Monday, 28 July 2014

Etsy shop find...a chat with Ilona Drew

I'm in today showcasing the next etsy shop owner, and this time, its the turn of Ilona Drew of 'I Drew This'
Ilona is a surface pattern designer and illustrator who has worked for Watermark Publishing and Carte Blanche Greetings so has a great understanding of the greeting cards industry.
Her etsy shop stocks items such as greetings cards and prints with more to come!
Using techniques like spray paints, pens, pencils, collage mixed with Illustrator and Photoshop, she is able to create beautiful designs with a lovely naive feel.

So, here we go, get the cuppa...

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background... 

I consider the beginning of my creative career to be when I began at Stourbridge College
 in the West Midlands, the college had a great reputation for its art courses and my Mom 
did her BA there when I was a little girl so it was a bit like home from home as I had spent 
so much time there. 
I studied a BTEC which introduced me to the idea of how I would apply my style to different mediums and I thrived on crafts, painting and especially print.
From there I went onto the Surface Pattern BA at Staffordshire University, a brilliant course again giving you the opportunity to dip into glass, ceramics, paperwork and textiles. 
I ended specialising in printed textiles and from there I went to UCE in Birmingham to complete my self initiated MA, it was there I realised that greeting cards was a lucrative field which offered in house positions.

After freelancing for a year I then landed a two week job trial at Watermark Publishing, a greeting card publisher based in Kettering with a great ethos for graduates and individuals looking for experience designing for the high street. 
It was an incrediably hard working company and I went from design junior to designing card ranges and managing projects and people in just four years.

After that four years it was time for a relocation and Brighton had always appealed, I accepted a job offer from another greeting card publisher Carte Blanche, similar in size to Watermark Publishing. 
My job role was to create new greeting card ranges which I did quite independantly with their studio.

After two years I decided to go freelance, I had always liked the idea and it seemed like the right time.

Since going freelance I have gained a lot of experience of the different ways you can go with your artwork for example agents pro/cons, illustrating for editorial/kids textiles/books/cards, lots about licensing your artwork and most recently trade shows, 
it certainly has been a journey so far...

2. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?

I have a three year old so honestly my coffee table is mostly covered with stickers and plasticine, however upstairs next to my bed is my turf and currently home to some much loved Frankie back issues, Bazaar Style by Selina Lake, Becoming a Successful Illustrator by Derek Brazell & Jo Davies and Show & Tell by Dilys Evans.

3. Who is your design hero and what inspires you? 

I love the artwork of Gyo Fujikawa, I grew up cherishing a book called Come Follow me, she had a long career and a sweet sentiment to her illustrations. 
Anyone who has had a long freelance career I find inspiring, 
I love to learn about their journeys, its a tough game!!

4. Tell us about a typical day for you...

I get up around seven with my daughter, make her breakfast, get her dressed and mostly run around like a headless chicken for half an hour before taking her to preschool, then I like to go to the gym, I use it as time to wake up and organise my day in my head before heading to the studio.
I then spend an hour or so emailing and organising any orders/invoices for I Drew This and then around lunchtime settle down with some design work. This might be a comission or a project I have set for I Drew This.
I try to get out and soak up the Laines for 30 mins or so mid afternoon before going back to the studio and working until about eight when I will either meet up with a friend for some dinner or head home.

5. Complete the following sentence...
- My happy place is.........

Lying in bed on a Sunday morning listening to my daughter and husband downstairs chatting away.

6. Where do you work? 
Describe your studio/work area...

I work in a co-operative studio in the heart of the Laines in Brighton called Studio Greenhouse.
There are ten freelancers in the studio ranging from an italian translator, fine artist, film editors, architect and childrens book illustrator. 
I have a cosy corner of the studio with my desk, mac and walls behind me which is perfect for planning my shows and a cute view of the top of Brighton Pavillion out of the window at the far end of the studio.

7. What art do you have on your wall?

I have my fathers art on my walls along with some of my own.

8. Why do you like being an illustrator/designer? (in 10 words or less)

There are endless worlds to explore...

9. What's the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?

My daughter.

10. What are your top three blogs?

You can follow Ilona here...

Thanks to Ilona for taking the time out to share a bit of her world with us!

(all above images are copyright of Ilona Drew and are a selection of items from her etsy shop or website back catalogue)

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