Monday, August 08, 2011

Interview: Emma Leonard

Emma Leonard is a 27-year-old illustrator who comes from Yarraville in Melbourne, Australia. As Leonard herself says, she 'usually draws girls. Especially ones with melancholy expressions and sad eyes'. Art lovers should definitely follow Leonard's blog, as she often posts progress shots of her own work, in addition to completed pieces and inspiring works from other artists. If you like what you see below, head over to her Etsy store and check out the range of high quality prints she has available.

How long have you been creating artworks?
I have always drawn, for as long as I can remember!

How long have you been working in your current style?
My style is constantly evolving, but I began working in watercolours and gouache about 2 years ago.

Do you have experience working with other mediums?
I also do a little digital illustration and I am learning to paint in oils and acrylics at the moment (without too much success!)

Is your family artistic?
Creative, but not so much artistic, except for my nanna, who is a very good painter.

What artistic training do you have?
I am currently studying illustration at NMIT, and I firmly believe that my work has improved by leaps and bounds over this time. Other informed opinions can often push you into directions you might otherwise not have considered.

What was the first piece of artwork you sold?
A print of an ink and watercolour illustration I did of a little girl with octopus legs.

What experience do you have exhibiting, and do you have any advice for other young artists?
I have participated in a few group shows, most of them focusing on female illustrators, but I am yet to have my first solo show. I think, when you are starting out, it is important to look at exhibiting more from an exposure angle than making a huge profit. It really takes time to build the profile you need to sell a lot of original work.

How has the internet aided your career so far?
It has been invaluable. It makes it so easy to just put your work out there, and a lot less scary to approach people you admire or might like to work for because the worst thing that can happen is that they don’t reply.

Where do you record your ideas for new pieces?
In sketch books. I go through one about every 6 weeks and I fill them with copious notes and scribbles.

How many hours in an average week would you spend working on your artwork?
It’s hard to say, but including school and looking for research & reference it would probably be more than 50 hours a week. It’s a really difficult thing to switch off, sometimes I can’t sleep because I am making the work in my head over and over again.

Is illustrating a full time job for you? Do you have any other hobbies?
Fortunately, it has gotten to the point where the bulk of my income comes from illustration but, until recently, I also had a part time job in retail. In my spare time, I love watching movies and reading, I also really like to knit, and sew and make things with my hands.

Who are your female figures based on?
I combine several different sources of reference, including life drawing models, friends and photographs.

Who are your favourite artists and inspirations?
Tina Berning, Miss Van, & Abbie McCulloch. The museum, Twin Peaks, The Virgin Suicides, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Art galleries & exhibitions.

Do you have a favourite colour to work with?
Soft, natural colours, and navy blues, lilacs, and mulberry.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?
Well, I just saw the first book cover I have illustrated in a bookstore, and that was pretty exciting!

What are your goals for the next five years?
I would really like to have my first solo exhibition, collaborate with some fashion designers on fabric prints, look books and in-store installations, and maybe even illustrate a children’s book.


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Wow these are amazing. I definitely saved a few to my Inspiration board on pintrest.

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