We were both lucky enough to have worked with Beck Feiner early in our career. Beck has transitioned from Brand designer, to award winning advertising Art Director and now successful illustrator and published author. She's the proof of the flexibility of a creative mind and an example to all of us not to pigeon hole our creativity. M&G
What does your workspace look like?
We recently renovated our house to make an amazing studio attic conversion for me to work in. However it’s not really surprising that I instead find myself downstairs perched on the kitchen island bench with scraps of paper, my laptop and peanut butter toast all balancing precariously together. Oh and doing a load of washing too.
I love the fact that I can work from home. I do miss working in a collaborative space. I used to work in advertising and design agencies with often over 100 people. However I am lucky enough to live in an inner city terrace in Redfern, Sydney Australia with cafes and shops literally on my doorstep. And if I get bored, I can always talk to some unlucky shop assistant.
What/who/where do you take inspiration from. (can be more than one thing, a place, person, artist, magazine, book)?
I have always been a person who takes life experiences/insights and uses them to generate ideas. I love to come up with ideas that I think are really missing in the world. A hard task! With my Aussie Legends Alphabet idea, I felt like no one was really creating educational pieces for kids that tackled diversity and multiculturalism in Australia.
I also developed the Mum’s Milestones cards with a friend because we found that no one was creating products to make new mums laugh in what is often a really lonely period in their lives. It really resonated with a lot of people as a result.
And then once the idea has been created, again I try and keep it as original as possible and don’t try and copy anyones style. However I love going to places like Pinterest etc to inspire me and take my illustrations to the next level. I confess I am a Pinterest junkee! I basically go into a Pinterest vortex and emerge 2 hours later not knowing where I am.
Briefy describe your creative process and how you generate ideas.
I have two ways of working.
My first is for my own personal projects. As described in the previous question above, it happens quite organically and comes from a place of offering something that is missing. This comes from life experiences like having kids.
I also do quite a lot of commissioned pieces. I come from a background of being a designer and then an art director in advertising. I am finally doing what I have always dreamed of doing but I don’t regret my previous careers. They gave me a lot of training in how to generate ideas. I am quite strict with my clients and ask them to come up with tight briefs for me so I don’t go in a direction we both don’t want.
Then I go away and brainstorm and write/sketch a lots of ideas down on paper (mostly crap) before I come up with the eureka moment.
I also luckily have a husband who is a creative too. He is a copywriter in advertising. It is really important that I have someone to bounce ideas off. I think I would be in trouble if I brainstormed with my mum. She thinks everything I do is the most incredible thing ever. I do need some grounding.
My final step of the process is converting my sketches to illustrations on my laptop. And then refine, refine, refine.
What tools do you use to capture them?
I create my illustrations as vector computer graphics. My laptop is my BFF. Don’t ever ask me to choose between my husband and my laptop…
What is your favourite creative tool?
A pen then I move to the computer. I should say Adobe illustrator is my favourite program but I love working in indesign. I find it a more adaptable.
What is your favourite piece of work.
It’s got to be Aussie Legends Alphabet. It really has been the most life changing idea I created. It originally started as an alphabet poster featuring a diverse range of aussie legends as letters. When the posters went viral I was lucky enough to be able to quit my job in advertising and be offered a chance to become a children’s author/illustrator. And since that project, I now am working on several new books with Harper Collins/ABC books. This all started with an insight that teaching my own kid the alphabet could be a more exciting experience. And then having the guts to put my idea out there in the world.