Here at Wild Tide I love nothing more than finding out about talented people working in Cornwall. This week I have been quizzing the up and coming Falmouth based illustrator Rachael Saunders, about her past, present and future. I hope you enjoy the interview and her fantastic images that are dotted throughout the piece.
P.S. Don’t forget links to all of her sites are at the bottom of this piece.
Tell us a little bit of history about yourself?
Throughout my childhood I have enjoyed drawing and making things: from paper mache animals to scribbly doodles of my pet cat. It made perfect sense to pursue this, so I decided to come down to Falmouth and study Illustration at degree level.
Doing my degree at Falmouth University has confirmed that art is not simply a hobby of mine, but is a fundamental part of my life. The majority of each day is spent drawing and I couldn’t think of anything more enjoyable and satisfying to do with my time!
Over the course a variety of things have evolved in my work. I have begun to combine my drawing and collage with digital processes in order to create a visual language abundant with texture, pattern and colour. I have a great love for screen-printed images, but prefer to capture the essence of printing digitally, as it allows more flexibility in my work. My current illustrations are predominately aimed at children as I enjoy working on narratives and character design.
I am currently in my third and final year of study, so a lot of exciting things are happening. A trip to New York, and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair are in the pipeline, and I have some ideas for future projects bubbling away. I am looking forward to what this coming year has in store.
Why did you decide to study in Cornwall?
I couldn’t think of anywhere better to study. Cornwall is incredible and ridiculously beautiful. The calming and creative vibe lets me develop my work without the constant stresses and fast pace of city life. Falmouth University is such an inspiring place to study because of its rich and diverse artistic scene.
What is your favourite place in Cornwall?
Without a doubt it would be Crantock on the north coast, close to Newquay. I have spent many holidays there and never tire of its beautiful beaches, cliff walks and surf.
You obviously like children’s books and their illustrations. Which was your favourite as a child?
Looking back I remember reading Roald Dahl to my mum in the kitchen while she was making dinner. Stories such as Matilda, The Giraffe, the Pelly and me and The Twits, combined with the fantastic illustrations of Quentin Blake really fed my imagination and made reading fun.
If you could illustrate any book what would it be?
I have wanted to illustrate the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling for quite some time now because I have always been fascinated by the story and I can envisage developing exciting rich imagery for it.
What inspires you?
So many things inspire me, I generally look to the natural world to trigger my imagination. I enjoy drawing animals because they are so much fun to design, giving each their own individual personality and unique features. They provide such a wide scope for creating exciting illustrations.
I have a long and continually growing list of artists and illustrators that I admire and look to for inspiration, but if I were to pick my current favourites it would have to be Ben Newman and Britta Teckentrup. These two illustrators create work that captivates my imagination through the use of bright colours, bold shapes and playful characters. I am also enjoying looking at a lot of 1960’s children’s illustrations as well as Soviet children’s books because they have such a rich printed aesthetic, which I try to capture in my own work.
What do you aspire to do in your career?
It is my dream to have some of my children’s books published and I would also love to work with some of the big names in the illustration publishing industry, such as Nobrow and Flying Eyes Books. Collaborations with some of my favourite illustrators such as Ben Newman and Lorna Scoorbie would also be fantastic.
If you weren’t arty, where would we find you? What would you be doing?
This is a hard one. I just can’t imagine myself not being arty. Well, I have always wanted to travel, so I guess I would be doing that. I have always wanted to visit Africa, Madagascar and New Zealand to explore, get inspired and see all the wild life there.
Your house is on fire, which one item do you run back in to retrieve?
My pet cat Bruno. Sorry mum and dad!
Who would be your four dream dinner party guests?
Without a doubt David Attenborough as I have always been a huge fan of his, my two favourite illustrators Ben Newman and Britta Teckentrup and I’ll throw in Sid from Ice Age because who doesn’t love him!
If you could travel back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Stop stressing and believe in yourself! Don’t worry about what other people are doing and tread your own path. Follow your instinct and your own creativity.
If you’d like to find out more about Rachael or see more of her work then please visit her pages here: