Friday, 4 March 2011

Interview with Lizzy Stewart

Lizzy Stewart

Lizzy Stewart is a lovely illustrator from Edinburgh who I also had the opportunity to interview about her work and professional practice. It's been quite interesting to compare illustrators, so here is yet another interview I felt I could share!

What are the key influences and inspirations behind your work?

I love story-telling and I guess thats what really drives me. I like that you can build entire worlds in a single image and tell impossible stories with just a pencil. I'm influenced by all sorts of things and it changes constantly. At the moment I'm really getting stuck into renaissance art, british history and the films of James Stewart (those have less sway on my work though!). I'm constantly inspired by music and literature and try to embed both in my work. I also enjoy all things eastern european and am a secret fan on pre-raphealite painting (although I know its sickly and naff). I try to avoid spending too much time looking at the work of other illustrators. Its important to find your own visual language without getting caught up in other peoples.

What types of skills do you think as an Illustrator do you need to showcase your work effectively?

Now i think its vital to be proficient with technology! You need to be able to show your work off to its best advantage so on a basic level its important to know how to scan and clean up your work so that it looks good on screen. Using the internet for self promotion is incredibly useful so to have a grasp of things like blogging and twitter is advisable.

What makes yourself different from others in your field?

I'm not sure that I'm that different really! I just draw what comes to me and hope for the best. I think that's what most people do! I don't feel like I'm blazing a trail or setting trends or anything. I want to be a good illustrator and artist and thats all I focus on.

Who are your audience, customers or clients that you are seeking to reach? Are you local or global?

I am mostly local with flashes of global. I've worked for a handful of UK publishers and magazines and a few in the US. I sell my prints all over the world so I guess the self-directed portion of my work is a global business! My audience is me! I try and make work that makes me happy rather than try and please other people. The minute you start second guessing what people want to see it all goes wrong!
I enjoy working for publishers and drawing for texts and those are the clients I seek out with self promotion. Hopefully I'll get more of that kind of work in the future.

Where would you show your work? Real or virtual space? Public or private venue? Is there one type of outlet or a variety?
I guess most people come across my work online; on my website or blog but the place I most enjoy showing my work is in exhibitions. I like when people are able to get in close to my drawings and see how they're made. Seeing work in the flesh is the most inspiring and involving thing so in an ideal world i'd like people to see my work for real rather than on a website.

How do you earn your income? Do you offer a product, service or mixture of both?

Illustration is my only income. A mix of commissioned work and selling prints and cards online and in small gallery shops. So I suppose I offer both a product and a service. I think thats the best way to go. When I'm only working on commissions I feel a bit helpless, like I don't have a say in what i'm drawing. For me its important to juggle an equal amount of drawing for myself and drawing for clients!

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