8 December 2020
Chris Wormell documents his process for The Subtle Knife
Bristol based artist Lucy Davey has been with The Artworks for over 14 years! Starting out as one of our amazing ‘Startworks’ artists, Lucy joined straight from university and has since developed a unique style that has seen her work with clients like The Royal Mail, Penguin, The Radio times and Starbucks.
Lucy’s favorite project since joining The Artworks has been her series of Illustrations for the huge supermarket chain Sainsbury’s!
“I was commissioned by BrandMe to create designs for Sainsbury’s own brand yogurt range. They had seen a previous illustration I had done of the blue and white buildings of Santorini and wanted something similar for their Greek yogurt pack. The designs had to work for the various different shapes and sizes of packaging and the mechanics of the printing process meant only limited colours could be used – perfect for me! The final artwork needed to be vector so I used Illustrator to trace my original pen drawings. I think the fromage frais label is my favourite – I like the way the image works around the type. It always makes me smile to see the shelves in my local Sainsbury’s stocked with my illustrations every time I go food shopping! It’s also fun to see the yogurt tubs in the homes/fridges of friends and family.”
We had a chance to interview Lucy to find out more about her life as an artist…
Where is your studio located?
Up a big hill in Bristol. I share with 16 other illustrators, artists and fashion designers.
Can you describe your creative process?
Usually I start by gathering lots of picture reference, and sometimes using Pinterest to create a mood/inspiration board. Then I’ll work on some thumbnail sketches in pencil and once I have a composition I’m happy with, I’ll scan it and enlarge the drawing, using it as a basis for a B&W rough on my iPad in Procreate. Once this is approved by the client, I’ll work it up in Procreate, finishing in Photoshop to tweak colours and add texture.
What does a typical working day look like?
I’ll make the five minute walk to my studio, spend too long checking Twitter, eventually plug into a podcast and get down to some work. Stopping now and then for tea breaks and chats with my lovely studio mates.
Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?
Usually podcasts. At the moment I’m enjoying lots of comedy ones like BudPod, Elis and John and Do You Need A Ride? Occasionally I’ll mix it up with some music – Weye’s blood and Bon Iver were on repeat last year.
How long have you been with the Artworks for?
This Summer it will have been 15 years!!!
What drew you to Artworks?
Steph came to my Uni degree show at the Coningsby gallery. I happened to be invigilating when she popped in, luckily she didn’t seem to notice how hungover I was and invited me to come and have a chat and show my portfolio. I was really nervous but Steph and Lucy were so friendly. I was delighted when they asked me to join on the Startworks programme.
What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?
I loved Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, and I liked the detailed little worlds in the Brambly Hedge books. I also remember being very fascinated by the page in Where The Wild Things Are when his bedroom turns into a forest. I don’t know if they’ve had a direct influence on how my work looks but I’m sure they captured my imagination and inspired me to draw.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead?
I have no idea. I probably would have studied English but not sure where that would have led me!
What was the most important lesson you learned at Art School, if you went!
I don’t think there is one lesson I learned in particular. The most important thing was having the time to experiment with lots of different media and find my style, which didn’t happen until the very end.
What inspires you the most to create?
I get really inspired by watching films and reading books. I’m always drawn to things that have a strong atmosphere and evoke a particular sense of time and place.
Name three artists that you admire
Eric Ravillious, Tove Jansson, Kiyoshi Saito
What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy anything to do with nature, plants and animals usually. Also anything that is a response to a lovely, descriptive text.
What would your dream commission be?
There are certain books I’d love to do the covers for – My Family and Other Animals or Cider With Rosie would be amazing. Or a job that for some reason involved an all expenses paid trip to Japan, for example!
Do you have any pets? If so, what and what are they called?
No, sadly. I’d like a cat, I’d call it Queenie.
What 5 things you could not live without?
Music, Podcasts, yoga, plants…my iPad!
What is your very favourite meal?
I love a veggie thali from The Thali in Bristol. With Poppadoms.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to go and see bands, get out in nature for walks (and swims in the summer) and go to the pub.
What is your current dream travel destination?
So many but I think Japan would be such an interesting place to go and visually inspiring.
See more of Lucy’s Illustrations here!