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Interview with an artist: Sophie Corrigan

This week we talked to illustrator and artist Sophie Corrigan, who joined Wraptious through our Spring Competition this year. Her super-cute animals, puns, and an endearing illustration style make it easy to see why Sophie's work has such a following online. See what she has to say!

1) How long have you been working as an illustrator/artist?

It's scary to think as the time has just gone so quickly, but I've actually been working as an illustrator for seven years! I'm eternally grateful for that - it really is my dream job.

2) What's your process - where do your ideas come from? How often do you draw?

Ideas can and do come from literally anywhere - the trick is recognising good ones and noting them down. I keep a list on my phone and always make sure I use it, even when I'm half asleep (when good ideas often appear!). A lot of the time my ideas come from seeing quirky creatures on TV, or hearing a silly word or phrase. You just have to train yourself to spot them, and think creatively all the time. Sometimes going back to notes can spark new thoughts, so it's really important to get stuff down! It's really fun and exciting to carve out a whole story (for example) from just one nugget of an idea, but also takes lots of thought, dedication and discarded ideas to get there. Lately I've been drawing every day, but I try not to be hard on myself if I take some days off to recharge - I've learned that resting is just as important for the creative process as putting the hours of graft in!

3) Which other artists have inspired you?

I'm really drawn to (pun intended) naive, quirky and silly illustration, and am in awe of so many current children's book illustrators. There's SO many artists I love, but some of my favourites include David Shrigley, Vic Reeves, Quentin Blake, Axel Scheffler, Sara Ogilvie, Matt Sewell and Seo Kim. Take a look at who I'm following on Instagram for more, because there's a lot of amazing illustrators (and sculptors) out there and I've missed a whole lot out!

4)What have you found most challenging about the industry/ being an artist?

I think having a work-life balance and managing my time has been the hardest thing. I've dedicated so much of my time and effort to my practice as an illustrator, that I've sometimes forgotten to take time out for myself! I think that happens to a lot of self employed people though - especially when it's a job you love! I'm naturally an anxious person and put a lot of pressure on myself to not let anybody down, so deadlines can be challenging sometimes. That being said, I think I thrive under pressure, just as long as it's not too much!

5) What's been your biggest achievement/ the artwork your proudest of?

It has to be my books - my favourite so far being 'Animal Anatomy'. I always hoped I'd have some books published, but never actually thought it would happen, and I feel so lucky! I'm really excited for my upcoming books 'The (Not) Bad Animals' and 'Pugtato' - I've written and illustrated them both, and 'Pugtato' is even in rhyme! 10 year old me would be overjoyed.

6) What advice can you give to artists trying to 'make it' in the industry?

Do lots and lots of work that you love and enjoy - if you like it, chances are someone else out there will too. Mistakes are good and experimenting makes you improve, so fill lots of sketchbooks with whatever! Don't be too worried about putting your work out there (especially if you don't think it's perfect - I think imperfect is better!), and make sure to get an online presence so the right people can find you.

7) Where do you draw? do you have any pets or animals to offer some inspiration?

I usually work in my loft studio or in the living room, which is home to my two sweet cockatiels Tilly and Freya. They're the greatest pets in the world, and make me laugh daily with their adorable little antics. I'm proud to be a crazy bird lady (and 'animal person' in general), and I think this shows in a lot of my illustrations!

8) If you weren't drawing, what do you think you'd be doing?

Maybe working in a pet shop or working with animals in some way (too squeamish, allergic and / or useless to be a vet), possibly writing in some form (I wanted to be a poet when I was little, and for a while wanted to just write film reviews), own an art gallery / quirky gift shop, or I'd be a really, really bad musician.

9) What would be your dream illustration job?

I know it's controversial, but I'd love to do some work for a GOOD zoo, like Chester or London, or a wildlife charity like the RSPB. Anything supported by David Attenborough is good in my books! It would be ace  to design an album cover for basically anyone signed to Sub Pop too. I'd also love to design some quirky plush for Jellycat, I did some work with them a few years ago but sadly it never turned into anything - I'd so love to work with them again as I'm obsessed with their products.

10) You're stranded on a desert island. What three things could you not live without?

Obviously my birdies Tilly and Freya, sustenance (namely lots and lots of tea), and music. I would have said a pencil and paper, but I can always draw silly critters in the sand!

You can find Sophie's cute giftware range on her Wraptious page

Follow Sophie on instagram @ladyaxolotl


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