Artist Interview: Freya Lowy Clark

Aside from designing and making jewellery, there's nothing we love more than sharing the work of other independent brands, makers and artists. This week, we spoke to London based illustrator Freya Lowy Clark about her creative process and inspirations.

Throughout September, we'll be sending a postcard print by Freya in all our Wolf & Moon packages. We love reusing these postcards for bookmarks, creative collages or even framing and decorating our desks with. Look out for yours in your order!

Read the interview below.

1. Your work is so colourful! What drew you to this style of illustration and how long did it take for you to hone your style?

Thank you! I think my style has just slowly developed over a long period of time. Drawing is something I've always done and has been this alternative language throughout my life. After school I chose to study painting at Goldsmiths and I think that this discipline gave me a foundation in understanding colour and form. Making the transition into working digitally as an illustrator has been really interesting because it forces you to really rethink your processes and I think it was really here where I was able to really refine my work. As far as my characters go, they have always been quite sturdy and broad, I have always loved those types of Henry Moore bodies that aren't afraid to take up space!

2. Who are your biggest inspirations, artistic or otherwise?

There are many but I think I was most imprinted by things when I was really young. My mum collects postcards and for years there was one by Eileen Cooper on our fridge, it was my very first exposure to magic realism and I really fell in love with that genre and mode of creating psychological spaces. I'm not really sure how much it affected what I do now but it definitely still inspires me. I also was always inspired by film and was blown away by all of Sylvian Chomet’s work - It made me realise the power of illustration and animation to highlight and accentuate the small beautiful details in life.

3. How do you approach a client project normally, from start to completion and what mediums do you use?

It depends on the piece but normally I'll look at the brief for a while and make lots of notes. I'll normally take small extracts from the piece and then do tiny doodles in a sketchpad with a pencil (rotring 0.5 always!) to find visual metaphors or ideas that reflect the emotion of the words. I'll then look over everything, normally I'll already have in my head a few concepts just from the process and so I'll move on to creating around 4/5 thumbnails for the client. After they've decided on one then I move into photoshop and refine the composition with just linework. I like to keep this a little loose because until I see the final colours, I can't know for sure that it's right and I might need to still tweak things. Then colour, this is the best part because it feels more intuitive and you see everything really come alive. I like to add textures last and sometimes I'll make these with watercolour or acrylics or use the ones I have already in my library, if they fit.

4. Where is the place you would most like to see your work?

I would love to see my work in a children's book one day.

5. Your work is very figurative. Do you have a process for coming up with new characters?

Yeah, I try to draw as many people when I’m out as possible. I have an inventory of hairstyles and figures in my sketchbook and sometimes I'll flick through to get some inspiration before I start something new.

6. Do you ever get stuck in a creative rut and what do you do to get out of it?

Haha always, I think now it just feels like part and parcel of the process. There is always a resistance to coming up with something new because it's hard and there are always going to be frustrating points. I think I agree with Edison when he said to achieve anything good it's 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. I think there's a dangerous myth that there is some sort of divine inspiration that strikes the artist, although sometimes this might happen, in the main it's just not true!

7. Do you have any advice for someone who would like to become a commercial illustrator?

Work really hard and you'll make it. And never stop learning. At the moment I'm reading a great book called the 'Elements of Colour' by Johannes Itten, it explores colour theory in depth and you get taken on a little art history ride too - I'd definitely recommend it. I think it can be really helpful to go back to basics and understand why you make the choices you make about form and colour and where your work sits in the context of a broader history. Also, there's some great podcasts out now that give you an insight into the industry. ‘Illustration Hour’ is really good, especially for anyone that is really just starting out.

Check out Freya's work over on her website, and follow her on Instagram @freyalowyclark