Poppy Cole is a young illustrator with a beautiful style that will have you falling in love with her work at first sight. Her fabulous use of collage creates a whimsical character and depth to all of her work. Fresh out of Norwich University of Arts, Poppy is one talent you’ll soon be seeing much more of. Here’s what she had to say:
Could you tell me a little bit about you and your work?
I’ve been studying illustration in Norwich for the last three years and I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. My work is collaged using paper and other materials that I obsessively collect and gather from wherever I happen to find it. Collaging is at the back of my mind constantly – I can’t walk past a leaflet without wondering whether it might make good collage material. I tend to sketch an image out first and then collage on top of the drawing – the sketching is just as enjoyable for me and means I can collage on top of observational/location drawings. It’s intricate and delicate work (and I get through a lot of glue) but there’s nothing quite like finding the perfect textured paper for an image.
My illustrations are often influenced by my surroundings. I love drawing on location and Norwich has been a beautiful city to study art in, so much of my recent work has focused on capturing that beauty and encouraging others to see it too.
What inspires you as an illustrator?
Other illustrators! There are so many amazing artists working at the moment that it is impossible not to be inspired by them. Some of my favourites are Andrew Bannecker, Helen Hallows, Jon Klassen and Tom Gauld but the list really is endless.
I am also inspired by my environment, as I mentioned above, and I find that simply going for a walk in a direction I haven’t been before or visiting a town I’ve never seen can inspire me in unlikely ways. Illustrators unfortunately have to spend a lot of their time at the same desk in the same room and this can be really stifling so I find it really helps to take breaks and try working in different places.
Golas campaign is called born in Britain. What do you think about the British art and design scene today?
I think actually it’s really great and we’re very lucky. We have such a fantastic array of galleries in Britain and with exhibitions like Images 36 that showcase amazing British illustration in beautiful venues like Somerset House, the art and design scene is really flourishing.
Some amazing illustrators have come out of Britain in recent years (Rob Ryan, Gemma Correll, Tom Gauld) and there are a lot of fantastic art schools in Britain producing new and exciting talent every single year. It’s really helping the art scene to develop into something we can be really proud of. And I think it is apparent that we are proud of it too, with the amount of creative-based businesses that are popping up in London, Norwich and other areas of the country. People are finding new ways to work creatively now – in the current economic climate, artists and designers are creating new and innovative jobs for themselves.
Do you have any advice for young illustrators who are just starting out and are trying to develop their own style?
It’s actually a really difficult thing to do and it was something I struggled with for a long time. I think it’s important whether you are at art school or not to take some time to experiment with absolutely everything and whether you love it, hate it, can’t do it or think it’s a waste of time, at least you can say you’ve tried it.
Ultimately, for me, it came down to realising what felt like the most natural way of working. I’ve never found illustration an easy thing to do – except when I collage. It felt natural and it made successful work and those were the two main things for me.
My advice would be to be patient, to get feedback as often as you can and to look at other artists and techniques for inspiration.
Finally, where might you be in a few years time?
In a few years time I hope to be hunched over my desk, still gluing tiny pieces of paper to slightly larger pieces of paper. I hope I will always be an illustrator.
To see more of Poppy and her beautiful illustrations then head over to her website, or why not tweet her? I’m sure you’ll love her work as much as I do.