Say hello to Harriet Gray, a self-confessed potential ‘crazy cat lady’: ‘I think it can be quite common amongst artists,’ she says. ‘Maybe it’s an occupational hazard from working at home alone every hour of the day…’
Other than drawing – and cats, of course – Harriet loves swimming, going for long walks and looking at all the wonderful ‘naturey type things’. She is also currently learning to knit. Read on to discover why – if she weren’t an artist – she might be a scientist, and also find out what inspires her work.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m an illustrator, and work primarily in pencil, with an added mix of water colour, crayons and charcoal. I was born and raised in Shropshire. I can’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t been doing something creative/art based, and I feel incredibly lucky that it is possible to do this as a living! I had the usual education, A level, foundation and then I surprised my family by randomly deciding to go to a uni 200 miles away from home (Bournemouth Arts Institute). Since uni I have been slowly working towards a full time career in illustration, whilst indulging in a few self-initiated projects along the way. I also create a variety of pretty accessories for you and your home, all of which are adorned with my drawings, and can be bought in my Etsy shop.
What are your inspirations?
A lot of my work tends to feature pretty girls and animals. I am really interested in science and nature and I enjoy looking into human and animal instincts and behaviors and the way they link together. (I like to think if I weren’t an illustrator I’d be some super clever scientist lady researching all about these things). Without sounding too cliché, I find a lot of inspiration in everyday life and the little things that happen around me. I really enjoy drawing lots of tangled hair at the moment, I don’t really know why.
What’s your favourite piece of work you produced?
I think so far my favourite illustration I have produced is Summer Solstice, which I created last year. I enjoy the discipline of creating highly intricate and detailed illustrations, so that’s probably the reason why I like this one so much. I’ve been working on quite a few pieces since the New Year that I am starting to like, and when they’re finished I may have to change my answer!
Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?
I couldn’t possibly choose an absolute favourite, there are just too many amazing illustrators out there. I tend to ‘go for’ art/illustrations that is quite different to my own work. I find it so inspiring to look at someone’s work and be totally baffled at how they do it! Some of the people I get total work envy over are Lindsey Carr, Sarah McNeil, Charmaine Olivia, Natasha Newton, Lilly Piri and Yelena Bryksenkova.
All images © Harriet Gray. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.