Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Emma Farrarons: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

Amelias_Magazine_ TWWDNU_Emma_Farrarons
Emma Farrarons is a children’s book designer who recently returned to illustration when she began contributing to Amelia’s Magazine. Since then she has hosted a solo exhibition called Hidden Folk in Shoreditch, contributed to Okido kids’ magazine, been part of the 100 Cats exhibition and completed illustrations for her first book. Her contribution to my 10th anniversary limited edition book (and also available as a limited edition gold print) is called Moon Rabbit and features the Chinese legend of Chang’e. ‘By overdosing on a magic pill that grants immortality, poor Chang’e floated all the way to the moon only to reside there for eternity with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is why you can see the silhouette of a rabbit on the moon.’ The colour way was inspired by Klimt’s bold use of gold and ochre and the dress pattern (featuring a few hidden rabbits) reflects a love of printed textiles.

How did you research your idea and come up with a way to illustrate the Moon Rabbit and how did you create the artwork?
When reading your brief I was instantly drawn to the words moon and folklore. I remembered hearing that the Chinese saw a rabbit on the moon. This is how I came to learn about Chang’e, the moon goddess. In a few words, Chang’e overdoses on a pill of immortality and drifts into the sky. She floats into darkness until she lands on the moon only to live there forever with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is how the Chinese came to explain that there is a rabbit on the moon. I found this tale beautiful and wanted to share it through illustration.

What was the most enjoyable part about creating this piece?
Working on the colour, texture, detail and composition have been enjoyable parts. The element of gold influenced my choice of colour. I searched for a palette that would compliment gold in a subtle yet impactful way. I remembered being fascinated by Gustav Klimt in my school years. His father was a gold engraver which is perhaps a reason for Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’, when he applied actual gold leaf on his paintings. This encouraged me to use warm ochres, yellows and midnight blues.

One could say that the illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès was another source of inspiration for his film A Trip to the Moon. In my mind, I have a vivid image from his film. It is of a beautiful woman perched on the moon as as though she’s sitting on a swing. Working into the textures and the detail of Chang’e’s dress was great fun. It was a great excuse to buy gold paint! I love textile design and pattern. If you look closely, can you notice the constellation and hidden rabbits on her dress? A printed pattern can also tell a story.

Who do you think would most enjoy this artwork, and why?
I’d say someone who likes the moon, folklore, when an illustration tells a story, the female form in art, textile, fashion illustration…and rabbits!

How did you end up living in London, and what route did you take into the publishing industry?
I’m originally from Paris. I studied illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art and l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. After Scotland I moved back to Paris to start life as an illustrator. These were very early days, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do just yet. One day, I took the Eurostar to London, loved it and stayed. After an internship in a publishing house, I’ve since worked as a picture book designer and freelance illustrator.

What was the spark that reignited a love affair with drawing?
There had been a time when I had lost a bit of my confidence as an illustrator. With social media, I started to connect with other like minded creatives, including Amelia’s Magazine. You were doing illustration call-outs via Twitter and one particular call-out was the spark that reignited my curiosity to draw and to get out of my comfort zone by using more colour.


Since then, it’s been a busy year of drawing. I’ve collaborated with producer and director Joanna Arong to design a canvas bag for Eskwela Haiyan, a non-profit organisation which raises to help children victims of typhoon Haiyan finish school. I have worked with Fika to create Hidden Folk: A Scandinavian Folklore collaboration around art and food. I’ve completed a textile printmaking course in Sweden and joined the illustration collective Bat Country Collective with illustrators Åsa Wikman, Dani’s Drawings and Karin Söderquist. The last two are also Amelia’s Magazine contributors.

I believe you currently have a book in the pipeline, can you tell us a bit more about that?
I certainly can. In fact, it’s very exciting to tell you more about it. It’s called The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress art therapy for busy people. It is published by Boxtree and comes out in January. It’s a 100 page colouring book filled with black and white floral, geometric, wavy, animal patterns designed to calm and de-stress a busy mind with mindful colouring-in. The book is at this moment at the printers, but I can show you a sneaky peak of some of the pages.

What can we expect from you in the coming year?
Bat Country Collective are planning to exhibit at Fika in the coming year. We are currently brainstorming interesting themes. In the coming year, I’d like to give a bit more time and broaden the content of my blog Un Petit Blog. I’m enjoying connecting with other bloggers and learning more about blogging. It’s an empowering feeling to be ‘all-in-one’ the publisher, editor, curator and illustrator of your own online platform. The latest is that Un Petit Blog has just launched Un Petit Newsletter which will be packed with interesting news including: Exclusive doodles, Favourite finds and tips when out and about, The very latest news on my illustration projects, And much more… The 1st newsletter my subscribers will receive will feature TWWDNU!

You can read more about Emma’s process here and sign up to her newsletter on Un Petit Blog. Click on over to my Kickstarter campaign to grab one of her stunning Moon Rabbit artworks featuring faux gold leaf. There are only 10 available, so snap yours up fast. Only £45!

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,100 Cats, ,Asa Wikman, ,Bat Country Collective, ,Boxtree, ,change, ,Chinese, ,Dani’s Drawings, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Emma Farrarons, ,Eskwela Haiyan, ,Fika, ,Georges Melies, ,Golden Phase, ,Gustav Klimt, ,Hidden Folk, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Jade Rabbit, ,Joanna Arong, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kickstarter, ,l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, ,Moon Rabbit. Moon Goddess, ,Okido, ,paris, ,That Which We Do Not Understand, ,The Mindfulness Colouring Book, ,Un Petit Blog, ,Un Petit Newsletter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Karin Soderquist: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

K Soderquist - The Magicians Assistant
Karin Soderquist studied at Camberwell College of Art and first captured my attention at her 2011 graduate show. She is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden, has contributed to numerous exhibitions and publications, and is a member of Bat Country Collective with Emma Farrarons. The Magician’s Assistant was guided by a subconscious instinct to make an image with a little bit of magic. ‘As I started working on the image the woman turned into a cyclops. I added more details such as the pigeon, the gloves and the apple, but the final question remains: who’s the magician and who’s the assistant?

K Soderquist - Mermaid
Your artwork is the result of a conversation with your subconscious… is this a common way for you to work and if not why were you inspired to work in this way?
When working on illustration commissions there are usually a lot of planning before sitting down and actually making the illustration. You have to send sketches and roughs to the client to show them your idea so that they can say if they like it or not. Therefore, when working on personal projects, I sometimes like to take a different approach where I don’t plan ahead as much. I usually start out with just a rough idea of what I want to do and start drawing. I find it a very relaxing way of working. That’s how I created my submission for That Which We Do Not Understand. And I felt like letting my subconscious guide me was very much in keeping with the theme of the brief.

K Soderquist - Dancing Cats
How do you put your illustrations together?
Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a way of working that I really enjoy. I start off by drawing the image out in pencil. Then I cut out all the pieces of the image in coloured paper, scan them and reassemble them in Photoshop where I add the colours. I like the hand made feel that working with paper and scissors gives the illustrations and finishing the work digitally gives me a lot of freedom to play around with colours and composition.

K Soderquist - Akademikern
You have done a lot of work for Akademikern, what kind of magazine is this?
It’s a magazine for the members of the union SSR. It’s for people who’s studied HR, economics and behavioral sciences etc. It’s always a lot fun getting commissioned by them, the art director and the editor are great to work with and the articles are always interesting to read. I love the challenges that doing editorial illustration can bring!

K Soderquist - sexy pastries
I adore your Lets Fika pastry images… can you tell us more about the deserts featured? what is your favourite?
They’re all traditional Swedish pastries, I did them for an exhibition at the swedish cafe Fika on Brick Lane about two years ago. It’s a chocolate ball, a princess cake, a semla and a cinnamon bun. I made them into pin-ups to add a bit of swedish sin. My favourite Swedish pastry is actually not included. It’s called a Dammsugare (which means vacuum cleaner) or Punchrulle. It’s flavoured with arrack and covered in bright green marzipan, yummy!

K Soderquist -Atomic Love
Why did you decide to study in the UK?
I wanted an adventure and I’d been daydreaming of living in a big city for a while, so studying was a good excuse to move there! It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. After about four years I got home sick and moved back to Sweden but now I feel home sick for London!

K Soderquist - Marie
I first came across your work at your graduate show, what is the most important thing you have learnt about working in illustration since leaving uni?
Everything, haha! In hindsight I think there are a lot of really important things you don’t learn at art school (at least not on the course I did). I’m still figuring a lot of stuff out. But I think the most important thing I’ve learnt is how to work quickly and how to make an illustration I’m happy with in a couple of days or sometimes a couple of hours!

K Soderquist - Freak Fruits
You can read more about Karin’s work here and buy her fabulous gold leaf art print on my Kickstarter campaign page here.

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,Akademikern, ,Bat Country Collective, ,Camberwell College of Art, ,Dammsugare, ,Emma Farrarons, ,Fika, ,illustration, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kickstarter, ,Punchrulle, ,stockholm, ,Swedish, ,That Which We Do Not Understand

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