Q & A with Claire Hartigan
Claire Hartigan was born in Oxford and studied BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation at Kingston University London. She creates soft and intricate illustrations that have a gentle magical quality to them and we particularly love her owl and bear characters. Her prints and products are super popular here in LMNOP and we spoke to her about her background and inspirations.
Have you had a happy 2011 so far?
This year has gone very fast, I literally don’t know where the time has gone! I traveled to Sweden recently; it is one of my favourite places and was my fourth visit. It is very inspiring and so lovely, although the flight back was a bit scary because the engine had an oil leak! The pilot should’ve probably kept that one to himself!
I also have some new stockists selling my work in different parts of the world, including LMNOP, which is exciting.
Tell us about your background. Do you remember drawing a lot when you were a child?
Art was always my favourite subject at school and I always put far more effort into my art homework than any other subject, so it was a natural progression to continue with it after I left school. My degree at Kingston University left me in little doubt that illustration was the right path for me to take and it’s only now that I realise that as a child I was heading towards this point without realising it, my love of image making has always been there.
We’ve had a sneaky peek on your lovely blog and we saw you had recently purchased tools for creating woodcuts. It’s always daunting and exciting venturing into a new medium. How has it been?
I have found it quite challenging adapting to the process, as I’m used to drawing with very fine tipped pens and have had to work in a much bolder way. I have been trying to create the right image to make a woodcut from and I think my procrastination must have something to do with the fear of a new medium and making mistakes. I’ve always found it confusing working out what areas of the block I need to cut or leave, everything is all back-to-front and inside out with relief printing.
How long does it take you to create a drawing?
I never keep track of how long my drawings take and always find it difficult to answer when people ask me. I have two ways of drawing really, detailed drawings like my ‘River Otter’ can take many hours to complete whereas my simpler designs take much less time, like my polar bears (although I re-draw some things so many times until I’m happy).
Can you describe your workspace? Do you have a messy or a tidy desk?
I am quite an untidy person! I never realised this until I left home to go to University and brought my messy habits with me.
I share my studio with my boyfriend who is a product and furniture designer, so we have bits of his furniture, models, material samples and all my paper, pens and key rings all in one place so it can get quite messy!
Claire's work space
Your illustrations have such a pleasant whimsy to them. What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, wildlife, woodland and all things Scandinavian. The British countryside is the most beautiful place to be though.
Keeping on the subject of inspiration, which people have influenced your work in your life?
Stuart Kolakovic was two years above me at Kingston University and I remember seeing his work at his degree show and loving everything about it, the marks he made and the colours he used looked so new and different to me. His work really inspired me then and I can imagine it always will.
What projects have you got lined up for the future?
As you mentioned I need to get my woodcut underway! I would also like to do some screen printing, which I haven’t done since University and I have two tote bag designs on the way very soon too.
I always dream of one day having my own children’s book published, so I think I should work towards that sometime soon.
We sell your prints and key rings here at LMNOP. Do you think you have a certain type of person that buys your products?
The diverse mix of clients and customers I’ve had for my work since I started freelancing has given me the impression that there isn’t any one type of person buying my work, it’s the biggest compliment when anybody likes your work enough to purchase it, and live with it.
If you had to choose a career besides from illustrating, what would you be doing?
I love animals, so perhaps something relating to them…I have never really considered anything else other than illustration!
You can see find out more about Claire Hartigan and her work here http://www.clairehartigan.com/
To view the wide range of Claire Hartigan prints and keyrings that we stock at LMNOP click here
All images Courtesy/Copyright of Claire Hartigan
Interview By Rosalie Hoskins
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