In the second in my series of Meet The Maker blogs, I chatted to my good friend and super-talented illustrator and designer, Charlie Brandon-King about what inspires her, what her favourite materials are and what she would have been in another life.
How did you discover your passion for illustration and design?
I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer and love losing myself in stories, I would even write and illustrate the covers of my own books when I was little. When I finally realised this is what I wanted to pursue, illustration felt like a very natural direction.
I’m sure a huge part of my passion came from my mum though, she has a particular affinity with textiles (an amazing quilter), but could turn her hand to so many things and growing up around that creativity definitely wore off on me. I think being surrounded by fabric with all its patterns and designs planted more than a few seeds too!
What inspires your designs?
I grew up on a farm in Devon and spent a lot of time out in the fields, by the river and in the woods, so nature and the environment are in my blood. There is so much beauty in our natural world and I’m drawn towards the colours, patterns and shapes, as well as feeling an inherent connection to it. I also love folklore and traditional craft and design, it says so much about people and where they/ we came from; a heritage that I believe is so important to know and look after.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
I like the freedom of using lots of different materials and collect a lot of papers, fabrics, ephemera etc for collage and craft and drawing.
I do have a particular love of print though; block printing gives such an incredible quality in the texture and line and having something created by such a hands-on process, like lino-cutting, makes it particularly special. I love the fact it’s such an old process for art and illustration and that it inextricably connects you with your work.
What is your favourite thing about being an artist and designer?
I can’t help but be planning or drawing or making something, so the freedom and flexibility to share my passion with other people, whilst satisfying my own creative impulse is a wonderful thing. I love what I do and feel very lucky to be able to do it.
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing this?
An explorer. I’m as happy with a map in my hand out on the hills, as with a roller in the studio (as you can see on my Instagram). I love exploring and try to get out into nature hiking and camping as much as I possibly can. There’s something very grounding and meditative about being outdoors and breathing fresh air – I get itchy feet very quickly if I’m in the city for too long! It’s also fantastic inspiration for my work, particularly at this time of year, with the shift in colours and landscapes.