Meet the Maker: Rebecca Clarke

16th December 2020

Hear from the minds behind the work

How did you get into illustration?

Drawing has always been one thing I knew I was good at. I would draw for friends at school, I painted murals on my walls at home. I had no idea that illustration was a career until I was finishing University for graphic design. As I was working on my final thesis project, I acknowledged that painting portraits was what I had a burning urge to work on.

Describe your style in three words

Colourful, Honest, Intentional.

How did you find your style?

I have always enjoyed drawing people, but the way I draw them now came about while working on an early job for Riposte magazine. I knew the print quality and design was going to be top-notch so I was really motivated to get it right. I made stacks of portraits, trying to simplify, trying all sorts of techniques. I was drawing Diane Pernet, using coloured lines and black lines, with some painted shadows and then I felt something. I had a goosebump feeling of, hey, this is working!

What tools or programmes do you work with?

I use gouache and coloured pencil mostly, then scan in the physical work and make adjustments in photoshop.

Who or what inspires your work?

That depends on the project. The client themselves can inspire me, or the subject matter. I get inspired by going to new places, wanting to remember and record an interesting face. Psychology is an endless source of inspiration for me. I’m always dissecting my thoughts and curious about other people’s internal lives. It’s part of why I love to paint people.

What excites you most about a project?

I like being at the place where sketches have been approved and I’m happy with them and I have time to spend painting, bringing the situation, thought or person to life.

When you’re briefed on a project, how do you begin the creative process?

Lots of sketching. I’ll look for inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram, or in my personal archive. Sketching can be very challenging, as can painting for a new client on the first day or two. It takes a lot of confidence to look at your ugly sketches and paintings, not judge yourself and want to give up, but know that there is magic in here somewhere, to just keep working at it.

Is there anything you’d like to do or experiment with in the future?

Literally millions of things! I’d like to work more in fashion, with clay, make wallpaper, work on more personal projects. I’d love to paint large portraits, for myself, to experiment with other mediums that are unfamiliar.

Is there anything you’d like to do or experiment with in the future?

I recommend getting advice from illustrators you look up to. Have guides/mentors, we don’t have to do everything by ourselves. This profession can be a lonely one if you don’t share a studio with other creatives, so community is key. It’s something I think about a lot and try to continue to cultivate.

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