Questioning Creatives


This article was written on 12 Dec 2012, and is filled under illustrators.

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Eleanor Taylor

Hi my name is Eleanor Taylor, I am 25 years old and I live in Brighton, England.  I grew up in Hampshire and studied for a BA in Illustration at Norwich School of Art and Design.  A year after graduating I went on to do an MA at the Royal College of Art.  I graduated in 2011 and lived in London for a year before moving down to the coast.  I have been published in Granta and Ambit, and was nominated for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012.

When did you decide you wanted to be illustrator?
I was home educated until the age of 16.  Creativity was always encouraged and around the age of 12 I cleared out the garden shed and turned it into a studio.  I decided I would work towards going to the local sixth form college to do a full time BTEC art course and studied the minimum amount of academic subjects so I could get in.  The rest of the time I froze myself to death in the shed drawing oil cans and rather bad copies of Pre-Raphaelite women.  My parents were really supportive and without their encouragement I might not have taken this path in life.

Would you recommend studying at art school?
Absolutely.  It was a tough old time but also a brilliant one.  I felt like I didn’t have a style and worried about my work and how it would fit in.  I still do.  But it was a fantastic experience to meet a load of other people who have the same interests.  Perhaps one of the best things about art school was being exposed to great art, music, film and books which have been a huge source of inspiration.   Without having gone to art school I would be completely oblivious of all the fantastic material out there.

How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?
It still isn’t!  I feel like it is very much early days. I have to work in a shop part-time to cover my bills while I work on my illustration.  This isn’t so bad as I think it gives me even more drive to work towards illustration being my primary source of income.

Could you describe your typical day?
I get up around eight thirty.  I am very lucky as my boyfriend makes me a cup of tea every morning!  It takes me a little while to get started as I am not a morning person.  I like to check emails and read a bit of news then I head to the studio for around ten.  It is freezing at the moment and with no heating I have to layer up and wear fingerless gloves or else my hands freeze.  At the studio I draw, experiment, start new pieces, get frustrated, rip up paper and start again.  Then I head home around five thirty.  This is because my feet have frozen and if I stay any longer I won’t be able to walk.  As the studio has no internet connection or scanner, I bring home work and do my digital touch ups and colouring in the evening.  I like to get all the thinking done in the studio and then easier tasks at home in the evening.

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
Not to be shy and just to get the work out there and not worry so much.  I wish I had been more business savvy – this is something I am still learning.

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?
Being my own boss, drawing and doing what I love.  And of course tea breaks whenever I fancy.

What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator?
Self doubt, worrying about money and if I will work in a shop part-time for ever!

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
I would carry on making my work.  Pretty much what I do now.

Any other tips you could share?
Always have your own projects to work on and make sure something is achieved every day be it little or small.

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