Illustrator Interview:  Gemma Cotterell

Mary Epworth Web by Gemma Cotterell

Can you give us a short presentation of yourself and your art?

I am a freelance Illustrator currently based in Reigate, Surrey. I hand draw on paper, then colour with Poscas or acrylic paint. In the past I have worked digitally but find it more satisfying to create a unique piece using pens and paint

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. I love bright uncompromising colour, black outlines and lately have started using detailed pattern in my work.

I graduated from Southampton Institute with a degree in Illustration in 2003 and then decided to travel the world. Recently my work has been more influenced by this, especially the pink/orange colour clashes I’m using reference heavily my travels in India.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a personal project illustrating Fairy Tales. Having read ‘The Uses of Enchantment’ by Bruno Bettelheim, you realise just how important fairy tales are in helping children understand the world around them.

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What are your favourite tools?

Pencils, Poscas, Acrylics and Photoshop.

How do you begin / conceptualise a project?

When I’m reading a brief, I always have a sketchbook to hand so I can write down and sketch every idea that comes into my head
. From these initial ideas, I work it down to one or two that I think will play out best.

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Please tell us about the process of making the EardrumsPop-cover! Is this the way you usually work?

When I was doing the EardrumsPop cover, I was really getting back into painting, so chose a theme that I hadn’t covered before, making it more interesting to research. I fell in love with the cauliflower jellyfish when researching odd sea creatures, so had to feature it. The way I work on each piece is usually more dependent on time scales – if I have the time, I will paint.

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Who / what are your greatest Visual Inspirations?

I have always been a huge Pop Art fan, especially the works of Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

 The Cell by Gemma Cotterell

Is music or other forms of art an inspiration? If so, what do you listen to?

I love music and grew up listening to a lot of Bowie, Hendrix and Zeppelin which never fail to inspire me.

Describe an average working day.

Go to work at my day job as a designer 9-5.30pm, which can involve anything from concept design  to text amends, then spend the evenings and weekends seeing how much illustration work I can fit in between looking after two children – busy :0)

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What are your future plans? Any exciting things you are looking forward to?

Continue to freelance as much as possible and hopefully complete enough of my fairy tale illustrations to publish as a set.

Co Pilgrim web by Gemma Cotterell

See more from Gemma Cotterell on her websites: