Illustrators: putting art in motion
What are books, mags or blogs without images? And they can’t be just any old pic – no, they have to take you to another head space altogether. In recent years illustration has really crossed into new territory – inspiring while still, well, illustrating – telling a story. Two women whose work I love have quite a different style, but that perhaps is their crowning achievement – they are so distinct. Oh, and I’m desperately running short on space so pop onto my blog Daily Imprint for more…
Burst of inspiration: Kat Macleod Illustrator agency; Kat’s graphic design company
How did you become an illustrator? I was working at graphic design studio as part of a university placement program. My bosses knew I loved to draw, and they offered me a studio-based project to illustrate a collection of drawings, which they would then design and publish into a book. I chose birds and women as my subjects, and experimented with illustration, embroidery and collage. Bird was published in 2002. It’s a 200-page limited-edition, internationally distributed art book. It won several design and illustration awards.
What’s a “day in the life” of Kat Macleod like? I run a graphic design company - with Simone Elder and Chloe Quigley - called Ortolan, the name of a tiny French songbird. We work on lots of lovely projects, including fashion, beauty and publication. Chloe is half of Michi Girl so we do that from here, too. Most days my time is divided between illustration and graphic design work, although lately it’s been 100% illustration.
Where do you look to for inspiration? Our studio is an inspiring place to work, but if I need to go searching I go to the library and photocopy references - good covers, old patterns, kids book illustrations, interesting typography and anything else that catches my eye. There are so many strange and great colour combinations in old books.
Who inspires you? My amazing business partners Chloe and Sim, my friends & family, and an endless list of illustrators - my absolute favourites being: Julie Verheoven, Tina Berning, Rene Gruau, Aubrey Beardsley, Quentin Blake, Arthur Rackham and all the artists at Jacky Winter.
Which projects have you enjoyed working on most? Epic illustration projects such as my book Bird, and also The Cocktail, which was an illustrated cocktail recipe book. It’s great to become completely absorbed in big projects, and be able to spend months drawing and creating a collection of pieces. I also enjoy smaller projects, such as the illustrations I do for each issue of Vogue Entertaining + Travel, and Real Simple. Another favourite client is Third Drawer Down. I’ve done illustrations for an apron, handkerchief, and two new pieces coming out in March - a decal and a set of pillowcases.
Images courtesy of Kat Macleod