Everybody loves traveling and illustrators are no exception. In this month, we will be hearing more traveling stories of illustrators!
“Have fun and enjoy these silly animals with big eyes.” The cheerful English illustrator, Evie Adams, hopes this simple message can be delivered and joy to everyone through each piece of her work. Evie shared with us the one thing she always keeps in mind when drawing: only create what you want and how you want to do it. Read how her colourful and adorable gouache drawings of animals bring happiness to people and her traveling stories below:
AWW: Which drawing is your favourite?
Evie Adams: At the moment I’m incredibly proud of my menu design for The Fig in Rye. It was the most fun commission: I was given a few key words, a rough colour palette and let loose! It was created using Procreate on the iPad, so I learnt a lot while working. (Mainly about clipping masks and pencil brushes!) It was the first image I’d created for a while without any animals, so I needed to find a way for the veg to speak for itself and show movement, I think I hit the nail on the head!
AWW: Could you explain the message behind your work?
Evie: It’s hard to pin point an exact message behind my work. Because, to be honest, it’s hard to me to say exactly why I’m doing it! I know I have always had a passion to create, and can’t see myself doing anything else. But, to say whether there is a message I want to get across is a tricky one...
Maybe it’s self indulgent to only paint/create what you want and how you want to do it, but I know that my work makes people happy and if I can do that with creating something political or incredibly meaningful then that’s just fine too! Perhaps the message is, “have fun and enjoy these silly animals with big eyes”.
AWW: We know that you primarily use gouache in your work, why would you choose gouache and what do you like about it?
Evie: I do! The main thing I love about gouache is how versatile it is. You can thin it out to be used like water colour, or add a tiiiiiny amount of water to use it like acrylic. It can be blended or colours can be layered over each other. Plus, it dries to a beautiful matte finish - I hate acrylic for how shiny it is.
AWW: Could you describe your routine of a typical work day?
Evie: A typical day (on average) goes like this (it’s quite boring)
Wake up around 8 - 8:30am and start work around 9:30am.
I’ll make a huge mug of tea then catch up with emails and check for Etsy orders/messages.
Then I’ll start work on whatever I have planned for that day! I have a small break for lunch then carry on working till around 5pm. When my eyes/hand are tired, I’ll maybe pack a few Etsy things with Netflix on in the background. Sometimes, if I have a tight deadline, I’ll work through till around 11pm.
It seems totally dull!! But if I don’t get up and almost immediately start working, or don’t make myself work through the entire day to a schedule then I will never get anything done! I get told a lot by friends that I work too hard or don’t take enough breaks but I have to remind them that I’m freelance! I don’t have a salary and could be working at my desk all day without earning a penny. With this job, you get out of it what you put in
AWW: Where is your favourite travelling place? What inspirations did you get there?
Evie: I absolutely adore Cornwall! My family have been going ever since I was very small, although it's been a few years since I've been - I'm craving a trip! We usually stay in St Ives, but will travel the coast a bit. The landscape, the wildlife, the air, everything there is inspiring to me. Plus I love how deep rooting in folklore the county is. A beautiful place, I suggest everyone take a trip there.
AWW: Do you draw when you go travel? What essential drawing tools would you bring along?
Evie: I do! The last couple of trips (Paris and Barcelona) I didn't actually have too much time to draw, as we were too busy visiting places, eating and enjoying. However, I always take a LOT of photos of objects I've seen in museums, for example. When I have time to draw, I usually take with me:
A mechanical pencil - I like drawing with very fine lines plus with a mechanical pencil then you don't have to worry about a pencil sharpener. I use 3B lead in 0.5mm.
A couple of fine liners - for quick bold drawing, MUJI 0.5mm are my favourite. In black and red.
Roll down eraser - Perfect for a never ending eraser on the go! This is from MUJI again, they do the best erasers that never leave a mark! I think these have now been discontinued so I'm glad the hoarder in me decided to buy 6 when I realised how amazing they were ha! I got myself a life time supply.
A red felt tip - For blocks of colour, usually a Pentel sign pen.
Ink - Quink by parker made the most beautiful variations of colour when it's washed out. Plus, it dries quickly!
For the ink I bring a dip pen and a water brush!
AWW: Can you share a funny story from your last trip?
Evie: My last trip was to Auchinleck, Scotland to visit my Grandma. Maybe not particularly funny, but we got a burst tire on the way back to her house in the middle of absolute no where. We had her in the back of the car (she's 95). We had to try work out where the hell we were to get someone out to come fix it. That was a lovely trip apart from the tire panic. I visited all the places my mum would visit as a child. The Scottish coast is amazing!
AWW: Can you share your favourite motto or quote to us?
Evie: I'm not one for inspirational quotes, so here's one from Homer Simpson's yearbook - "I can't believe I ate the whole thing".
AWW: What inspired you to draw in this style? Could you recommend three inspiring artists?
Evie: I get asked a lot about how much style came to be... and to be honest, I wish I could pin point an exact time so it would all make sense! Styles develop over a long time, through working and working. Do I like drawing this way? Does this say what I want it to? Do I like this paint or that paint? Over time you see how you like working, your art grows with you forever!
1. I feel the “whimsical” elements of my work stem from my dad’s work. He was an illustrator in the 80s, but now works for himself as an artist. I feel seeing him work when I was a child really shaped the way I create work today. He creates worlds and scenes from olden times. Rich and detailed, you could jump right in. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by working artists while growing up, I’m most grateful for my early insight into “behind the scenes” and the gritty gruelling side that a creative career can take. It’s a lot of hard work and long hours, things not selling, clients not following through with projects. But I feel it’s all worth it to be able to make a career out of doing what you love. My dad has JUST got an instagram account, having relied on gallery websites for years.
2. Agata Piwowar is a polish tattooist, currently based in Paris. I first discovered Agata’s work via instagram and instantly fell in love with it. When I found out she was tattooing in the UK, so close to my house AND on my birthday- I rushed to book an appointment! Since then we have become the best of friends, and have visited each other quite a few times. What drew me to Agata’s work was the warmth, the movement and her beautiful line work. Her tattoos look just like her pencil drawings, I’m so lucky to have one. On her second to last visit, she got a drawing of mine tattooed too. So we both have each other’s work inked onto us. I feel it’s important, as illustrators (which can be a very lonely job) to surround ourselves with like-minded creative people.
3. I think I must name Carson Ellis as an inspiration in every interview I’ve ever done!
There is just something about Carson’s work… The colours, the forms, line work and textures. It’s so simple yet says so much. It’s just all so perfect... not “perfect” in a uniformed way, but perfect in the way that there’s just nothing I don’t like about. Her drawings have an air of mystery about them, you can get absorbed into these strange words, only portrayed in a few block colours and inky line. I could talk about her work for pages, but I’ll stop here!