Designer Interviews - Week 4
Next up is the super talented Lizzie Mackay. She is a illustrator and designer with an established background and over 15 years experience in childrenswear graphics, illustration and surface pattern design.
Hi Lizzie, I'm super excited to interview you and that you agreed to these series. Thank you so much!
If I had to describe your work it would be something like a perfect mashup of imperfection. Hope that makes sense! There is a delicacy and nostalgic feeling to your illustrations that is instantly recognizable. Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Ha, thank you. I like your description, especially the imperfection bit :-) I get inspired daily literally from everywhere. I’m a complete Instagram addict. Also blogs, the high street, books, gardens, interior magazines, birds, anything really. It can be the simplest of things, a pattern, a pair of colours, a bedroom wall, accidental marks on paper. Once I’m bit, it’s like an itch that needs scratching until I get the idea down on paper.
Do you mind sharing what is your working process?
Most of my work starts with hand drawing in pen and ink, then scanning in and playing in Illustrator. I like the accidents and surprises that happen during this process. My new studio is currently under construction. I’m in the middle of moving to the sunny side of the house which will be so much better as I’m definitely solar powered. The downside is we’re doing all the renovations ourselves in our spare time so it’s taking far too long for my liking.
Being a Freelance Designer can be challenging in many ways, you have to be self disciplined, a multitasker and sometimes feel the pressure of being financially insecure. What challenges have you faced along the way?
All of the above and more, monthly, weekly and daily. I’m always looking for new ways to juggle homelife, the children and work. It’s a fine balancing act that’s for sure. Sometimes amazing, sometimes exhausting. Having my own PA, nanny or personal chef would be nice, ha ha.
What are your thoughts on selling outright instead of licensing? Do you look at other forms of income?
Both are good. My background in childrenswear print was almost entirely outright selling but recently I’ve licensed as I’ve branched out into different fields and I really like it. Most of my work recently are briefs with clients, but my personal work I like to keep for myself and I decide if I want to part with it or license it, or just keep it for me.
Did you have a dream client? And if so have you managed to work with them?
I really feel I’ve had so many dream clients already. Of course, I have the ‘Land of Nod’ and ‘Paperchase’ dream but I’ve recently decided that a dream client is one where you just love the brief, love the clients and the inspiration is flowing. It can be for a big name or a tiny company, it doesn’t matter. In the future I’m planning to work on something for myself… that’s probably my biggest dream.
We would also love to know a little bit more about you. What other hidden talents do you have?
My kids say I make the best chicken pie, like EVER, and I have a secret addiction to Pretty Little Liars. And I love keeping fit. keeps me happy, sane and focused.
Any exciting projects for the future?
I’m working on some really lovely children’s books at the moment, which are a new direction for me and I’ve just worked on a pretty special Christmas something with a big client which I can’t wait to see.
Finally would you like to give any advice for new and upcoming surface designers and illustrators?
Yes, enjoy what you do and work hard. If you enjoy it, the working hard bit shouldn't hurt too much. But look after yourself. You’re no good to anyone, work or family, if you haven’t got a good balance. x
Thank you Lizzie for having the time and courage to share more about yourself and your art. It has been wonderful to get to know you better.
Please keep doing what you do because the world needs your art!!