I was born in rural Essex and grew up in its flat fens, surrounded by the strong tradition of ‘cunning folk’ in my home town. As a result, my work is heavily inspired by the natural environment and the ancient folklore of the British Isles. Now based in Cornwall, I have been deeply obsessed with all things mysterious since I was a child. My worldview is animistic and my illustrations are inspired by what I call the ‘souls’ of various objects and experiences. From a childhood of getting into trouble for scaring other children with ghost stories and believing I could talk to birds, I’ve developed into an adult who names trees, feels more connected to animals than people and lives with her head in the clouds every minute of the day.
It’s perhaps not surprising that I started drawing at a very young age and didn’t stop. I have a very intimate relationship with nature and feel emotionally and spiritually aligned with the environment – its cycles, rhythms and spirit; it is this added dimension that I try to convey in my illustrations.
I also have a profound enjoyment of character design, perhaps brought on by a life of playing and watching my four older brothers play video games, as well as a deep love of Expressionism and an interest the human mind. Outside of my artwork, I’m interested in folklore, mythology, the occult, the paranormal, psychology, horror, biology, botany, animals, comic books and video games. My favourite artists are Edvard Munch, Yoshitaka Amano, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alphonse Mucha, Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt, John William Waterhouse, Ernst Haeckel, Cicely Mary Barker and Brian Froud.
I studied Fine Art at South Essex College and then completed a degree in Illustration at Plymouth College of Art.
The process begins with some kind of convergence of emotions with the natural world: where my emotional body latches onto something in the wild environment to communicate what is happening beneath the surface of my conscious mind. Usually it then spends some time writhing in and out of nebulousness, until it eventually gives itself a name. Often this becomes the title of the artwork, but not necessarily. At this point it is left to germinate for a period, during which time the artwork becomes fleshier and more deeply layered.
This time is then spent going through sketches, thumbnails and compositions until a general concept is refined to a solid draft. After this, I set about taking reference photos if needed and begin sketching the work out onto Bristol board. When this is complete, I trace over the image with a light brown watercolour pencil and erase the graphite line underneath. I then lightly render the basic tones with watercolour pencils. Once the image has started to take form, I add the base of the colours with marker pens, and then add another layer with watercolour pencils. Gradually the colour is built up in layers and then the details are drawn in with pencils. Occasionally inks, airbrushes and digital editing are involved, and the work is then refined.