Emma Block is a talented young illustrator who has created designs for Rokit, Shelter, the British Heart Foundation and many more. Want to follow in her footsteps? Here are her five work essentials…
Full name/age/job title:
Emma Block, 22, illustrator.
What does your job involve?
My job involves working with a client and coming up with an illustrated solution that looks good and everyone is happy with. I have produced illustrations for books, magazines, cards, packaging and websites.
Five things you couldn’t work without:
1. My Winsor & Newton series 7 fine sable rigger brush
It is a small brush with very long bristles and I use it for everything from shading to hand rendered type. My boyfriend recently stepped on my paintbrush and snapped it in half, but a bit of super glue has saved it. I prefer writing and outlining with a brush, instead of a pen or pencil, because it is much more organic and fluid to work with.
2. My sketchbooks
I love my Moleskine saddle-stitched sketchbooks. They are really easy to scan and use with a lightbox and they fit nicely in my handbag. As well as sketches, my sketchbooks are full of notes. All the important info for my current projects – budget, deadline, dimensions, changes and revisions to be made – gets written alongside the drawings. I have about 16 identical Moleskine sketchbooks now, most of which are labelled so I find them easily and reference old projects or sketches.
3. A cup of tea
I think for a lot of people a cup of tea means break time, but for me a cup of tea means “let’s get down to work”. Getting up to make a cup of tea breaks up the day a bit when essentially I am sitting at my desk all day drawing most of the time. Coffee is reserved for late nights and tight deadlines.
If my guitarist/singer boyfriend isn’t practicing in the same room as me, then I normally have jazz playing. My work is very labour-intensive, and sometimes I can work for hours on one thing, so having something I can sing along to, like Billie Holiday, really helps keep me going. Music can also help provide a mood, for example I am working on my first children’s book, Hansel and Gretel (pictured), at the moment and I’m listening to a lot of Tchaikovsky.
I may be a commercial artist, but I can’t just churn out drawings like a robot. I have to feel confident and happy to produce good work. This is something I have struggled with in the past, and when I’m lacking in confidence my work tends to grind to a halt. I have found that switching to something else and working on a different project for a while helps a lot. I’m not much of a morning person so I try to do my emailing and errands in the morning and draw more in the afternoon and evening.
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