Scarlett Tierney

This is Scarlett Tierney, a 23-year-old illustrator from Bedfordshire.

When not drawing, Scarlett loves nothing more than ‘rummaging through charity shops, thinking up wonderful ideas and attempting to play the ukulele’. Read on to find out what – and who – inspires her.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’ve always loved drawing so why stop now? My illustrations often focus on portraiture and I work mainly with hand drawing and inks. I adore all forms of printing – there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing your work in print. I studied fashion and textiles but decided to move into illustration because I mostly enjoyed drawing with the sewing machines. I still work with textiles but I’m far too impatient and fickle at the moment, drawing is so immediate!

One of my illustrations has recently been chosen to be in the What I Wore Today, the book of the blog run by illustrator Gemma Correll.

I run a variety of art workshops for adults and children both independently and on behalf of other organisations. I teach art skills and printing techniques, I love lino cutting and I have been brave/foolish enough to teach it in the past (with only minor injuries!) I’ve always naturally guided other people and I enjoy teaching skills and sharing my passions. I never finish a cup of tea.

What are your inspirations?

All sorts, every day occurances, food, architecture,  wildlife. Mostly people are my inspiration and the way the mind works, it’s said communication is 90% non verbal, the rest is made up by our expressions and body language. When working on a portrait the smallest thing like the angle of an eyebrow  or positioning of the lips can completely change the look of a piece and it starts to tell a different story. Which is infuriating if you can’t get it right! I just can’t get as invested in a still life or a landscape. I look through blogs of other artists everyday, they are such a great source of inspiration – being able to see how other artists have tackled problems is brilliant. Twitter is also great to communicate with other illustrators and find out what competitions and collaborative projects are happening. It’s really encouraging when you tweet a photo of something youre working on and you get a positive reply from someone you admire.

What’s your favourite piece of work you produced?

I would have to say my portrait Big Bad Bill, the painting of my boyfriend’s grandad. He’s such an interesting character and I felt compelled to draw him with his beloved birds. The process of creating the illustration was lovely too, as most artists I never feel my work is good enough or finished or how it looks in my head but this illustration came out wonderfully easy. I also realised with this illustration through a happy accident that coffee makes a great skin tone colour. I had some very good feedback when I exhibited the portrait last year and the subject himself gave me his seal of approval too.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

I have too many to mention! I love fellow illustrators who use hand drawing such as Gemma Correll, Laura Di Francesco, Julia Pott, Julie Verhoeven, James Mayhew, John Cuneo and of course the legendary Quentin Blake. I also love painting and textiles; Lucien Freud, David Hockney, Diedre Scherer, Jenny Hart. I could go on!

Visit Scarlett’s blog and website, and say hello on Twitter: @scarlettrebecca.

All images © Scarlett Tierney. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.

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