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We discovered some fabulous new artists through our Autumn competition this year, including talented paper artist (and joint competition winner) Laura Clamp. We caught up with our newest Wraptee to find out more about her original style and technique.
1) Which artists have inspired you the most?
I think in terms of the recent work I've started making, Hannah Dale, who is the creator of Wrendale Designs, has been the most influential. I love how she portrays such charming personality and character in her designs, and their simplicity is really effective. Anna Wright is another illustrator who I've recently come across. Similarly to Wrendale Designs, her work is charming to look at, with humorous captions that give images some context.
2) Out of all the work you've produced, which is your favourite piece?
I think my favourite piece so far is Be My Bird, the image of the pigeon proudly showing off his rose. I wanted to present the pigeon as having attitude, sass, and a strong personality because I think there is something really funny about illustrating animals and birds with human traits. I think you find yourself being able to relate to the characters, which makes the designs more personal.
3) How did you first start promoting your artwork? What tips can you give us?
I've only recently started promoting my work as this particular style I'm working on now is relatively new to me! But I think one the first things I did was look for any relevant competitions that involved a voting process, and so ended posting my work on social media to get people to vote which generated really good response from people. It goes without saying that having a website is also essential if you want to attract potential commissions or clients, which is something I am working on at the moment.
4) How often do you produce a piece of artwork?
At the moment, I am studying a Masters called Creative Furtures and have a part time job in the week, so time is really tight with regards to being able to sit down and make the work I want to make. However, when I do allow myself a bit of time out from my masters projects, I can make a piece of work in an afternoon. I do have a sketch book which I'm constantly adding to with new ideas for designs, I just need more hours in the day!
5) What's the most challenging part about being an artist?
I think the most challenging part is probably constantly having to adapt to new trends, getting used to new technology and also the fact that you are competing with thousands of other artists/illustrators who are looking for the same recognition as you. Also, personally, a really challenging aspect of being an artist is having the confidence to shout about your work, and make people aware of who you are and what you do. I'm quite a shy person and I find that really hard. Taking part in the Wraptious competition has helped with that a lot though!
6) What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I absolutely love using my imagination and creating things. It sounds obvious, but I can't imagine doing anything else! I love being able to create something that has the potential to make someone smile, which I always have in mind when I'm coming up with ideas. I love being able to put my thoughts on paper, and producing exactly what I imagined is really satisfying.
7) What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Well I am technically just starting out myself, as my first degree was in Fine Art and not at all related to the work I’m producing now. But I would say that the best thing someone can do is to just keep making work, jot down the smallest ideas, even if it's in the middle of the night. Enter as many competitions you can, and don't get disheartened if you're not successful. Do your research and seek out the competition! See what is popular in your industry, make contacts and visit trade fairs. If I was to have my time again at the very start of my journey as an artist, I would have put more consideration into the choice of my degree. I wish someone had said to me ‘What do you really want to be doing when your older? Is this degree going to help you help you do that? What skills is this degree going to give you?’ If I had thought about it like that, I think I would have done an illustration course where I would have also learned about graphic design, which is a really good transferable skill to take with you after graduating.
8) How do you create a piece of work? What's your process?
For the collaged pieces, I usually have an idea in my head and my sketchbook about what it is I want to make, and the message I want to put across. With regards to designing greeting cards, I always find it helps to have an occasion in mind, and some form of text or play on words to base the imagery on. From there, I gather internet images of birds, often using photoshop to manipulate the shape of them and then I loosely sketch the bird onto a piece of thick paper, which I have splattered with paint for an added subtle background. I then flick through magazines, (the ones with loads of adverts in them) and choose suitable colours and textures for the different parts of the birds. I place the bits of paper on top of each section; for example if I was making a bullfinch, I’d place a piece of red paper on top of it’s chest, and draw the shape I want on the paper. And then the rest is fairly simple, lots of cutting out and glueing! I also tend to end up reading half the magazine as I’m flicking through, which probably isn't the most productive and time efficient process… but it is quite fun.
9) What are you currently working on? And what can we look forward to seeing from you next?
At the moment, I am working on a range of greetings card designs which follows the same illustrative style and themes used in my competition entries, so lots of funny looking birds just generally being cute. One of my ideas involves a birthday card for a friend with a pair of birds fluffing their feathers up ready for a night out on the town. For the greetings cards, I will be adding text to give them a bit more context and to attribute them to a specific occasion.
10) What's your biggest ambition?
My biggest ambition is to be able to have my own studio, with my own business selling my work. I'd love to be able to build a career based on the successfulness of my work and become recognised in the industry of illustration and design. I’d love to have my own shop, to sell my work as well as the work of other artists I'd like to support - much like Wraptious.
11) And finally, what three things could you not live without?
I definitely couldn't live without my mum and her words of wisdom! Music is also a massive part of my life so i never go anywhere without my headphones, especially if I’m travelling on the train or at home making work. The last thing would probably be my toolbox which contains all my materials.
Take a look at the rest of Laura's designs on our website