Emma Brown

Meet illustrator Emma Brown, who spends ‘an upsetting amount of time on public transport – but at least that means I get to read a lot…’

Graduate Emma is, in her own words, ‘not really a hobbies person’: ‘I’m useless at all sports – even frisbees are a struggle for me!’ She is a bit of a genius in the kitchen though and, of course, when it comes to illustrating.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am a freelance illustrator dividing my time between Warrington and Manchester. I graduated in 2010 from Manchester School of Art with a First in Design and Art Direction; the course is geared towards graphic design but halfway through my third year I made the decision to do solely illustration and somehow made it work! Since then have been working hard to get myself noticed in the creative world and grab as many opportunities that come my way. I work with all varieties of materials, I tend to swap around and try new things but I always like come back to paint and pen work.

What are your inspirations?

I find traditions and folklore really inspiring, I have a dictionary of fables and phrases and there are some really odd beliefs and stories from the past that always provide inspiration. I’m also inspired by the places that I visit, buildings particularly houses, animals and fur and anything that has a lot of detail or pattern to it. A lot of the time I use books as a starting point to a project, I like choosing a piece of narrative that will be challenging to interpret into imagery as it keeps the project interesting.

What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?

The stop-frame animation that I made based on the short story ‘The Black Monk’ by Anton Chekhov is probably my favourite piece of work. I enjoyed the whole project as I just produced pages and pages of inky, layered drawings of abstract scenes from the story but turning the drawings into an animated piece was really exciting. I think the short animation complemented the story perfectly and it’s one piece that I’m really proud of.

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

My favourite illustrators are Charles Keeping, Charley Harper and I really like the imagery from Pat Hutchins picture books from the 1960s; I find new illustrators that I love everyday, I think I have hundreds artists bookmarked on my Mac that I find inspiring. Outside of illustration though I absolutely love Tim Walker’s photography, the sets and the concepts are all just wonderful and one of my favourite animators is Yuri Norstein, his work is absolutely beautiful.

Things about myself; I spend an upsetting amount of time on public transport which leads to me reading quite a lot, I’m not really a hobbies person though, I’m useless at all sports (even frisbees are a struggle for me) I do like to cook though!

All images © Emma Brown. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.

Visit Emma’s website, EmmaBrownOwl.com; read her blog here; and say hello on Twitter: @EmmaBrownOwl.

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