Illustrator Sophie Corrigan is known as @ladyaxolotl on instagram, where she has gained a huge following thanks to her images of Puggles and the like. Her super intricate artwork featuring oodles of cute critters and alluring animals will be featured in my upcoming colouring book… read on to find out more.
What are your favourite characters to draw and why?
I always gravitate towards drawing animals, as I’m a huge nature-lover! Any and all are really fun to draw. As a warm-up when sketching, I tend to draw canines, bears and birds, as their shapes are so simple but leave lots of room for experimenting – i.e., gangly legs, wonky eyes, and silly stances!
What drew you to the theme of leaf litter for the colouring book pages?
I knew I wanted to base it upon a woodland or forest theme, as there’s lots of scope for including different creatures and floral shapes. In the past I’ve drawn woodland scenes, but I quite liked the idea of zooming in a bit this time to get a different perspective. That would allow me to draw some of the smaller critters such as squirrels and hedgehogs (which I love!), and also explore intricate details that might be found on the ground in a wood – which I thought would be great fun to colour!
Why have you decided to head back to college for a masters?
Since leaving Uni in 2013, I knew I wanted to go back and study on the Children’s Book Illustration MA course! My dream is still to have a children’s book published, and this is just another step towards that goal. I met a lot of inspiring people at Uni, and really felt that my work improved a lot while I was there – and I know there’s still so much to learn. There were visiting lecturers and lots of opportunities for feedback that I’ve really missed. I decided to wait a while before heading back, to build up my portfolio a bit and see if I could work as a freelance illustrator for a while. I really can’t wait to be a student again and improve my work more!
How come you live in a sweet shop, who does it belong to and do you get any freebies, what is your favourite sweet and why?
I grew up in it! It’s a little corner convenience shop owned by my parents, and they’re quite known locally for their traditional sweets in jars. It was fantastic as a child (as you can imagine) as my parents weren’t at all strict, and I even got to help pick and test the stock. I still get freebies now, but growing up with it gives you a bit self-control! Plus, I pay my lovely parents rent for the privilege now. I still get excited visiting the sweet stockists. As for favourites, we sell the best fudge I’ve ever had anywhere (not biased), and I’m a huge chocolate fiend (Nestle is probably my favourite), and leftovers from Easter and Christmas are probably the best things ever.
I love your needle felted characters, how did you learn this art?
I was browsing the internet one day and a cute tiny cat caught my eye. After looking more closely, I saw that it was actually a felted ornament made by someone! I had to learn the skill for myself, it just looked so lovely. After looking up tutorials on YouTube, I found that it couldn’t be simpler – all you had to do was poke wool with a barbed needle, and magically it becomes a shape! Stitching in the little beady eyes is my favourite bit, though – that’s when the creatures sort of come to life!
What kind of Plush designs do you hope to make for christmas, any sneak peeks you can share?
It’s not for certain yet that anything will happen with them, but I’ve been designing some plush ideas for Christmas next year. Can’t give away too much about them, but they’re quirky and festive! Most of my work at the minute is in the top-secret stage, and it’s really difficult to not share details as it’s all rather exciting!!
I love the 3D printed axolotl, how was it made and what for?
The 3D printed axolotl I have is not only magical and adorable, but also has a little story behind it! I was contacted by 3D designer Eric Ho on Shapeways (a website that creates lots of different items through 3D printing) via Twitter, asking if I would like to collaborate with him to create a 3D printed Pugtato – which is one of my designs. I’d seen that he had the axolotl for sale, and it looked amazing, so of course I said yes to the collaboration (and ordered one of his axolotls for myself)! So, thanks to axolotls, the Pugtato is now available as a 3D printed sculpture too! It’s turned out just as magical as the axolotl, and they both now happily live together on my shelf.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with a crochet artist? Can we expect more 3D creations from you?
I was contacted by crochet artist Abigial Lim of My Backyard Monsters on Etsy. She’s based in America, but was really enthused by the idea of collaborating, and when I took a look at her work I knew it would be the perfect match, despite the distance. I could never pick up crochet myself so I was overjoyed to see the prototype of my Pugtato created perfectly by Abigail! The first order of Pugtatoes sold out in a matter of hours – I’m just waiting on the next batch to arrive, as I’ve had lots of people asking if they’re still available! I’m sure we’ll work together on more of my characters too. I really love the idea of collaborating, and have a few other exciting collaborations lined up! (Which are, again, top secret at the minute).
Why do you think you have attracted 10,000 followers on instagram, any tips?
I’ve been totally blown away by the support I’ve had on Instagram! I loved the setup when I first joined, and realised quite quickly people seemed to respond to my work on there really well, and my followers gradually increased over time. I just kept uploading my sketches, and my final artworks, and anything that was quite interesting to me. It’s just a perfectly simple setup, and it’s the social media site I update most often because of that. I’ve discovered so many great artists through it, and it’s such a lovely community! Since I started producing work for larger clients, and through wonderful support from sites like Ohh Deer and Redbubble, my followers just exploded. I never thought I’d get so many. I’m quite touched that people appreciate both my artwork, and photographs of hot chocolate! As for tips, I’d just say upload images that you really love, make use of hashtags, and if you’re an artist it’s always lovely to see a sketchbook!
Read about more of my featured artists as they are decided! I can’t wait to share all the talent I have found through the #ameliasccc open brief (check the hashtag to see examples of all the submitted work).
- An interview with Lorna Scobie: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.
- An interview with Feronia Parker-Thomas: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.
- An interview with Hannah Rollings: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.
- Jungle Paradise by Lorna Scobie: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview
- An interview with Jo Taylor: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.