Meet The Artist – Victoria Coleman

Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you’re settling in well and had a good start to 2019! We are continuing with our ‘Meet The Artist‘ articles this year. This week we have the talented Victoria Coleman answering some questions for us. How adorable are the dogs?!

Victoria Coleman Portrait


When did you first discover your passion for art and painting?

Like most artists I loved loved painting and creating things from an early age and I was fortunate that my parents encouraged this, they even let me paint on the walls of bedroom!

Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you?

All sorts of things inspire me, a gallery could come up with a theme or someone could commission me to paint their dog with a great idea, I’m constantly looking for new ideas on social media and the internet or even my own dogs can inspire a collection!

©Victoria Coleman
©Victoria Coleman

How would you describe your style?

My style is a mix between realistic and illustrative, I used to paint Disney characters and I think that has influenced my style quite a bit.

What makes you different from other artists?

I use Bristol paints which is a water based paint used by scenic artists, I work in layers building up the detail, I also used an air brush to give my work depth.

What do you think is unique selling point?

Humour, just like people animals especially dogs have a sense of humour so I like to inject that into my work occasionally, I like to think my paintings will lift your spirits and make you smile. 

What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to chosen medium?

It’s not so much the medium but more the subject which I find most challenging. I do a lot of portraits so especially when I’m working on a commission it’s vital I capture the likeness and spirit of the subject which sometimes can be very difficult.

Candy Girl ©Victoria Coleman
Candy Girl ©Victoria Coleman

What would be your career dream? What project would you love to be able to complete one day?

To have a workshop in the garden, currently I work in the kitchen which can be very frustrating sometimes, I want to be able to spread out and have lots of projects on the go all around me! Ultimately I’d like to paint my own dogs but I never seem to have time, I’m also a little afraid I won’t do them justice!

Did you have another career prior to this? If so, what was it?

A prop maker, it was a great job, I worked in all sorts of fields from costume props for Star Wars and Gladiator to painting Disney sculptures for their flagship stores.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10-15 years’ time?

Still alive! Both my parents died in their 50’s and I’m going to be 50 next year so if I’m still around in 10-15 years’ time I hope I’ll still be creating….in my garden workshop!

©Victoria Coleman
©Victoria Coleman

What is your typical day like?

I get up at 6am and check my emails and do a bit of social media marketing while having a cup of tea, I also take a moment to watch YouTube videos of other artists and business owners and try to pick up tips on how to expand my knowledge, then I take my dogs for a walk.

After everyone’s had breakfast I’ll get on with either wrapping any bought work or listing work online in my shops or photographing work to be listed. Then I need to get on with whatever artwork I have on the go, I like to be painting/ sculpting by 11 o’clock at the latest.

I love listening to crime thriller audio books when I work, the narrator Jeff Harding really gets me in the mood to paint!

After lunch I’ll carry on painting or sculpting till tea time, my lovely neighbour takes my dogs for their afternoon stroll which really helps me focus and get in the zone..

We’ve recently adopted a kitten so there’s a queue for dinner around 6pm so I’ll feed the dogs and cat then do a little more work until about 7-7.30. Then I’ll have my dinner, I might do a bit more marketing in the evening if I get a chance.

What do you love the most about your job and what do you hate the most?

I’m happiest when I’m creating, I love the processes and the freedom to paint whatever I want and I hate never having enough time, being a small business owner means having to do everything yourself so I’m constantly having to learn new things which takes up a lot of time.

©Victoria Coleman
©Victoria Coleman

How do you relax after a long day?

In the evening I like to sit on the floor with a glass of wine and watch Midsummer Murders or Vera or Netflix while playing with the dogs…..lovely!


Well, we certainly believe Victoria’s paintings lift our spirits and make us smile! To view more of Victoria’s work you can visit her website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter accounts.

 

 

Meet the Artist – An Interview with Richard Smythe

Richard Smythe - The Artist's Print RoomIn our latest blog article featuring  our clients, we’ve spoken to freelance illustrator, Richard Smythe. We love Richard’s adorable drawings, in particular his dancing squirrels (which you can view on his website!)

When did you first discover your passion for illustration?

From a very young age I enjoyed to draw and create things. Eventually I realised art and design came more naturally to me than other subjects at school. I remember first being commended on a drawing I did at primary school. Probably the only time I was ever praised for school work, however!

Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you?

Inspiration for my illustration work comes from many sources. Usually just everyday life. Whenever I see something funny or an unusual circumstance.

How would you describe your style?

richardsmythe_dogandcatadventure
©Richard Smythe – Dog & Cat Adventures

Quite loose and naive, but representational enough for young children to understand and recognise.

What makes you different from other illustrators?

It’s hard to say but it’s probably more down to how I interpret the subject matter  in the author’s manuscript. Each illustrator comes at a project differently based on their own experiences I think.

What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to illustrating picture books?

Meeting a deadline. I normally schedule my time on a project before I start, but other things beyond my control get in the way which inevitably delay the project. If the picture book requires me to draw something unusual or complicated then this requires extra study or experimenting, which all has to be done under the time constraints of the deadline.

What would be your career dream? What project would you love to be able to do/complete?

richardsmythe_watersong
©Richard Smythe – Water Song

I honestly don’t know. I really just love what I am fortunate enough to be doing now, which is illustrating picture books for kids. I suppose it would be nice to work on some of my own stories at some stage as I always have lots of ideas.

Did you have another career prior to this? If so, what was it?

I had a lot of other nondescript jobs to make ends meet before I was able to make a living as an illustrator. I worked with young adults with physical and mental disabilities for the longest time though.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10-15 years’ time?

mouse_cup_richardsmythe
©Richard Smythe – Mouse Cup

To carry on with what I’m doing and perhaps to have had a few more awards under my belt would be lovely.

What is your typical day like?

Very long. I get up around 6am and finish up about 6pm. I split my time between client work and personal development. As well as exercise and dog walking!

What do you love the most about your job and what do you hate the most?

richardsmythe_foxbytheriver
©Richard Smythe – Fox By The River

I think the most enjoyable part is creating something out of nothing. The opportunity to interpret an author’s story is a great privilege to me. Picture books (if they’re good ones) can be passed down from generation to generation of kids, being cherished and loved forever. That’s a great thing to be part of. I suppose the main thing I dislike is not being paid on time, which can happen unfortunately.

How do you relax after a long day?

I like to read and do exercise, and just hang about with my family. 


You can find out more about Richard’s work on his website or through his social media accounts; Instagram and Twitter.