08/27/14 By Jennifer Gaudet
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!)
Photos provided by Fiona Gowen
Q: How would you describe your artistic style? Where do you find inspiration as an artist and creative?
Fiona Gowen: I would describe my style as fairly traditional, with some extra quirkiness thrown in for good measure. I'm constantly inspired by the world around me—cities, coastlines, and people, as well as books, science, and nature documentaries. I have a strong interest in information illustration (and design), and it's great to know that people are learning from the work I've done. Other illustrators and designers are also very inspiring, such as Steve Noon, Ralph Steadman, Quentin Blake, and Shaun Tan, to name a few.
Q: How did you get started as an artist?
FG: My interest in art and design began as far back as I can remember. My parents used to take me to the library to look at the picture books, and encouraged me to draw, paint, and make things from an early age. I carried on drawing and painting throughout my childhood, through school and college. I graduated from University College Falmouth in Cornwall with a degree in Illustration in 2007, and haven't looked back since.
Q: What other interests do you explore outside of art?
FG: Outside of art, I have a healthy interest in growing fruit and veg in my tiny little courtyard garden, as well as learning various crafts; crochet, needle felting, jewelry making, quilting, etc. I also play a bit of guitar, occasionally brew beer, and own several small parrots (my assistants!)
Q: Do you work in any other mediums?
FG: The majority of my work is completed using ink (either Rotring pens or dip-pens) and watercolor. However, I often color work digitally using Photoshop, and I occasionally enjoy using acrylics for more 'artsy' paintings in my spare time.
Q: What is your favorite subject to draw or illustrate?
FG: I enjoy painting all sorts of things—from rawkus robots to funky fish and even the occasional landscape or building. But lately I've become fairly obsessed with illustrated maps. I've worked on several over the past couple of years, both as personal projects as well as for clients. It's something I've been interested in for a while, and it's great to finally be doing it!
Q: What advice would you give to an artist just beginning their career?
FG: Don't give up, draw, and keep drawing. Try new things. Keep learning and experimenting. Make some mistakes, then learn from them. Make every project better than the last one, and be the best you can be.
To see more of Fiona's art, visit her website at http://www.fionagowen.co.uk.
Jennifer is Associate Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. Lover of the written word and strong coffee, mostly anti-domestic, lifelong journal-keeper. Collector of anything striped.
Art is literacy of the heart.
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