Ever since we launched Spotlight Stationery at the end of 2015, we’ve worked with lots of very talented young illustrators, featuring their work on our postcards. We know, because they tell us, that our subscribers love this feature of their subscription, so we decided it was time to get to know the illustrators a little better.
First up is Lorna Davey, who studied at Plymouth College of Art:
What first got you interested in illustration as a career?
I know it’s cliché, but I have always been arty: every Christmas would include a new fold-out folder of pens, pencils and cheap paints, our cupboards were always over filling with paper and colouring books and my shelves were crammed with those old ‘artists’ books like ‘how to draw plants’ or ‘the history of art’. My nan even created a whole cupboard for my drawing habits at her own house! Weirdly, however, none of my family have ever been arty, except my uncle. My mum can barely draw a stick man, and I won’t even start on my dad’s creative skills. My younger sister used to sit up the table with me and copy what I as drawing- usually getting angry and giving up as it ‘wasn’t as good’ as mine.
Growing up in Ipswich over the naughties, the artists vibe wasn’t really a prominent presence. In 2007, I moved on from primary school to secondary school at Stoke High school, where my first educational spark of art was set off in my young brain. In 2008, myself and my family moved to Plymouth. I remember, the months before we moved when we were visiting and house hunting, we passed ‘Plymouth College of Art’, and I vowed that when I was old enough, I would go there, no matter what I studied, and when 2011 came around, my dreams came true!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
As a teenager, my inspiration typically came from the likes of Tim Burton. My inspiration back in 2011 changed to Natalie Ferstendik and Henri Mattise. But I always aspired to be a child’s book illustrator, and worked so hard to push myself to find a style.
When I left my college course and started my degree in the same institution, I started to dip, as my inspiration began changing: I loved hair and fashion illustrations like Gabriel Moreno and Stef Azevedo, and thus my style and ambitions changed again!
In 2016, I had an unexpected change of style, again. A competition brief came into our studio to create illustrated greeting cards, and I created what I thought was quick and easy for me to get on with my final major project. What took me off guard, was how much I loved it! I created two illustrations for both genders: ‘Who needs boys anyway?’ and ‘Who needs girls anyway?’ hand lettering with a watercolour doughnut beneath the quotes.
From there, I graduated and it’s now my main style, and I couldn’t be happier! I use my hair illustrations as my own projects, but more importantly, my hand lettering has developed and expanded, and I couldn’t be happier! Now, I get my inspiration in others, in mental health awareness and motivational blogs, but most importantly, myself!
Tell us about your process and the tools you use:
I use a Pentel Brush Pen with refillable cartridges, and a thick papered sketchbook, and it’s as simple as that!
I usually go straight in with my brush pen rather than penciling anything out beforehand, but I do make a list of illustrations and themes I can incorporate into a page. For example, I recently went to London to see Hamilton, and so created a list of quotes and key-objects to illustrate: Kings Crown, American Flag, Books, Pistols etc.
Brainstorming is my best friend, and I couldn’t recommend it more!
Describe your illustration style in 3 words.
What would be your dream commission, and who would it be for?
My dream commission would absolutely be for Lazy Oaf clothing or Urban Outfitters: I love anything weird, indie and unique and can really picture my illustrations being there with them!
What advice would you give to other illustrators and artists?
Take any and all opportunities you get given! You never know where that path will take you, so don’t get held up on ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, because you’ll never know until you get there!
Also, trust yourself- I really struggled with myself in my second year of university when my style began to change, and felt like I was being torn into four different directions. That feeling ended up just being me resisting and fighting off the change: Don’t fight it. Swim with it and let it take you on an incredible self-discovery journey! If all ends up wrong, you haven’t forgotten your previous skills as a creative, so you can just return back to your old style! You never know, it might open your eyes, and make you realise that everything you needed was right in front of you all along!
What’s next for you?
I am about to embark on my first adventure away from home with my partner, so who knows! It’s exciting, scary and thrilling all at the same time, but London is just up the road, so I’m going to dive straight in once I’m settled and see where life takes me!
For now, I’m working with Spotlight Stationery to create some new content, I’m rebuilding my portfolio and we’ll see from there! Watch this space 🙂