This week I had the pleasure of chatting to an amazing illustrator from Hertfordshire; Jemma Thorne. She has such a unique style that conveys so much raw personality and depth that I’ve been hooked from the first encounter. Her impeccable skill when it comes to drawing and line art, allow her to communicate her visions effortlessly, allowing her pieces to capture the imagination of the audience. She has developed her work over the years to combine beautifully detailed illustrations, with bold block colours. This has created an edginess in her pieces that is so infectious, with her sense of humour always shining through. Her work is both unique yet timeless, with something for everyone. I implore you to spend some time enjoying her work as I have been. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell me a little bit about your style and your work?
My style of work involves detailed, and often laborious, line work that I then scan into my computer and colour on Photoshop. This approach works for me because my work is best suited with a flat, limited colour palette to show off the strong, clean line work. I find myself drawing most things, but I particularly enjoy drawing items of clothing and interesting objects. My work can be quite satirical at times, commenting on the many issues of the world, but I also enjoy working on a purely aesthetic level, helping me to develop my illustration style.
The Gola campaign is called “Born in Britain” are there any british artists or illustrators that inspire you?
An illustrator that inspires me for his genius humour and opinions that he puts forward in his illustrations, is the very talented Peter Brookes.
In terms of style, I adore the work of a lesser known illustrator called Jonathan Williams. Situated in Scotland, he has produced some great works for clients such as Virgin and The Times. I came across his work recently while researching for a project. His style is beautiful, clean and his use of colour is exquisite.
Your work is so visually effective, but it is also funny and expressive. Do you feel you are able to express yourself and your personality through your work?
I feel I am able to express my many opinions through my artwork and that it can often have a much punchier and hard-hitting effect than by trying to express this with words alone. It allows me to poke at things I feel are wrong or right about life and the universe in a, hopefully, more eye-catching and effective way.
An example of this would be my final major project that uses the alphabet to highlight all the issues (in my eyes) that our country faces.
Do you have any tips for young illustrators, trying to develop their craft and their style?
Practice, practice, practice. I have drawn obsessively every day since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I think there is an element of having a natural talent when it comes to drawing, but I think what’s more important is how hard you work and how much you want to make it. You will always have doubts about yourself and your work, but by realising what your weaknesses are you can develop your skills more.
You learn as much from your peers as you do from highly successful, professional illustrators. By looking at what others do better than you, and trying to reconcile that in your own work, you can strive to get your work to the best it can be.
I think the key to being a good illustrator is to never be satisfied. Friends and family laugh at me for being a ‘perfectionist’ and never being completely satisfied with my work, despite giving it my all. But that has allowed me to push myself further each time. There’s nothing better than looking back at earlier work and realising how much you have improved!
Finally, where do you hope to be in the next few years?
I am hoping to combine my two great passions in life: illustration and teaching. I hope to be able to maintain a steady job in education as well as taking on freelance commissions. Drawing is a massive part of my life and I hope to be doing it until the day I die!
If anyone is interesting at looking at a bigger collection of my work, I would be happy to send you an online PDF. My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well I hope you enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed talking to Jemma! Go ahead and email Jemma for any work enquiries, or just to learn more about her pieces.