Illustrator Interview: Minkee
The UK illustrator Minkee has made this wonderful illustration for the cover of Tiny Fireflies’ single on EardrumsPop.
Visit her websites to see more of her art, or to buy one of her prints in the shop (links at the bottom of this page).
Here is our illustrator interview with her.
Illustrations above: Minkee’s self-portrait, front and back.
Can you give us a short presentation of yourself and your art?
I’m an illustrator and printmaker who lives by the sea in England. I like bears, cake, and people who buy my prints. My prints are vibrant, fun and colourful, for vibrant, fun and colourful people!
How did you get started in the illustration field?
I studied Graphic Design with Illustration at University, and from there joined a design company as an illustrator. Six years later and I’m now working freelance. However, I guess I really started to illustrate when I made my first book ‘Where’s Snatch’s Bone?’ aged 6.
What are you working on right now?
I have a lovely little selection of projects on the go right now! I’m busy making a great little children’s book called ‘Max’s Little Brother’, a tattoo for my friends back and shoulders, and a series of prints based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes. It’s fun!
What are your favourite tools?
After the initial sketches I tend to work digitally, so I use either Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator depending on whether the project needs vector artwork or not! I think Illustrator is the one closest to my heart though. I love it!
Please tell us about the process of making the EardrumsPop-cover! Is this the way you usually work?
I make almost all of my pictures in just the same way! I start by sketching out rough ideas, getting the layout right, working on the features within the picture. Then once I’ve got an image I think is good, I’ll make sure everyone else involved thinks so too. I had the canoe and firefly image in my head right from the start, and Lisle and Kristine liked the sketch, so I took it into Photoshop and set about colouring it up using pastel and crayony looking brushes, and some textures.
Who / what are your greatest Visual Inspirations?
I really love Charley Harper, he has inspired a lot of modern illustrators, and you can see his influence in all kinds of places, with fun, bright, stylised animals. There’s tons of other artists, I really adore Mucha too, and there’s an awful lot of good work by my peers that also inspire me to do bigger, better things every day. I also take a walk on the beach every day, with my dog, Scout. The vastness of the sea and the play of the light never fails to inspire – or at least clear my head ready for work!
Is music or other forms of art an inspiration? If so, what do you listen to?
I have all sorts of fondnesses for different kinds of music. When I’m working I like to listen to something that I can zone out with, like Bon Iver. Infact I listened to a lot of Lisle and Kristine’s music as I made this cover! On the other hand, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era, because I adore big band and swing, Ella Fitzgerald, and also jazz in the vein of Nina Simone and so on. At the other end of the scale I used to love my metal when I was a kid, and I still listen to my brothers’ metal band ‘Our Blistered Horizon’ amongst others. I’m not very good at remembering names of bands, or hearing a song and recognising who made it, or even categorising any of it! But I just know when something in my head says ‘Yes, I like this!’
Describe an average working day.
Typically, I’ll wake up when my boyfriend lets our dog in from her morning walk and she dives into bed next to me. Then I’ll go back to sleep! Sleep is good. Eventually one of us will wake up and I’ll get up and check that the internet is still there, in my pjyamas, on the couch. This is when I’ll work out what I need to do that day, if I have any print orders to post out, emails to reply to, new jobs to start and so on. Before long time has flown by and it’s lunchtime – I get up, get dressed, go to the post office and then take Scout down to the beach. It’s great to have her because otherwise I think I might sit inside working the whole day long! Once we get back, she’ll go to sleep and I can really get started on work. Drawing, scanning, colouring, printing, writing to people, doing my accounts! The work is usually pretty varied, and carries on and on until I have to stop to eat! The best thing about being freelance though is that I can work whenever I want to. If I get a great idea at midnight, I can sit up all night and do it. If I suddenly wake up at 6am and decide to finish that booklet I’m making, I can do it! If I want to go to Rome all I need is my laptop and my tablet and I’m good to go. It hasn’t happened yet, but I could if I wanted to!
How did you develop your style? Is it different now than when you started?
I think my style has probably changed massively, and I imagine it will continue developing for years to come! At school I used to copy animé characters, but since then I have just drawn and drawn and drawn, and whatever my style is has developed naturally from that. It’s never been a concious decision. Sometimes I feel like making everything very angular and geometric, and sometimes I feel like making everything very soft and round, but apart from that everything is usually just bright, fun and colourful!
What’s your favorite color?
I really don’t think I could pick one. There’s a quote from Winston Churchill that goes like this “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns”. Well I feel similar, except that I love the browns too! Every colour has its place, its right time to be used, and the exciting part is working out which ones are right for your current task, and how to combine them to make the ultimate combo.
What are your future plans? Any exciting things you are looking forward to?
My main plan at the moment is just to put my all into making great pictures! I’m looking forward to finding exciting people to work with, and to making some really ace artwork for everyone to enjoy.
What question and answer would you like to end this interview with?
I don’t have a question, but I would like to say thanks to the EardrumsPop team for putting all this together, and to Tiny Fireflies – you’ve made some really lovely music and I’m glad I could be involved! Thanks guys!
Visit these links to learn more about Minkee and her artworks, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.