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Home > good peeps > Lightning Round with Illustrator Katriona Chapman

Lightning Round with Illustrator Katriona Chapman

January 6th, 2010

I’m thrilled to kick off the 2010 Lightning Rounds with Katriona Chapman, whose illustrations astound me — the intricacies, the gorgeous colours and textures, and how they capture moments, whether whimsical or historical. And boy, she can draw hands like nobody’s business (see the Card Shuffle diagram below)! I met Katriona on twitter, and have mentioned her here before; it’s great to know that talented folks can also be so open and approachable. Now… ready to be blown away?

1. How and when did you start drawing and painting?
I always did since I was tiny, and my mum always wanted to encourage me. We both went to classes with an art teacher who was a family friend for several years when I was growing up. Actually, by the time I did my A-levels (age 16) I was a bit fed up with drawing & did a year specialising in sculpture, then when I went to university I studied literature because I really felt I needed a break!

2. How did illustration become your full-time gig?
Well, I still juggle two jobs at the moment because I find it hard to get the amount of illustration work I would like. I’m not a natural self-promoter but I have a new agent, which will help. I work on illustration during the day, and work a couple of evenings & all of Saturday at a theatre, where I’ve been an usher for about 7 years, on and off.

3. Ideal lazy Sunday?
Lazy’s the right word… on Sundays I’m rarely out of my pyjamas. My boyfriend’s an amazing cook, so we’ll often cook a big meal with me as kitchen assistant. We watch films, and TV series like The Wire, The Sopranos, Twin Peaks…

4. Early riser or night owl?
I used to a night owl but have become an early riser. I have more energy in the mornings, & on days when I have to go to the theatre it makes more sense to do a full working day at home before doing my evening shift. Then when I get home I can just relax.

5. Any new year’s resolutions?
I’ve never done new year’s resolutions!

6. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
My Spanish! I’ve spent nine months in Mexico & Central America… my boyfriend is Mexican and I still can’t speak it at all. It’s embarrassing.

7. What’s the last movie you saw in a theatre, and did you like it?
I think it was ‘Up’ in 3D, and I LOVED it.

8. You live in London, England. How did you end up there and what’s your favourite thing about it?
I was born here, but I’ve also lived in Amsterdam, Brighton, and a tiny village in Sussex… and I’ve travelled a fair bit. I actually don’t like that much about London & would love to live somewhere warmer one day. My favourite thing would be my easy & convenient job at the theatre and my friends there.

9. Who are your favourite artists/illustrators?
There are so many… but here’s a few: Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh, Robert Crumb, Lisa Evans, Ayano Imai, Elena Odriozola, Tove Jansson.

10. Introvert or extrovert?

11. What do you like best and least about being your own boss?
I enjoy spending time by myself… I’m good at organising my time & motivating myself.

12. What is your kryptonite? I guess messing about taking pictures of the wildlife in my back garden could be one of my weaknesses! Even if I’m really busy I can be distracted by a fox or a squirrel or a bird doing something cute.

13. What was the first concert you ever went to?
I came to live music really late. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been to a concert! A few gigs and festivals. My first festival was Pinkpop in the Netherlands in 2003.

14. What would you be doing if you weren’t illustrating?
I think if I wasn’t illustrating I’d have to study zoology and try to get a job where I could work with animals. I was never interested in them when I was younger but now I find them really fascinating.

15. Happiest kid memory?
My trips to Nova Scotia every couple of years to stay with my aunt. As a child doing those trips was a magical, amazing experience.

16. When/where/how do you get your best ideas for illustrations?
I like illustrating other people’s stories because I enjoy the collaborative element of two people’s different input coming together. My most fun personal project has been illustrating a friend’s surreal short story because it pushed me in a more imaginative/weird direction than I had been going before.

17. Your illustrations are so detailed and crisp — even your ‘sketches’ [example above] look like finished pieces. How did you arrive at this style?
I don’t know! I must be a bit obsessive. There’s so much I want to improve about my work but in terms of that quite polished finish that I do… I just seem to naturally really want to smooth out lines and textures until they’re as perfect as possible!

18. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I’ve never done karaoke but in terms of singing along at home… at the moment it’s Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.

19. What are you most proud of right now?
That I do keep pushing myself to get better at illustration. I think it’s important to be quite critical and keep trying to improve. I always wonder if I could work harder, but I also think it’s important to enjoy life a lot. I could never work as hard as some people seem to, to the exclusion of all other interests.

20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”
Easy-going, quite strong-willed, shy, fun-loving, independent and content.

Check out the rest of Katriona’s website to see more of her work, and/or follow her on twitter.

Thanks for being a great sport, Kat, and I look forward to seeing more of your inspiring work! Now… to get you to a karaoke bar… ;)

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  1. Samantula
    January 9th, 2010 at 11:20 | #1

    very cool! she’s so talented! wow!

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