Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the amazing artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.
This month I am tickled pink to be chatting it up with the lovely Artist, Illustrator, Designer, Zoe Ingram! I recently had the pleasure of being Zoe’s classmate in Lilla’s Rogers inaugural Make Art That Sells class and fell in love with her amazing sense of color. Zoe studied at The Scottish College of Textiles and has worked primarily as a graphic designer for print & web over the past 14 years. Originally from Scotland, Zoe now lives and works as a freelancer in Adelaide, Australia. Zoe has created artwork for Madison Park Greetings and Jellystone Designs. She also sells her prints on Etsy and Society6. You can visit more of her fabulous work here!
|Isn't Zoe's farmer market tote design totally Fall fabulous?!|
Q: You have advanced to the second round of Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition. Tell us all about your experience competing and creating artwork based on Lilla’s professional briefs.
A: I almost didn't take part in the competition or Lilla's course; can you believe it? I'm not a fan of competitions usually, but I just couldn't pass this one by, so I signed up pretty close to the deadline for entries. To be totally honest, I didn't think I'd get as far as I have. I'm still pinching myself. There are some other amazing, established artists alongside me, so I feel very humbled. Personally, I have loved working to Lilla's briefs. Each one has challenged and pushed me in ways that I never expected, so I think I have grown tremendously as a result. I learned so much during the class and tried to take that with me in everything that I do now. I have tried to keep an open mind during the class and the GTS so that I don't sit within my comfort zone and confine myself to just doing what I know. One thing that I am loving, at the moment, as a result of the course is developing characters and hand lettering, something I haven't done much of at all in the past.
|These colors are LUSHIOUS!|
Q: You have a fantastic sense of color—bright, bold and happy! Tell us about your color inspirations and how you develop your palettes.
A: Thank you! I just love color. (Although, you might not know it from my wardrobe! My husband always jokes when I buy something new, "Let me guess... black? No grey!") I studied color theory at college while doing my degree in printed textile design, so it was drummed into me then. But, I think that a lot of it comes from intuition or a feeling. I don't necessarily find a color palette and decide to use it and stick to it no matter what. I try to start with something in mind, but if it's not working I will change things a bit, so that it looks good. I like to pick colors that are pleasing to the eye, but I also like to throw a bit of a curve ball in there, too, and add something unexpected.
Q: When starting a new piece of artwork, how do you begin? Tell us a little bit about your artistic process from conception to completion.
A: Well, in the past I worked in a very random way, mostly going straight to the computer, which kind of freaks me out now to think about it. But I have learned I love to draw. So now, I just draw and draw and draw. I do a bit of research first before I even begin; for example, maybe looking at leaves or flowers, then picking ones that look interesting in shape, markings or texture and just drawing them over and over again. Sometimes I also just draw what I think a leaf or flower might look like. I use fine liner pens, chunkier pens for filling in solid shapes as well as ink for free lines and brush marks. Once I'm happy that I have enough drawings in my sketchbook for a particular project, I scan everything into my computer. Even if it's not that great a drawing it still gets scanned, because sometimes the not-so-great drawings end up looking great once they are manipulated. I use Illustrator with all of my line work (live trace) and then I start playing around with layouts and ideas. Sometimes I will transition to Photoshop if I need specific textures.
I love to create mockups, too, of my work to see it on a product, a suggestion as to how it could be used. I think my graphic design background has helped me a lot in my current work, and although, I was never formally trained as a graphic designer, I picked up a lot of tricks over the past 14 years.
|Zoe's pretty, pretty pattern designs.|
Q: Being both a mama and a freelance artist/illustrator/designer, what would you say are the challenges and the rewards of doing both? And in what ways do you maintain a balance between your home life/work life?
A: Oh my, yes, it's very challenging sometimes juggling everything. I actually didn't choose the freelance lifestyle, though; it chose me. And I'm so glad it did! You see, I was made redundant from my full-time web design job back in 2011, and I didn't relish the thought of having to go through the interviewing process and finding childcare again, so I decided to make a go of it on my own. This was by far one of the scariest things I have ever done, but I felt it had to be done.
I was very fortunate to pick up work with a new, local web company, but this time I was a freelancer. It's getting easier as my children get a little bit older. It is hard when you work at home with young kids. I know in my case I was (and still am!) the one who is the primary child caregiver and the primarily household cleaner & organizer. However, deciding to become a freelancer has allowed me to do all of this and still work, which is the best thing. I can't even begin to imagine going back to working FOR someone else now. I love my freelance lifestyle too much.
Also, moving to a new country on the other side of the world has been challenging. For me, the biggest challenge is having to rent since we arrived in Australia. We are close to buying our own house now, though, and I'm excited to look for my own little studio space. But, for the time being, I still work at a desk, in my house. I long for a dedicated studio space, somewhere I can go and just be, somewhere I can come away from and close the door at the end of the day.
|Isn't Zoe's typography here very super star?!|
Q: Tell us about a recent favorite client project (i.e. how it began, what you love about it, where we can buy it!).
A: Aha! I have just finished working on a project with a company in Australia called Jellystone Designs. They contacted me via my website back in May this year. They primarily make resin jewelry for new mums, which doubles as a teething toy for the baby. They have just expanded their range and started up a new arm to their business called Jellybones, which is still aimed at parents, but also has a range for kids. I created a number of patterns and some illustrations for their new range, but I can't share it yet because it hasn't yet been launched. It was a brilliant and fun project to work on, and the girls at Jellystone are lovely to work with. I promise I will let you know as soon as it's out there!
Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.
A: My most perfect Sunday would have to begin with me going for a run along the beach, nice and early to see the sun come up. Then, I'd come home, have breakfast and coffee with my family, and then pack up the car for a day at the beach. We'd stay right through until sunset. The sunsets here are amazing. I'd take my sketchbook with me, of course, read a book, take some photos, play with the kids, go for a swim, have fun. We're so lucky to live in a part of the world that allows us to do all of that and not just dream about it.
|Zoe's GTS first round assignment. Vintage sweetness!|
Q: As you await the announcement of the GTS winner (which will happen this Thursday, October 3rd!), what are your hopes and dreams, win or lose, for your future illustration career?
A: I'm very nervous and excited waiting for the announcement of the winner of GTS 2013, and as far as hopes and dreams go, I just want to keep creating good art, whether I win representation or not. I hope to be at Surtex next year either way. I'm just so happy that this whole experience has led me to what I REALLY want to be doing with my career, so in that sense, I'm a winner already. I have always loved the idea of seeing my work in stores on lots of different products and it's going to be so much fun realizing those dreams.
Thank you, Zoe, for chatting with us here on Bird Meets Worm! Your artwork is absolutely fabulous and we will certainly be cheering you and the other GTS finalists on this Thursday! Hooray!