Emma Cowley

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Making's illustrators

Who are you and what do you do for Making magazine?

I am an illustrator - I draw and paint!  It's my job to illustrate the step-by-step pictures for the projects in Making so that they look good, as well as being easy to understand and follow for the readers at home.


So how did you become an illustrator?

I've always loved to draw pictures, especially that tell a story. When we had Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit read to us in infant school I remember thinking: 'I want to do her job!' I wasn't much interested in making artwork to hang in galleries - why not have beautiful objects in your home, and be surrounded by art everyday? It was tricky, because no one I knew seemed to know how to become that kind of artist. Years later, I was doing my Art Foundation course at Loughborough University when I discovered that it was possible to do a degree in illustration. I applied, got into a course at the University of Westminster and haven't looked back since.


What's the best thing about your job?

The best thing has to be when you look back at the pictures you've created and feel that warm glow of pride!  There is also a lot of appeal to being your own boss: the hours are flexible, I get to work in my own home and can decide what I feel like doing each day. Of course, there are downsides too - many would find working on their own for such long periods of time completely intolerable. Fortunately, I usually find the idea of being shut away, quietly drawing and listening to the radio a very appealing prospect.


When I'm not working I'm…

The run-up to a deadline can be hectic, so often the immediate aftermath is spent dealing with the chaos that builds up while I've had my nose to the desk. Mess dealt with, I can then spend time on other things: cooking, visiting museums and galleries, shopping, reading, having pub lunches, and spending time with friends and family are things I like to do when relaxing. Fresh air is pretty crucial for my well being, so I usually arrange my day around an excursion - even if it's just a walk to the shops or a trot round the park. As an illustrator I'm always 'on the job', observing little details to enrich the pictures conjured in my imagination. After a while, this becomes such a habit you don't even realise you're doing it!


If you could only ever own one pair of shoes what would they be and why?

I'm not much of a shoe-person, though I do own a pair of black brogues from Bertie's that I am particularly fond of (despite their being very well-worn and battered after much use!)  They go with just about any outfit, are comfortable and pleasing on the eye.


Tea and cake or pie and a pint?

Being a Leicester lass I do have a weakness for Melton Mowbray pork pies! But most of the time, tea and cake would be my preference. Nothing beats a really good slice of home-made carrot cake.

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