The blog of Hannah Robinson, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

Monday, 28 November 2011

28th November 2011

Lucy Farfort Interview

Whew, life has been chaotic lately and I've barely had time to even look at this blog. But I'm please this week to bring you an interview with illustrator Lucy Farfort, an Etsy-er and Folksy-er who creates truly beautiful illustrations for us lucky people. Her work is fresh, funky and truly different, combining delicate nature-inspired objects with slick digital imagery. Coasters, brooches, cards and calendars are all available from her shop, so please do look and treat yourself to an affordable visual delight. But not before delving into the creative mind of Lucy herself...

The nosy bit - tell us a bit about yourself: 
Hi my name is Lucy Farfort aka Lucy’s Happy Place. I’m a freelance illustrator based in Newcastle Upon Tyne,
I produce everything from logos and web graphics to editorial illustrations poster design. What I most love doing is creating illustrations for children and big kids, like myself. Aside from the freelancing I also sell a range of my prints and cards from shops across the North East and online. I’m also a big fan of crafting/making and I occasionally produce handmade textile items embellished with my designs.
I work part time to fund my illustration and crafting habit but one day i hope to be able to go full time with it.

Your style involves hand-drawn elements with digital colouring and texturing. How did you arrive at this way of working?

Hm good question. I was always a bit of a technophobe and for ages refused to use graphics packages like Photoshop or Illustrator etc in my work. I would only use traditional methods such as painting and print making, to the extent that when I produced a children’s book at uni I created all the text using letterpress. When I left Uni it was a time when graphics packages were really at the forefront of illustration techniques and to compete I had to teach myself to use them. I still really wanted to keep the main part of my working methods traditionaI, mainly because I loved drawing. At that time most people were using a tablet with software to draw digitally. However I continued to draw by hand then as a kind of compromise I would scan the image into the computer and colour the piece digitally. After becoming more confident with the packages I began to love using Photoshop and arrived at a very bold and colourful style. Then I started making 3D stuff using my illustrations decoratively, in particular textile products. I noticed how well the fabrics and different textures in the fabrics really complemented my work and I just started experimenting. So here I am today.

A cliched question but the answers always vary: What inspires you?
The first thing that inspired me to get into this field was Japanese animation, which was introduced to me by my cousin. I remember watching it and being awestruck by it and was hooked. I got very into comics and became intent on being a manga artist.

Now its difficult to say what inspires me. We’re all surrounded by imagery all the time especially with the internet being so accessible the visual onslaught is constant.
Nature is an ongoing inspiration especially trees, which I think i’m a bit obsessed with drawing. Other people’s work can be inspiring but I try not to look at other’s work too much as for me it can also be quite destructive. I start to think I’m not good enough and I should just give it up.
The biggest drive for me is simply an addiction to drawing and creating. My mind keeps churning out ideas and its difficult to keep up with most of them.

Animals and nature feature a lot in your work. Have you always been interested in the natural world?
Yes I’ve always loved nature especially woodland. It conjures up such wonderful imagery, so magical. Maybe it comes out so much in my work as I’ve lived in cities for ages now, but my childhood was spent in a pretty rural area and now my subconscious yearns for the woods, glen and fields i used to be surrounded by. Actually I’ve never thought about that before but it does make sense. I lived in a rural part of the South East until the age of 9 and woodland was a big part of my world, but since then I've spent my life in towns and big cities.

What are the challenges involved in being an illustrator?
Most definitely without a shadow of a doubt promoting my work. I’m terrible at this. I hate shmozing and networking and I find it very hard to big my own work up and tell people about it. I have got better, but its not something that comes naturally. That and time. I never seem to have enough time to do all the thing associated with running your own business, one part of it always suffers -  normally the admin and promotion stuff. Basically I need a manager...

And lastly - Giant Robot or Sparkly Unicorn?
Giant Robot definitely. Thats the influence of all the anime and manga I used to consume.

Thanks Lucy! Please do visit her shop, her website and blog for unique, quirky and beautiful art, and thanks for giving us an insight into your creative process.  Comments welcome!

Copyright for all artwork featured belongs to Lucy Farfort.

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