in every aspect and Micah Lidberg who blows my mind with the intensity of his line and colour, it’s crazygood stuff’.
What do you think is your most treasured tool used for your illustrations?
‘I always use a 0.3 Mechanical pencil to draw with. I can’t function without it. Whenever I go to visit my family in Devon I have to stock up on pencil leads before I go as I can’t find anything that fine at home. I love the versatility of pencil and how simple it is. It’s the first thing you learn to use when drawing and I love that link back to childhood’.
Can you explain your usual work process?
‘Procrastinate. Read blogs. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Finally face facts that I have to get down to some work. Scour my sketchbook for ideas and notes. Listen to more music. Have some toast. Then eventually start work. As soon as I get going it all comes quite easily, just getting there is hard. I tend to draw things in pencil and then either add touches of watercolour or scan them and mess around on Photoshop till something good happens’.
ⓒ Lizzy Stewart, 2009
What are you working on at the moment?
‘I’ve just graduated so I’m getting back into doing work after the hand in/degree show period where not a lot happens creatively. I’ve got a couple of jobs on the go and hopefully some stuff pencilled in for the future. Most of my time recently has been spent sorting out ‘We Are the Friction’ – a book of collaborative short fiction and illustration by 12 international writers and illustrators that I’ve put together alongside my boyfriend Jez under the guise of ‘Sing Statistics‘. It’s been seven months in the making and it launches on the 23rd with an exhibition at Analogue Books in Edinburgh. Its pretty good, if I do say so myself’.
Thanks and good luck, Lizzy!
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