With technology, we all now have the ability to work (almost) anywhere in the world and with clients across oceans and continents. The internet has meant we can be ‘social’ with almost anyone, anywhere and at any time. The implications are wonderful, just a few clicks and people you may never have met in a cafe or on the bus are now creating works of art with you. This is the story of how I met Maisie Noble. First through email, then through a years worth of collaborating and then finally to a few weeks ago where I stopped by her narrow boat in London and grabbed a cup of tea. As both regular contributors to the pages of Volt Café, Maisie and myself have worked continuously pairing up her dreamy illustrations with my graphics and organic beauty recommendations from beauty editor Linda Öhrström as part of The Organic Beauty Cards. Maisie’s work for me stands out for her abstracts and bold shapes, fitted closely to soft watercolours, unique characters and wild fantasies. Just a glance over her art will have you delving into a new world, where jungles come to life and eccentric characters are not exactly what they seem. Visit her online hub here and her journal here.
+ What’s your story? How did you discover you were to become an illustrator?
I have always drawn, my whole family can draw. I think I chose to study it because I never wanted to be one of those people who do a job they don’t love for money they couldn’t live without. I want to spend my time exploring and being passionate about the people and places around me, illustration allows me to do that.
+ Describe a perfect working day? What keeps you productive?
I don’t have a routine and I don’t tend to plan my days. My perfect working day would be one in which i do something i have never done before. When I wake up I tend to get the admin and emails out of the way. I like to meet someone inspiring in the morning, (I often kick off my week with meetings & conversations with the people that I work and collaborate with) then I might spend some time doing some visual research and finding out what’s new in the creative world. And then I will start working on the briefs that I have running at that point, sometimes from home and sometimes from other studios, depending on the job. I like to break with food I’ve never tried before and I try to walk to work and meetings as much as possible. I also try to squash in gallery visits and private views wherever I can.
+ How do you feel your work has developed since graduating?
It’s come a very long way. Graduating does something to your expectation of your own work. When you are thrust into the real world for the first time you take a pride in perfection at a level of intensity that is hard to concern yourself with whilst studying and experimenting. I have learnt to recognise what suits the client even though our tastes often differ. I have learnt to refine and most importantly to put my work into a relevant context so that it reaches the right audience.
+ What are you looking forward to experimenting with in your work?
I have spent a lot of time experimenting, the last 4 or 5 years, so it is really important for me to start refining and figuring out which of my (previously very varied and experimental) styles and tones I want to take further and push. I hope that my approach to each project as it comes, compliments both the clients brief and my portfolio as a whole, succinct body of work. However there are certain aspects of my work, such as the typographical and architectural, that I would really love to pursue.
+ How would you describe your work? What are you recognised for?
I hope that it is unusual and has a niche. I think it ranges from being quite emotive and easy to identify with, to being quite useful and purposeful. I tend to combine bright, block, graphical colour with organic line work. Capturing a place and moment in time is important for me.
+ How do you run your home studio? What is it like working from a house boat?
I live on a narrowboat with my partner which we move regularly, we are not always in London and I love the nomadic lifestyle, it’s fantastic to be able to up and leave an area when we feel like it, while keeping our home and possessions as a constant. I have to keep a very tidy and organised studio as it’s a small space. Some things are tricky, the internet speed is slow, but the negatives balance out in other ways, I like the humble, minimal lifestyle, it makes you appreciate the little things in life much more and allows you time to stop and take in the world around you.
+ Where do you look for sources of inspiration?
It really varies; from the news to museums and galleries, documentaries to novels, music and films. As well as the more obvious creative websites, publications and blogs. I make a note of things that I find inspiring and ideas as I find them, so that when I am stuck for ideas I can refer to my notes rather than having to resort straight to visual research.
+ Pencil or Pen?
+ Quick sketches or long studies?
+ First website you turn to for inspiration?
Itsnicethat or Pinterest
+ Tea or Coffee?
+ Favourite tool to work with?
A very fine drawing pen on a painted background.