22 May 2020

Meet the Artists – Lucy Rose

Posted in: Artists, Children's books, Design, Editorial, Food, Illustration, Meet the artist, Nature

Lucy Rose’s illustrations have a vintage, timeless appeal. Which is not to say that her images aren’t contemporary, but there is something in the softness of her line, the distressed textures and the muted colours that offers a nostalgic warmth.

After being quickly picked up by The Artworks upon graduation, Lucy has worked for clients like the Telegraph, Macmillan Kids UK and Lonely Planet, creating an impressively varied body of work.

Lucy’s interest in creating repeat patterns for textiles finds itself referenced in her images for children’s books, with characters and shapes carefully flowing around one another. Her strong character design carries over into her work for editorial clients, combined with the kinds of soft colour palettes and concise compositions that you would also find in her repeat patterns; Lucy’s work is a constant conversation with itself that we are able to see.

We spoke to Lucy about Devon, Startworks and her favourite kind of commissions…

Where do you live?

I recently bought a house in a small village right by the sea in Devon. My studio is currently in my home but it is still a work in progress. 

Can you describe your creative process?

I always start my projects by drawing out ideas with pencil in my sketchbook, once I have a few good elements I sketch more detailed roughs to send to the client either in pencil or pen. Once I have approval for the rough I can move on to creating the final illustration. This is done digitally. I normally draw everything out on my new iPad (a complete game-changer) and then move to Photoshop on my MacBook to finish the illustration with lots of texture and final colours. 

What does a typical working day look like?

I am not very good in the mornings, creatively I don’t work well. I start my day by planning my schedule, sending emails, and have a refreshed look at work done the day before sending off for any deadlines. I then do my exercise; go for a run or a long walk with my dog who by this point is desperate to get outside. By midday I am ready to get creative and I often work well into the evening and occasionally night if a deadline is approaching.

Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?

I love to listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I’m working, especially comedy podcasts. I also listen to a lot of music, it really varies depending on what mood I am in but this morning I’ve been listening to Van Morrison and Jamie T. 

How long have you been with the Artworks for?

I started at the Artworks in 2015 straight after I finished Uni. Alex contacted me after seeing my work at the New Designers graduate show. I went into their office for a chat and to show my portfolio and was thrilled to be offered a place on the Startworks programme. I especially wanted to be represented by The Artworks because they were so welcoming and supportive and I loved the variety of talented artists they represented. 

What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?

I used to really enjoy reading Roald Dahl books illustrated by Quentin Blake as well as old Beatrix Potter books and I absolutely loved anything pop-up or interactive within a book. I don’t think they directly influenced my work but they definitely gave me a passion for book illustration and helped feed my imagination. 

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead? 

I love animals, so probably something that involved helping them. I also have a huge interest in interiors and textiles, so maybe an interior designer. My parents are both artists and antique dealers so have always had an interest in art and the world of interiors. 

What was the most important lesson you learned at Art School, if you went?  

I think to be open minded and to stay focused. 

What inspires you the most to create?

Nature and animals inspire me, living in such a beautiful area I am surrounded by endless greenery and wildlife! I also get a lot of inspiration from other artists, I look after a gallery one day a week and being surrounded by other gifted artists definitely gives me inspiration.  

Name three artists that you admire.

William Morris, Grayson Perry, Paul Blow

What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all my projects! It’s great when you can have a variation of briefs; sometimes I love working on a quick, conceptual editorial where I am given more freedom, but then it’s also brilliant to have a long book project that you can really get stuck into.

What would your dream commission be?

I have already had so many commissions that have been my dream! I think the next project I would love to do would be packaging for a food/drink product. Also designing an illustration that could be printed onto textiles for a big clothing/furnishing brand. 

Do you have any pets? If so, what and what are they called?

Yes, I have a Staffy named Tyson, he is brilliant, amazing company and a little bit crazy. 

What 5 things could you not live without? 

My dog, friends, family, gin and the beach

What is your very favourite meal? 

During the lockdown I have perfected a spicy, veg-coconut curry so it would have to be that. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Having a studio at home means when I am not working I’m super eager to get out of the house so I do a lot of socialising with friends and family. I also really enjoy creating repeat patterns so when I have time I get stuck into a design which then is printed onto velvet fabric and I make cushions and bags out of it. 

I also play the piano, run, and since the lockdown I have discovered I quite enjoy gardening. 

What is your current dream travel destination?

I would love to visit New Zealand, but at the moment anywhere would do!