Featured Artist – Gemma Correll

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How and when did you know that you wanted to become an illustrator?
I knew from a very young age. My parents had lots of books with comics by Gary Larson (The Far Side) and the British cartoonist Giles, and I would spend hours reading them, even though a lot of the jokes went over my head. I started making my own comics and illustrated “books” using old notepads when I was six. I had shelves of them and would give them to my friends as presents, personalising the characters with their names. At school, I was often asked to design the posters for fêtes, or the flyers for Christmas nativities. Any activity that involved writing or drawing was instantly my favourite and I knew that illustration was what I wanted to do for a living.

As a working illustrator, do you still find time to create art for yourself?
Yes. It’s very important to me to be able to create personal work. I draw a lot in sketchbooks and I also keep a “daily diary”- a journal of the days events. I’m lucky in that my drawing style is quick and spontaneous, so even when I’m really busy with commissions, I’m usually able to find time to create some art for myself, too, even if it’s just a few doodles in my sketchbook.

What type of artwork do you have hanging in your home?
I love collecting prints by other artists and illustrators, but we don’t have much wall-space at the moment, so a lot of it is stored in folders. I can’t wait to move house and fill a wall with all the beautiful artwork. I have prints by artists like Mia Christopher, Lizzy Stewart and Christine Berrie and also an original mounted drawing by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch. Along with the “real” art, we have a fantastic collection of bad art and kitchy postcards that we’ve picked up at sales and thrift stores over the years.

What is your favorite way to get out of a creative block?
I’ll make myself a coffee, grab a cupcake (or two) and sit down with my sketchbook. I try to stay relaxed and not worry if it doesn’t work. If I have an off-day, I try to accept it as such and not stress out… Often, the day that follows will be super-productive and I’ll have so many ideas that I even can’t get them all down onto paper.

Is there any one publication that you still have aspirations to see yourself in?
The New Yorker… Specifically, the cover of The New Yorker. A girl can dream…

What magazines do you personally read?
I am a magazine addict. Some of my favourites are Bust, Frankie, Uppercase and Elle Decoration, as well as the Saturday “Weekend” supplement that comes with The Guardian (UK) newspaper. I like my magazines to be aesthetically pleasing, but with interesting reading matter too.

What are your goals for your future as an illustrator?
I feel like I’ve found my niche, style-wise, so now I’d like to expand my horizons a little. One of my favourite areas of Illustration is narrative – words are often a focal point in my work – and I’d really like to work in the areas of graphic novels and children’s books.


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