Interview of Kathryn Rose Brown by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hello! I’m Kathryn, I’m 27, and I am currently juggling being a new mum and being a freelance artist/illustrator.
I live in the UK with my husband and little boy who I affectionately like to call “squidge.”
How and when did you get started with illustrating?
One of my first memories of illustrating was when I was really little. I used to have an ice cream tub full of felt tips (most with the lids missing) and I used to take books out of the library and copy them word for word, picture for picture. Around the same time, I also wrote and illustrated a book about visiting the moon and eating the moon cheese. Those were good times.
Then I became a “grown up”; I studied art in college and then did a foundation diploma as this just seemed the most natural path for me (being creative and all that). I then went on to study fine art at uni. One of my flatmates was studying illustration, and my love for alternative comics and illustration began. We visited quite a few zine and illustration fairs and I was so inspired, especially by handmade items. Sometimes, I think my fine art background makes me approach illustration in a slightly different way, which can help or hinder depending on the project.
What’s your favorite thing about illustration?
This is a really hard question for me! My favourite thing would probably be the process. I like art materials and
experimenting with them. Recently I have tried Dr Ph Martin watercolour ink and Cretacolor pencils and loved them, but my heart lies with markers. I use a lot of markers and pens — especially Posca, Shinhan, and Copic — and it gives me great joy to draw with a thick black line.
Tell us about your work process.
Usually, I will get ideas for illustrations when I’m just about to go to sleep or I am doing the food shop or something mundane like that. So I tend to keep a notebook on me or my phone and I will quickly note them down. Then I usually doodle in my sketchbook to visualise the idea. I use Bristol board for the final piece and draw it out in pencil and then ink it after, which works better for me. After I am happy with the drawing, I scan it into the computer and colour using Photoshop; more recently I have concentrated on using limited colour palettes. I tend to work on an illustration like a painting. I will continuously change colours throughout the drawing for a few days before I am happy and I will quite often take screenshots of my process which I find helps me.
What inspires you?
Life inspires me. I like to take note of things I hear people say when I am out and about — usually snippets from conversations taken out of context which turn out to be quite funny when I look back at them. Or I will draw people on the bus/in a cafe for reference and think, “yeah, that might look good in this drawing”, etc, etc. I am also inspired by popular culture — tv, film, celebs, and that sort of thing. Most recently I did an illustration about the tv programme, End of the F****ng World, and it got quite a lot of traction on Tumblr.
What are some of your goals within your artwork for the upcoming year?
My main goal is to expand my portfolio a bit. My work focuses a lot on portraits because this is one of my passions, but I want to challenge myself, so I am currently making a list of things I don’t feel confident drawing and reluctantly working through it!
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I like Gemma Correll, Daniel Clowes, Mcbess, Lucy Knisley, Hannah Hillam, and David Shrigley. (There are loads more but the list is just TOO long.)
How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t illustrating?
I like drinking tea, eating cake, going for walks on the beach, and looking after my little boy. Preferably, all at the same time.