Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Chloe Hall, a freelance illustrator based in Leicester. I live on a boat, and I work from my little studio shed, where I do all of my drawing and making! I specialize in line work, embroidery and pattern design. I often mix digital prints with the added detail of hand embroidery, and also create stationery items and soon to be fabric-wares, which I’m really excited about! I did creative subjects throughout school, then went onto do an Art & Design Foundation course, which made me realize I wanted to go into illustration. I didn’t think once that I was going to be a freelance illustrator, it has just sort of happened naturally.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I did Graphic Design & Illustration at De Montfort University and luckily had the support from Enterprise Inc. to help me build up my freelance business. I really discovered my style towards the end of uni, and have been developing it ever since. I have always been interested in creative subjects so doing Graphics & Illustration at uni came sort of naturally.
How would you describe your style?
Delicate, quirky and humorous. My work is a mix of illustration and handmade craft. I enjoy having a handmade element into my work, for example incorporating stitch into digital prints and binding my notebooks using my sewing machine, it makes it a little bit more me. My illustrations of women on the beach got a lot of interest from women themselves, and a lot of them enjoyed them simply because they show ‘real women’, I like to think I create work that people can relate to.
What’s your inspiration?
I am a keen observer so people watching is how I get most of my inspiration. People surprise me everyday so a lot of the time peoples’ actions, conversations and their dress sense also inspire me. I also take inspiration from nature, the seaside and fashion.
What does your typical day look like?
I work freelance full time at the moment, so I normally get up, make a cup of tea, and reply to any emails I need to respond to. I then look in my diary to see what needs to be done that day, make another cup of tea, get the biscuit tin and go into my little shed to begin working. I treat my freelance work as my full time job so often I like to socialize in the evenings so I feel refreshed and motivated the next day.
How do you keep motivated?
I think keeping motivated is really important, it’s so easy to become unmotivated and I think the best ways to stay motivated are to plan your time effectively and realistically, constantly research new artists, create mood boards regularly and keep doodling! I also find it’s really important to give yourself time to have a break, it’s really refreshing and sometimes I find when I’m not sitting trying to think up ideas, they come to me easier. Sometimes I get a bit frustrated if I stay inside all day so I like to go out everyday if I can, even if it’s just to nip to the shop!
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to have a successful range of products selling online and throughout boutiques around the country. In the future I would love to have my patterns and illustrations across a large range of products and selling in high street stores, as well as across clothing and accessories. Not much then? Ha.
How have others reacted to your work?
I was lucky enough to exhibit at Pick Me Up in 2014 as part of Codswallop Collective, so that was a great way to get feedback from a wide range of peoples’ opinions on my work, as well as meeting people within the art industry. People have been positive about my pattern work, as well as my hand embroidered prints and compliment my illustrations of people as they have a humorous element. A lot of people were interested in how I create the hand embroidered prints as I stitch into the paper instead of typically stitching into fabric.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
When people see my work I hope it makes them smile! With regards to the products I create, I hope I create keepsakes which people really love and can relate to.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
I would say plan your finances better! I was really excited to jump into creating products straight after uni and I wish I had planned all my products financially before creating them, instead of buying everything at once like an idiot. Saying that, I’m glad I have done everything I have with regards to illustration, as I am really focused this year and know what I need to do.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
‘If you’re not enjoying it you’re doing it wrong!’ Said by Ian Newsham, one of my tutors at university.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Enter all the competitions that will benefit you, send out mailers to design agencies and companies to get your work noticed, never stop doodling and make sure you create a good plan for the year ahead of you as well as SMART goals. Also don’t be scared to approach people, your works not going to sell if it is sitting in your studio in a box, even if they don’t want to stock or buy your work they will probably have some great advice to give you.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I am currently working on a product range which will be released towards the beginning of April. I hope to create two product ranges a year, which will include exclusive embroidery prints, stationery items and a one off fabric product to accompany each range. This fabric item will be different each time and relate to each product range so the element of surprise will be an important part of each product range! I hope to attend more events and markets this year so I’m currently looking at which ones will benefit me the best.
What’s your dream project?
This is hard! I think I would love to create patterns which would be put across clothing and accessories for a well known brand, it’s nice to know people buy your prints, greeting cards, etc. but often you don’t get to see where they end up. I would love to walk past someone in the street who was wearing an item of clothing with my designs on it!
What art supplies do you use?
My most used art supplies are probably my fine liners and embroidery thread.
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Yes… William Wright, Damon Smith, Sarah Glover, Danielle Doobay & Pedro Demetriou. I am in a collective called Codswallop and these are my fellow Codswallops.