Illustrator Interview: Nicola Colton
Nicola Colton has made the cover art for Niko Niko!’s single on EardrumsPop, and this is our illustrator interview with her.
Can you give us a description of yourself and your art?
I am a freelance illustrator based in Dublin. Animals are among my favourite subject matter to draw/paint and I also like to create strange and wonderful creatures that are part animal and human. The type of creatures you may encounter in a fairytale/folktale.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished creating series of paintings on wood for a group exhibition based on the theme of Winter. I’m also working on some iPad/iPhone designs and limited edition artwork for a wonderful company called CarveOn who engrave the illustrations onto wood to make beautiful products.
What are your favourite tools?
Acrylic paint is my absolute favourite medium, it allows you a lot of freedom as if you make a mistake you can paint over it! I love to use paint markers too as they are great for adding detail. I use brush tip pens a lot as well when drawing as you can vary the thickness of line and they add a lot of character to an illustration.
How do you begin / conceptualise a project?
Most of my work begins as rough sketches and they often evolve and change as I begin to work on them in colour. I keep a sketchbook with me as ideas can be as fleeting as a dream upon waking and it’s important to catch them and get them down on something tangible like paper before they disappear!
Please tell us about the process of making the EardrumsPop-cover! Is this the way you usually work?
This particular piece came about from drawing on brown paper in white pen. While listening to the songs I decided to go for muted colours and delicate lines rather than the bright colours and paint I usually go for. I wanted to create something slightly sombre yet tranquil and delicate, that reflected the feelings the music evoked in me.
Who / what are your greatest Visual Inspirations?
I love folk art, especially Inuit art and children’s picture books. My favourite illustrator at the moment is Madeleine Stamer, who’s work is beautiful, simple and bold and often depicts scenes from nature. I also love Chelsea Lewyta who’s work has a fairytale feel to it and frequently portrays relationships between animals and people in a beautifully detailed fashion.
Is music or other forms of art an inspiration? If so, what do you listen to?
I dont like to work in silence so listening to music is essential. I enjoy a wide range of music everything from Bjork and Caribou to Battles and Jamie Lidell. Lately I’ve been listening Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros quite a bit. I also love to listen to ‘This American Life’ while I work, an American hourly radio program which is based around a different theme each week and focuses on non fiction stories.
Describe an average working day.
In the morning I like to catch up emails and things I might need to send or update online and I like to do that in my favourite coffee shop. I like to take in the nice smells and listen to the friendly hubub in there. I then head to the studio and get stuck into whatever project I’m working on while listening to music and if no one else is there I will sing while I work.
What are your future plans? Any exciting things you are looking forward to?
I’d really like to illustrate a children’s picture book. Ideally I’d love to write and illustrate my own. I have a few ideas rattling around in a drawer that need to be introduced to the light of day! Also doing some more cover artwork for bands would be great. Apart from that I’d love to see a whale up close in real life, as they are so big and beautiful.
What question and answer would you like to end this interview with?
Checkout Nicola Colton’s cards and prints here: