Fiona Gowen's quirky, fun illustrations bring the creative exercises and prompts in 150 Fun Things to Doodle to life, including everything from a personalized robot to a furry sheepdog. Fiona currently works as a freelance illustrator in the UK, but also has design experience in local studios as well as the publishing industry in London. I had the opportunity to chat with Fiona about what inspires her work, as well as her eclectic mix of hobbies and interests (crochet and brewing homemade beer are both on the list!)
Did you ever play with color forms as a kid? They looked like sticker books but instead had vinyl-like pieces you could stick and re-stick to your heart's desire. My favorite ones were the Little Mermaid color forms, where you could position Ariel and her friends all over the seascape. Setting up those scenes brought joy to my little heart. (I'm not sure if anyone makes true color forms anymore, so I'm tempted to snatch these up.)
"As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood." ~Jim Henson
You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.-Maya Angelou
Take a walk through a garden to see what patterns of nature appeal to you. Then create tangles based on what you see. —Penny Raile
"Your style is your innate, organic ability to turn any drawing into an illustration uniquely your own. Artists often discover their styles by simply paying attention to their basic likes, including favorite aesthetics, colors, and textures... Take as much or as little artistic license as you like. Think about the details, flourishes, shapes, and signatures you'd like to be recognized by." ~Stephanie Corfee
Tangling is such an interesting art concept to me. It mixes sketching and doodling and can turn a plain drawing into an elaborate, textureful scene. I made up the word textureful, but I think it fits since tangling is about building on the realistic to produce something more interesting and dramatic (or at least patterned) than what you might see in real life. So consider that some word tangling.
The title pretty much says it all. I've always been the type to doodle small drawings on papers, notebooks, and journals, and lately I've been having fun with colored pencil illustrations. I try to keep a few bright colors near my couch so that I can practice drawing whenever I'm watching TV. Though sometimes I can't have colored pencils with me, it's always fun to start a drawing in pen and add that splash of color later.
Penny Raile's journey to become an artist involves getting out of your own head and letting go of fear—her story encourages the creator in each of us that it's never too late to trust your talents and pursue what you love. Although Penny discovered a love for art in college, for years afterward she felt compelled to craft, draw, and paint, but struggled with self-doubt. In recent years, she has explored and stepped into a new identity as an artist, personally and professionally. Today she works and makes her home in a 1600 square-foot Los Angeles studio full of color and inspiration.
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