I’m Becky, I’m originally from the Lake District in the UK but now live on the opposite side of the country with my husband in Cornwall. I’m an illustrator and lettering artist and have been freelancing full time since October 2018. When I’m not working, I’m either outside exploring or curled up with a nature or true crime documentary!
I’ve always been creative and completed my degree in Fine Art from Falmouth in 2015. During that time, I learnt more about what I actually wanted to do with my creativity and realized that the application of my work was really important to me, so I moved away from a Fine Art practice and more into an illustrative one, applying my work to things like greetings cards and stationery to begin with and since moving into book illustration which is my dream!
Thank you! I’ve always been interested in whales but it was a bit of happy coincidence that my first published book is on whales. The idea for book itself was conceived by the publishers, Little Gestalten, and they had someone much cleverer than me write it, Darcy Dobell, a marine biologist from Canada. So I just had to focus on the illustrations and enjoy learning more about these amazing animals, which I love anyway! The book is one I got on board with immediately; I loved the idea of creating something for children which wasn’t just educational in the traditional, factual representation sense, but something that immersed them in the whole world of whales.
Etsy was the start of my creative business journey, with it being the first platform I used to share my work through cards and gifts. Cheerfully Given is a great company which support Christian makers so was something I could get behind and use to share my more Christian focused work while also supporting other makers who create less cheesy Christian focused products. The response has been good, as always with these things there are more popular times than others! Although Etsy and Cheerfully Given hold a place in my heart as the beginning of my illustrative journey, as my work has developed and I’ve moved into more publishing spaces they’re winding down a bit now.
That’s a hard question! Both offer different things; I can get totally lost in an illustration and trying to convey a story through just an image, while lettering is a way of making words beautiful and attractive, expressing the feeling and meaning of a phrase through decoration and lettering. I guess it depends on my mood! Is it a cop out if I answer by saying both! Illustrated lettering let’s say :)
At the moment the World of Whales is my pride and joy. As my first published children’s book it will always hold a special place in my heart. I also illustrated most of it while travelling around the world so I have personal memories attached to different areas of the book, as I illustrated some in Asia and even some in a van in the alps.
They’re my representation. Wild Apple are an agency based in Vermont, US who specialize in licensing and wall art. I joined them in early 2019 and have learnt so much about the differences in working in licensing versus publishing. It’s opened my eyes to a whole different side of my work. Meiklejohn are an illustration agency based in Eastbourne, UK, and represent all things publishing and editorial for me. I only joined their ranks fairly recently but have so far been so pleased with the decision to join them. They not only have lots of connections to areas of illustration I wouldn’t necessarily have found myself, but also project manage and help me develop as an artist.
I have a little office/studio in my Truro cottage, with a big corner desk which puts my husband’s to shame. It’s my little productive area in the house. Working from home is tricky in that I’m easy distracted, so having a space dedicated to work really helps me to focus and be as productive as possible. If I need a change of scene, Truro is full of great coffee shops which provide just the right level of caffeine and background buzz to help me work.
My process always starts with research and sketching. I find Pinterest such a useful tool for just exploring and challenging me to think outside of my comfort zone, see what others are doing and get those juices flowing. Then sketch, sketch, sketch, developing along the way. In terms of tools, I almost exclusively use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil now, using a program called Procreate to produce all of my work. We invested in the iPad before travelling and it’s become my weapon of choice in all of my work. It means I can still draw and feel that hand crafted connection to the work, while immediately making it digital and removing that tricky step of getting it off of paper and into photoshop. It means I’m super-efficient without stifling any of my creativity. It definitely feels like a different art form to working on paper, but it hasn’t taken me long to adapt and learn to absolutely love it.
I know I keep going on about the World of Whales, but it’s available to buy from gestalten.com and all good bookshops! If you love whales and/or beautifully produced hardback books, then please do take a look!
Also if you want to see any more of my work, feel free to visit my website beckythornsdesigns.com.