Interview: Sophie Filomena – Illustrator

Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
“Hi, I’m Sophie Filomena, based in Bristol (UK) and I draw things.”

How did you get started doing what you do?
“Drawing was just something I always enjoyed doing. I loved school growing up and have had a few hobbies, but art was something that just stuck with me. I can’t remember consciously perusing it properly until a couple of years ago. I’ve just always remained stubborn with the fact that I like to do what makes me happy!”

Sophie FilomenaSophie Filomena
What’s your inspiration?
“I’m not sure what inspires some of my pieces until months after I’ve completed them. I guess they reflect what’s going on in life at the time, and what’s interested me and how I’m feeling. I think the themes myths, dreams and nature pop up a lot in my illustrations. I also think surrounding yourself with people is a good source of inspiration, as they have their own stories that you can incorporate in to your work.”

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
“I’d tell myself to keep drawing and ignore the people that tell you ‘art won’t get you anywhere’. Things will happen naturally, as it’s about growing (as cheesy as that sounds). But you also have to stay motivated – and most importantly, just have fun with it.”

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“One of my tutors told me something that sounds really obvious now, but at the time it was an eye opener. Create images that you enjoy making – so that way people will hire you and pay you money to do something that brings you joy. Rather than creating images you think the creative industry wants.
I was quite shy with my work and a bit lost, so this really helped me in a big way.”

Sophie Filomena
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
“Not to settle for second best. Just be relentless in everything you do. If you really want something you will make it happen. Look inside yourself for inspiration, rather than thinking ‘What will make me the most money?’

Also, promote yourself via the internet and other means. If you want to be hired as an artist, there’s no point doing the work if no one’s going to see it! Also, have fun with it – don’t see art as a job and a way to make ends meet.”

What are your thoughts on art school?
“Art at A-Level was a soul destroying experience. I felt it killed off some of my creativity and made me extremely uptight with the work I was producing. I was probably unlucky with where I was, but I felt if I stuck to their generic criteria for too long – I’d lose all sense of identity with my work.
A-Levels were not for me, but things changed when I entered an actual art college which was equipped with some of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever known. They knew how to handle aspiring artists individually, and would encourage experimental behavior within illustration. The whole thing was really refreshing and I felt I was learning something valuable, which still stays with me.
Art College really prepared me for University, where I started to develop my visual language a lot more and make connections. The teachers were so wise and crazy, and I felt very honored to be a part of it. I’ve generally had a great experience within education, and was lucky enough to study at some great institutions.”

Sophie Filomena croud-1
What art supplies do you use?
“I love using Gouache, Molotow paint pens and Pro-markers. Anything that produces bold colour and is easy to work with in Photoshop.”

Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Bryce Wymer, Marina Munn, Rob Hunter, Pam Wishbow… The list goes on. So many amazing artists out there!”

Follow Sophie Filomena on FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr!


  1. I really appreciated Sophie’s comment regarding how important it is to create what one wants to create. People often say, “Oh, you should do this” or “I bet ____ would really sell” in an attempt to be helpful, and it sometimes feels foolish to turn them down. Still, with time being so precious, it sees equally foolish to ignore what is bubbling within.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sophie, I really like your art work. I also found it interesting about what you said about “Art at A level being a really soul destroying experience”. Many years ago – I did a single only art class and came away thinking that if I continued on I would go off track to where I wanted to go with my art work. So I decided to do just what I wanted to do and not be too concerned about what others wanted … its been an interesting journey. I hope you keep on with your artistic efforts in a way that is rewarding financially but also a joy to do…great art work!…Karen



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