Clare Owen - sad sack
Tell us a little about yourself? How old are you (if you don’t mind) and where are you currently living?
I am 23 and currently living in Plymouth.
Firstly, What are you working on now?
At the moment my main focus is a Zine about literacy and books, alongside an on going project with a cupcake company and a wedding invite. I had mostly been trying to look at faux editorials and stuff for my portfolio but was losing my soul, so have started this zine to cheer me up for a bit.
How did you get your first full commission/brief? What did it involve?
I haven’t really had one yet, not paid anyway. The first (sort of) commission I had was for an online magazine called ‘Small’ which follows independent children’s designers. It’s very grassroots and lovely. I’ve done a few bits and pieces like that, free, but good for your portfolio. I’m just starting a Wedding Invite for a lady who’s getting married in a barn in the states, she’s awesome and she’s paying me! I think that’s my first real full commission actually! I also just won a competition at Tigerprint, who are a division of Hallmark. They make cards solely for M&S and I’m off to Bradford to do a placement there in May.
Tigerprint card design
Do you have a particular style, or does it vary a lot? Do you think it’s Important for an illustrator to have a specific style or be flexible in how they work?
I think I have different facets to my style and am comfortable in several mediums, but overall you can tell it all comes from me. I think it’s important for Illustrators in the UK to have a strong style, mainly because there are so many of us for Art Directors etc to choose from that it’s better to be original and strong in one style than to emulate a few different ones badly. I think the overall aim is for someone to have a job in mind and know that you’re the perfect illustrator for the job.
How important were your formal art studies?
Up until Uni they were crap My GCSE art teacher was constantly pregnant and my collage tutor was a bully. But University was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself as a person and myself as an ‘Illustrator’. It’s great to be in a creative environment and I was so lucky to be with people that were as passionate as I was. I think we all want it so bad, it’s great to be with people that understand you and want to make beards out of paper all day too.
What advice would you wish you had during 1 and 2nd year?
I worried far too much but I suppose that worry made me try hard. I would say that not to worry about the overall outcome of a project and not to complicate things too much. Make as many lovely images as you can, they still need a context and a point but don’t worry too much.
How about for the people due to finish this year?
Umm take yourself seriously, you are an illustrator and you will get work. I’m realizing that a bit now.
little faux editorial
What’s the hardest thing about being an Illustrator?
For me personally, the hardest thing is self doubt. All it takes is a little peruse through some other illustrators flickr accounts and I want to cry. The Internet is great but technology isn’t always a good thing for me, I’m always comparing. Being by yourself for long periods of time is tough. I’m quite insular and a thinker and I struggle with that. Time and money are rubbish too, you initially have to work to live but then when you have time off you are too tired to do anything. I wish I had more time or bernads watch.
Any weird ‘ritual’ type things you need in place to work?
LOTS OF TEA. A warm room. Radio 6. Cat?
print design sold through etsy
What or who inspires you?
So many things. Craft. Tea. Cats. Colours. Music. Books. Patterns. Flowers. Quotes. My friends. New Wave film. France. Mexico. Lace.
personal work 'Frida'
What keeps you motivated?
Just the thought that one day this will be my full time job and I won’t have to work in the crappy mall any more.
What past or present day illustrators do you admire most?
Carson Ellis is my all time favourite. She’s beautiful.
Jamie Shelman’s cats.
One essential website?
Flickr. It’s a great site and a great tool (unless you’re in self-doubt mode.)
Where do you see yourself within the next few years?
Not in Plymouth I hope. I would lovelovelove to have a studio with my friends, a cat, a kettle and a toaster and just enough money to go on some adventures every now and then.
Is there a web address where we can see some of your work?
Old rubbish website.