Rosie Gainsborough is a freelance illustrator based at IdeasTap's Creative Space; her clients include The New York Times, The World of Interiors, Oh Comely and Popshot. Here she explains why she can't work without technology, breaks and noise...
Full name/age/job title:
Rosie Gainsborough, 24, Illustrator.
What does your job involve?
Drawing! But surprisingly I’ve found it to involve less drawing than I’d like – the daily grind of running a business, promoting my work, and seeking the next commission takes up a lot of my time too. When I am working on a commission it involves working with art directors to produce illustrations for various content. I work mainly with editorial clients at the moment, so this might be producing an illustration to enhance an article in a magazine or newspaper. This can involve a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between emails, discussing and developing ideas, and reworking sketches before the artwork is complete and signed off. Day to day my job varies a lot, but I try to fit in as much drawing as I can, whether it be working on commissions or personal projects.
Five things you can’t work without:
I hate to admit to it, but I couldn’t work in the way that I do without it. My MacBook Pro, Wacom tablet, iPhone and the internet are like my arms and legs when it comes to work. It took me a while to accept this – I always felt that using a computer to make work was cheating – but I started using a Wacom tablet a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. The turnover is often very quick for editorial commissions and I’ve missed a commission before because I was out of the house for a few hours and away from my emails – I immediately got an iPhone after that happened! Being able to work with international clients is really exciting, and the internet is such an immediate way to get your work out there and seen by people.
2. My notebook
Although my final artwork is all made on the computer, I get bored of looking at a screen sometimes. It’s a nice break to use a pen and paper, which is where my notebook comes in. I make endless notes and lists, use it to scribble down ideas and do very quick sketches. It’s an important part of the process to work things out on paper, in a tangible and immediate way that isn’t at all precious. My notebooks aren’t pretty – they are a complete mess – but I find them really useful when trying to get my head around an idea.
I can’t work in complete silence! Whether it’s music, some trashy TV, the radio, or a podcast, I always have something on in the background. Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 is one of my favourites. It’s got to be something that doesn’t take up too much headspace, distracting but not too distracting. I’ve recently moved into a new studio space at IdeasTap’s Creative Space, and working around other people really helps. Having good company around you to give advice when it’s needed – or even just to have a cup of tea and a chat with to get you away from the computer for five minutes – is a really good thing.
This might sound a bit unproductive and I definitely don’t put it into practice often enough – but I know that I should do it more. It’s easy to feel guilty for getting away from your desk, and to feel like you’re not working if you’re not putting pen to paper, but if I sat at my desk all day, every day, I’d get completely bored and unmotivated. I’m inspired by daily life, people, music, books, film, museums and it all feeds into my work, so getting out and about to see things or taking the time to read a book or listen to a new album is as important as being in the studio (I think!).
5. Caffeine and sugar
Sometimes the long hours, tight deadlines and insecure finances can become a little overwhelming so dedication and love for the job is definitely essential! But when dedication is waning, caffeine and sugar come into play (lattes and Fruitella mainly – I’ve got a ridiculously sweet tooth), and when the job is done a pint in a pub garden usually helps too.
Rosie is running the Exploring Drawing brief with fellow Creative Spacer Owen Pomery. Apply now to attend their free drawing sessions – for beginners and experts alike.
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Illustration by Rosie Gainsborough.