Interview: Johanna Basford

       I may say that Johanna Basford is one of the biggest name in the art scene today and as she set off down the road of freelance, this multiawarded cross disciplinary designer from Scotland  found many project along the way, having a list of happy clients like DKNY, The BBC, Channel 4, The Scottish Parliament, Dazed, Hallmark, Body Shop, and Johnson and Johnson. Its a pleasure that i had a chance to caught up with Johanna in here busy lifestyle and managed to ask her some questions that might be useful for all of us

What is art? 
Art is making a statement, making something beautiful, making something ugly, provoking a reaction and conveying a message.

What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I wouldn't call myself an artist.
I am a designer and an illustrator, but I would not classify my work as "Fine Art".

 Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everywhere and Everything. It is impossible to filter out the millions of influences and inspirations which life bombards us with daily. Be it a coffee cup, a leaf in the park, a tiny scrap of newspaper typography or a game of space invaders - I think everything in my world effects my creativity at some level.

Are there any particular artists or art movements that influence your work?
I love the work of feminine romanticism of Alphonse Mucha, the fairytale charm of Tord Boonjte, the detail and complexity of M C Escher... the list goes on and on....

When did you realise that you wanted to be an artist, or an illustrator? Was it always your dream or did you have other plans in mind?
Always. I honestly can't remember a time when I've wanted to do anything else but draw. As a child I drew on walls, clothes, shoes, my little sister... anything I could get my hands on. Not much has changed (except I don't draw on my sister anymore!)

What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
I think when you are self employed you commit your heart and soul to what you do. My work is my passion and my life. I get up in the morning because I know every day brings new challenges and triumphs, but ultimately, I'm 27 and have my dream job. The real question, is why waste time sleeping?!

What is your forte in illustration?
Super detailed, hand drawn pen and ink. My technique is old school and I can zone out for hours on end, swept away in my inky monochrome drawings.

How did you learn to draw? Do you have any formal training or background as an artist? 
I went to art school and studied textile design and screen printing for 4 years. I'm not sure if I specifically learned to draw at Art school, but I did develop my technique there. Everyone else was working with computers and digital technology. I wanted to be different so instead of buying a laptop and a digital camera, I spent my money on hundreds and hundreds of pens and thick swathes of layout paper.

How would you describe your style?
Intricate, Inky, Hand drawn

Is it possible to teach creativity? how?
I think so. Everyone has the ability to think creatively, we just need to nurture that raw creative spark, to tease it out of you.

What’s your creative process? 
look - think - sketch - think - drink tea - sketch - ink - scan - photoshop - print - smile.

How do you avoid repeating yourself? How do you stay fresh?
I'm constantly working on varied briefs for different clients. Nobody wants to see the same thing twice so I try and inject a little uniqueness into every job I do. I work by hand, so there's no temptation to cut and paste and keep things repetitive, when you use a pen, each line is a fresh start.

What are you working on now?
A series of illustrations to be used in magazine advertising, a book cover for a publishing house, a beer label for BrewDog (www.brewdog.com) and a retail campaign for a big British brand (top secret!)

Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Drawing! I love new briefs, creating those first images, putting together ideas and discussing them with an inspired client.

Do you have any specific goals as an artist?
To become better at my craft.

What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a young art student or aspiring artist?
Persevere. EVERYONE gets disappointments and knock-backs, those who are successful just bounce back quicker.

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