Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Sarah Hanson - Caroline Tomlinson

Sarah Hanson has been working with the AOI for a few years now, I remember finding her work in the first year and almost writing to her in the second year but I had run out of time. I chose to mail her this year, due to her initial practice and how she creates her images from looking over them, she has a very much hand crafted technique similar to my own practice. Her work reflects similar design concepts to Martin O'neil and Michelle Thompson. Last year I mailed Caroline Tomlinson, who too, worked in a similar style. Although the work doesn't resemble my own in terms of the 'look', I am taking into consideration, the process and practice to how these illustrators have produced. -The technique of hand-craft- illustrations and how this practice has dominated in some illustrations, in comparison to computer-aided design, which has become a talking point of the illustration industry. I posted an article about hand-craft my David Crow a while a go.

I have sent an email to Sarah Harison about her working method in relation to my own, trying to question the problems I sometimes have, questioning her advice.


Dear Sarah,

I am a student in my final year of a BA Hons of Illustration. I came across your work on the AOI website, and wanted to write to you last year about your work but sadly got pushed back with time. Your Illustrations are remarkable and constantly inspire me!
As part of my degree, I need to build up information about Illustrators/ Designers and the Design Industry.

I know how busy you are but was wondering if you get a spare moment, I could have your opinion on a few questions below?

  • What are your influences and what inspires you?

  • How close is a final piece to your initial conception? Do you create roughs, or is it a case of 'play' with elements?

  • What would you say makes the difference between success and failure when trying to establish yourself in the design industry?

  • What was the easiest way to establish and promote yourself within the wide world of Illustration?

  • Within your work, you to use found imagery as a primary element, which conveys a somewhat layering system to your work; I tend to rely on shape within my work, but still maintain to let photographic elements inform a piece. I began to find that I didn't always have the right photograph for example. How do you source your materials and do you ever struggle to find the right element?

  • Do you rely on computer programs such as photoshop to assemble your images or is it entirely handmade?

  • I have included a short PDF of some of my work, I would Value your opinions or any thoughts you may have. Thankyou.

  • What advice would you offer an aspiring Illustrator?

Thankyou so much for your time, any of your feedback to any of the questions would be greatly valued! I look forward to hearing from you!

Kind Regards,

Sarah Hilton.


Above are some piece of Caroline Tomlinson, you can see the comparison with Sarah Hanson.

I have also included an email from Tomlinson as research in relation to the to my practice and the practices of those within the design industry.

Dear Caroline,

I am speciafically interested in your collage pieces you have made, they are gorgeous! Ok, 5 questions.

  • How do you develop your ideas?
I am naturally a bit of a collector so I have hundreds of old magazines and books in my studio that I can flick through and get excited about new elements that I can use in my work. These elements tend to help me generate ideas and sometimes I start something without a solid idea in my mind and its not until I have spent time working on it, does the final idea present itself.

  • Who/ What inspires you to create mixed media pieces?
Peter Blake is a big inspiration for me. He is the King of Collage in my eyes! His mix of collage and type and colour is inspiring.

  • Have you had any favourite jobs?
My most favourite job was for an exhibition to celebrate my agents first birthday. It was an open brief as the only thing it had to be was about birthdays. I just had some fun and tried something a little new in my work, a symmetrical collaged frame and I learnt a lot in doing a slightly new approach to image making. It was good fun, and it also won silver for self promotion in this years AOI annual (which is now last year!) Which was rather nice!

  • How did you get from being a design student to part of the design industry?
I started as a designer and still do design. However, in the last two years I have moved over more towards art direction which I am enjoying. And it gives me a chance to pull on all the influences that inspire me. Photographers, illustrators and fashion. It's lovely when I work on a project and I have managed to use a less than well known illustrator or photographer who's work I admire. I find that very satisfying. Recently I have felt all my influences have pulled together in what I do, be that art direction, or illustrating. They are just different outlets for my creativity - and both feed into each other rather nicely.

  • Have you any advice for an aspiring illustrator like myself?
Work hard! Make sure you leave with a portfolio that shows the best of what you do. Looking back at both my BA and my MA a lot of people leave without a proper portfolio and believe me you wont have the opportunity again to create work for yourself! It's actually a very self-indulgent time, and looking back I wished I had known that in the working world it's hard to give yourself a day to create some new work, let alone a full week! So enjoy it  and work, work, work. It always pays off in the end.

I wish the best of Luck for your future.

Kindest Regards


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