naomi wilkinson is a brilliant illustrator based out of bristol, england. what continues to amaze me is her simple style that conveys so much, it's just enough and always suggests so much. i dream of having a style as strong as hers. naomi is busy illustrating for clients all over the world, but took some time to talk to us about what drives her.
what is your background?
i went to art school in bristol, studied illustration and graduated almost 4 years ago. for a few years i worked various part times jobs, whilst doing illustration as well, and then this year i quit my part time job because i had a baby. since then illustration has been my main gig. this year has been really busy and a bit crazy juggling work and childcare, but i have amazing support and my partner is also self-employed so we split things pretty evenly. it's been brilliant but also a bit bonkers at times!
how did you develop your style?
i mainly developed my style at university, but also i always try and develop my style to keep things fresh which prevents me and my clients from getting bored. the work i created at the beginning of my degree is pretty unrecognizable from my work now. my tutors were so great on my course and really helped me develop.
what inspires you?
so many different things! i love the color palettes used in mid century packaging and illustration. i'm also inspired by photography and anything to do with graphics and art. my favorite artist is david hockney. work like his, which is bold and fresh, is what really inspires me. there's lots of great things going on in the australian art world too which is really inspiring. i love the tropical tinged, 80's inspired painting that's going on there at the moment.
what has been the best thing you’ve done for your career?
i think the best thing i've done is never quitting, even when i was making little to no money with illustration i kept going which is the most important thing you can do if you want to carve out a career in the arts.
what are you most looking forward to this year and into next?
i'm always excited about what's around the corner. i work for so many different clients and different projects so every day is different. my main jobs are editorial and advertising, but i'm hoping to add lots of new prints to my shop this year too.
what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
never stop working! work creates work. so even you're feeling disheartened, just keep going. one of my most popular selling prints, and one that has led to quite a few cool jobs, was an illustration i did for fun after a bad day at my day job when i was home alone at a loose end. creating personal work for 'fun' is often the best way to create work as when you're enjoying making something it will translate well much more than anything too considered/cynical.