Meet the Illustrator – Dominique Kirkby

Isn’t this tropical fish illustration wonderful? We asked Dominique about her work and ambitions:

What first got you interested in illustration as a career?
My interest in portraiture and replicating imagery with pencils began in 2009, and from that, grew my love of realism. Although the majority of my courses were academic and drawing remained more of a hobby, it was suggested to me by the head of Graphic Design at my sixth form that I look at illustration as a degree option and the rest is history.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Many of my projects have been influenced by nature; I adore capturing and enhancing the way light plays on different surfaces and colours, and bringing the subject matter to life on the page.

I have been inspired by artists that work in intense detail with fine liners, to those whose bring colour to the page using pan pastels, anyone who can capture the likeness and really make their work shine, I’m a fan of.

Tell us about your process and the tools you use:
I’ve (reluctantly) experimented with other materials throughout my artistic education but I have ultimately stuck to my guns and still work primarily with colour pencils. It is only in the last few years that I’ve begun to incorporate acrylic paint into my work to achieve brighter, sharper details where needed. Most recently I have started to use brush markers as the base for my drawings to allow me to create a more striking depth of colour in my work.

All drawings will then be scanned in at a very high resolution and refined in Photoshop so they are suitable for posting online.

For my repeat pattern work, all drawn elements will be scanned individually and made their own layer so I can play around with the composition until I’m happy.

Describe your illustration style in 3 words.
Lucent, detailed and vibrant.

What would be your dream commission, and who would it be for?
Being able to see my work on tangible products was such a rewarding experience throughout my degree so whether it’s a collection of intricately patterned tins of tea for Whittard, or luxury fabrics at Liberty, to be able to see my work sold on products of any kind would be a dream come true!

What advice would you give to other illustrators and artists?
Getting your foot in the door can be tough but you have nothing to lose in showing as many people your work as possible. Emails, mail-outs, even dropping in to studios if possible are all things that should be top priority in getting you where you want to be. But it is important to remember, whether you’re looking for an in-house position at a studio or an agency to represent you, it’s a two-way street and they need to suit your needs just as much as you suit theirs.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently making contacts wherever I can with regular visits to London and I’m taking on freelance work for the time being. I’ve got quite a few personal projects lined up that I’d love to get stuck into in the coming months to push my portfolio so we’ll see where it goes from there!

Instagram: @dominiquekirkby


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2 thoughts on “Meet the Illustrator – Dominique Kirkby

  1. This is my favorite post card of all. However, I thought everyone was daft who called it a postcard of fish, when it is clearly one of flowers, probably gladioli. It took me three weeks to see the fish. My friends saw it right away. I’m getting a new eye doctor. Seriously.

    1. Oh that’s wonderful! I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes sees things differently to everyone else – thanks Ann!

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