Featured Artist – Clare Mallison

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How and when did you know that you wanted to become an illustrator?
Probably the last year of my degree was when I started to really take it seriously and thought I could make a career out of my work. When I left college I put all my energy into promoting myself until I got my first commission.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from text sketching and doodling from what I have read. Also the people around me, what they do, photographs and films. I love 1950s architecture especially when it is painted pastel colours.

What is your earliest memory of creating art? (or drawing as a child)
Drawing a picture of my dad cutting his toe nails, which was for his birthday card. I don’t know why I thought he would like a picture of him cutting his toenails. My mum still has the card.

What type of environment do you prefer to work in? At home or in a studio? Listening to music?
I like going to work then I can completely focus on drawing. I share a studio with film makers, trend spotters and set designers so there is a lovely creative buzz. My studio is on the top floor of a tower block in East London.

As a working illustrator, do you still find time to create art for yourself?
Yes, I find I have to. It’s good to experiment on your own work so when you receive a commission you know how you want to draw it. I try to go life drawing as much as possible, it’s lovely to be able to just focus on what is in front of you.

What is your favorite way to get out of a creative block?
If it is a commission and I do not have much time, I scribble and doodle lots of different ideas and draw them all out, even the bad ones, so I can forget about them. I find it also helpful to speak to people about the article I am illustrating. If I have a mental block when it comes to my own work I often step away from it, go on a long bus ride to see things I want to get inspired.

Is there any one publication that you still have aspirations to see yourself in?
The New Yorker.

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