Amelia’s Magazine | Swatch True Colours – A look at the entries

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Well things haven’t changed for me much over the last twenty years. I yearned for a Swatch watch when I was a boy, mind decease and I’m yearning for one now. I never actually got one – well, sickness visit web that’s what happens when you’re brought up in a mining village and there are more important things in life, here prostate like food, for example. Anyway, who cares? Swatch have recently launched their New Gent collection – a painfully sophisticated selection of watches for gentlemen who appreciate a discreet, slick timepiece with style.

Illustration by Antonia Parker

To celebrate the launch (and promote it, of course) the Swiss watchmakers have collaborated with some of the biggest fashion magazines to pitch stylists, photographers and fashion editors against each other. The result is a fabulous selection of shoots, published in said magazines, with readers given the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

Without any particular brief, the results are breathtaking and very, very different. Here’s a round up of my faves:


Wallpaper‘s ‘Hanky Panky’ shoot is inpired by the plight of 1970s gay casual-sex seekers to find an ‘appropriate’ match. A fascinating subject, I have actually no idea what the different placements mean (honestly, guv’nor – but Wikipedia does throw some light on the situation) but the team at Wallpaper, overseen by fashion director Sebastien Clivaz, have used the phenomenon to great effect.

This gent, on the left, apparently is a submissive gentleman who is fond of sexual practises such as fisting, piercings, S&M, military sex and masturbation only (somebody needs to make his mind up, love…) You can’t go wrong with a bit of camp cowboy styling.

Open Magazine

I love love love Open Magazine’s vibrant colours and hint of eroticism. A pair of flexible friends writhe on top of each other in various poses (but this ain’t gymnastics).

The watches on the models go unnoticed, but this is rectified with backdrops of said watches, blatant in the background. And if that girl can really get a Swatch around her neck, she needs to eat more.

Vice Magazine

In a shock move, Vice‘s entry is a little subdued, but I love their stark shoot featuring up-and-coming musicians. Lots of different photographs feature, from different angles, with Jeremy Shaw, Polina Lapkovskaja and Hugo Capablanca sporting a couple of watches each…

Cleo Magazine

Cleo’s option makes great use of wonderful illustrations. Chiho’s dreamy water-colours envelop their models, blending with body art influenced by the magazine’s Singaporean roots, photographed by Skye Tan.

Tom Magazine

Tom’s quirky offering is all about food. 6 models are pictured gorging on a selection of East Asian treats whilst nonchalantly wearing a variety of the watches. I really like the candid format and saturated colours of Dean Lee’s photographs.

WAD Magazine

I love WAD‘s quirky and eccentric shoot, featuring modern gentlemen in a mix of twee tweeds. These dandies wear a mix of Scandinavian and British tailored items. You don’t see much of the watches, but who cares? These photographs are great!

Kinki Magazine

Kinki‘s offering is probably the most unique, and utilises coloured powders that have been splashed all over models’ faces. It’s a really conceptual shoot and stands out from the rest.

ID Magazine

ID Magazine makes use of ‘streetstyle’ photography, using prolific fashion blogger Bryanboy and accessories designer Fred Butler as subjects. The layouts also feature this pair casually going about their businesses wearing armfuls of Swatch watches, as you do.

To see the rest of the entries and to vote in the competition, visit the Swatch website (where you can also check out some of the fantastic videos produced to accompany the shoots!)

Categories ,Asia, ,Bryanboy, ,Chiho, ,Cleo Magazine, ,Cowboy, ,fashion, ,Fred Butler, ,Gymnastics, ,Hanky Panky, ,Hugo Casablanca, ,ID Magazine, ,Jeremy Shaw, ,Kinki Magazine, ,Magazines, ,New Gent, ,Open Magazine, ,Polina Lapkovskaja, ,Singapore, ,Skye Tan, ,streetstyle, ,styling, ,Swatch, ,Switzerland, ,Tom Magazine, ,Vice Magazine, ,video, ,WAD Magazine, ,Wallpaper, ,Watches

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Amelia’s Magazine | Metric Collective Jewellery Pop Up Exhibition at 94 Columbia Road

Metric Collective show 2011-Myia Bonner
Jewellery by Myia Bonner.

Metric Collective describes itself as a ‘collective of thinkers and doers, troche designers and makers who use co-creativity to engage and empower.’

Metric Collective show 2011-Myia Bonner
Pendant from The Diamond Collection by Myia Bonner.

I went along to the opening event a few weeks back, but the first Metric Collective pop up exhibition runs till 28th August so you still have plenty of time to pop on down. The exhibition has been made possible by Simon, a long time jeweller and owner of the store at 94 Columbia Road, who wants to encourage fresh young talent as well as invigorate interest in his own work. Metric Collective was put together primarily by jewellers Emma Madden and Myia Bonner.

Metric Collective show 2011-Emma Madden and Myia Bonner
Metric Collective creators, Emma Madden and Myia Bonner.

Shimell and Madden are showcasing some delicious gold and silver jewellery that play on the patterns created by gem facets and traditional stone setting skills. Luke Shimell provides the technical diamond cutting brains whilst Emma Madden provides the creative know how – by day she’s a PR for another jeweller in the local area and for the Metric Collective project she brings those skills to the fore.

Shimmell and Madden
Metric Collective show 2011-Emma Madden and Luke Shimmell
Emma Madden and Luke Shimmell.

Myia Bonner graduated from the brilliant Jewellery degree at Middlesex in 2010 and The Diamond Collection is an accomplished series of large diamond inspired cutwork rings and necklaces. Each piece has been hand finished to make it unique. You can also see Myia Bonner at New Designers this weekend.

Metric Collective show 2011-Myia Bonner
Myia Bonner in front of her collection.

As well as jewellery from Shimell and Madden there is also abstract wallpaper and illustrations from Jake Ambridge and a string window installation from Lora Avedian, all based on the geometric theme.

Jake Ambridge Metric Collective
Artwork by Jake Ambridge.

Perhaps most interesting of all are the collaborations – Emma Madden has worked with local school children to come up with some interesting geometric designs which are shown on the wall and the best of which will soon be made up into a piece of jewellery. Metric Collective is also providing a space for work by the Esther Benjamins Trust, set up to help disadvantaged girls in Nepal to make a living.

Metric Collective show 2011-Esther Benjaimins trust
Jewellery by the Esther Benjaimins Trust.

It’s a great idea to pull together creatives from different disciplines so that they can aid and encourage each other in the form of a collective, and it’s one of the first times that I’ve discovered a PR and journalist included in such a line up, their valuable expertise acknowledged for the part they play in promoting small events. You can never have enough help from those who specialise in these subjects, and for those of you still at college it’s well worth bearing in mind – when I teach I always encourage my students to make the most of the varied art and design networks they have available to them at university… contacts that it can be hard to come by once the big bad world beckons.

Metric Collective show 2011-Shimmell and Madden
Metric Collective show 2011

If you find yourself in Columbia Road anytime soon make sure you take a trip down to 94 Columbia Road and check out the talent for yourself. The Metric Collective pop up exhibition runs between 5th June – 28th August 2011. I warn you though… you are likely to want it all. But if you do splash the cash you will be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be supporting some great new talent in the process.

Categories ,Cerise, ,collective, ,Columbia Road, ,craft, ,Diamonds, ,Emma Madden, ,Esther Benjamins Trust, ,Given, ,illustrations, ,installation, ,Jake Ambridge, ,jewellery, ,Lora Avedian, ,Luke Shimmell, ,Metric Collective, ,Myia Bonner, ,New Designers, ,Precious Stones, ,Simon, ,The Diamond Collection, ,Wallpaper

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tent London 2011 Review: Best Surface Design

Kate Usher wallpaper
Wallpaper by Kate Usher Studio.

The printed textile designer in me will always be a sucker for great decorative surface design. Here’s some fabulous stuff that I found at Tent London this year.

Kate Usher Meerkat wallpaper
At the Designed and Made stand I was immediately drawn to Kate Usher‘s marvellous wallpaper designs with names such as Sharkbait and Hang About. She has set out with an admirable mission to shake up the tired old cliches that appear on most children’s bedroom decor, story so expect bold designs, thumb all printed to order on FSC approved base papers… and with the possibility to add a bespoke Swarovski crystal topping. Wow-wee.

Tent London 2012 review -kate usher and sarah blood
Also at Designed and Made I liked the neon Duck lights by Sarah Blood which offer a fun updated version of this kitsch classic.

Tent London 2012 review -flavor paper
Tent London 2012 review -flavor paper
Tent London 2012 review -flavor paper
Brookyln’s Flavor Paper had flown to the UK to showcase their unique wares. What fun! I particularly loved their hot air balloon display and given their provocative name I couldn’t help asking if any of their designs were actually scratch ‘n’ sniff – to my delight I discovered that indeed the cherries were. All their designs are created to buyer specifications, either digitally or via traditional screenprinting.

Tent London 2012 review -bluebellgray
Digital printing was used to great effect by Scottish designer Fi Douglas of Bluebellgray, retaining the feel of pretty hand painted floral watercolour textiles.

Tent London 2012 review -happy happy bows
I am not sure which section these Happy Happy oversized bows fit into since they are essentially an entirely useless bit of decor. Made by RCA trained designer Stephen Johnson, these kitsch creations are intended to bring a bit of happiness into the world.

Tent London 2012 review -3form tiles
Tent London 2012 review -3form tiles
Gorgeous (but very expensive) irridescent sculpted bespoke tiles were on display from 3Form solutions.

Tent London 2012 review -Lisa Grue avantgarden
And then I chanced upon Lisa Grue, who I last met in Copenhagen a year ago. She was taking in part in Tent London with a group of artist/designers working in multiple disciplines under the name avantGarden.

Tent London 2012 review -Lisa Grue avantgarden
Tent London 2012 review -Lisa Grue avantgarden
Tent London 2012 review -Lisa Grue avantgarden
Titled Beautiful Mortality, all of avantGarden‘s work was inspired by the beauty of life, death and decay and all the designs were rendered in a limited colourway of cream and browns – quite a departure from Lisa’s usual colourful work. I loved her moth and fox designs and her huge hand-appliqued wall hanging.

Tent London 2012 review -Meyer-Lavigne
Tent London 2012 review -Meyer-Lavigne
Bulbous painted ceramic plant pots from Meyer-Lavigne were also particularly wonderful.

Tent London 2012 review -Louise Gaarmann
Louise Gaarmann presented some tactile ceramics in imaginative combinations of shapes. Together with textile designer Tina Ratzer she had created Mr.Craftsman, a huge tribal coat in pure wool accessorised with hanging ceramic talismans.

Our Man_ratzermeetsgaarmann mr craftsman
Don’t forget to take a peek at my pick of this years furniture design too.

Categories ,2011, ,3Form, ,avantGarden, ,Beautiful Mortality, ,Bluebellgray, ,brooklyn, ,ceramic, ,copenhagen, ,Danish, ,Designed and Made, ,digital, ,Duck, ,Fi Douglas, ,Flavor Paper, ,Happy Happy, ,kitsch, ,Lisa Grue, ,London Design Festival, ,Louise Gaarmann, ,Meyer-Lavigne, ,Neon Lights, ,rca, ,review, ,Sarah Blood, ,scratch ‘n’ sniff, ,screenprinting, ,Stephen Johnson, ,surface design, ,Swarovski, ,Tent London, ,textiles, ,Tiles, ,Tina Ratzer, ,Underwerket Projects, ,Wallpaper

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up 2012 Special: An interview with fashion illustrator Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

As a self-proclaimed lover of illustrating and in particular illustrating fashion, I eagerly made my way to this year’s Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair at Somerset House. Pick Me Up is a massively important date for anyone interested or involved in Illustration and Graphic Design, and was excellently reviewed by fellow Amelia’s Magazine illustrator Emma Block this year, most definitely worth a read, here as well as of course by Amelia herself.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum All photography by Alia Gargum

It was it a perfectly sunny London day, and I had an extra little spring in my step as Fashion Illustrator legend Jason Brooks was going to be illustrating live alongside the other guest artists and designers. You might not immediately recognise Jason Brook‘s name but you will surely know his slick, feminine style. He now has an impressive and growing client list, including Virgin Atlantic, L’Oréal, Vogue, Elle, and The Sunday Times Style Magazine, where I first remember seeing his work in print.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

I immediately approached the friendly-looking Jason Brooks who was chatting to visitors while illustrating, hanging up his work to create a makeshift gallery. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to be so open and easy to speak to, willing to give his time and simply chat. While we talked favourite materials to use and the loveliness of ink, I noticed that he was looking at me very carefully, which is when he confessed that he was illustrating me. Moments later, a beautiful ink illustrated version of me was produced, created on a page from an old french dictionary. He had been illustrating visitors all day, drawing inspiration from them and selling the portraits to those who wished to take an original Jason Brooks portrait home. I cannot thank him enough for the long chat, and the questions he answered so well, the best of which are written here.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

You’re one of the first modern-day Fashion Illustrators I remember seeing in print just as illustration made it’s massive (and continuing) comeback. What was your first big commission?

My first big commission arrived when I was in my early twenties studying Graphic Design at Central St Martin’s, which at the time was in Longacre in Covent Garden. It was an exciting place to be and every day there had an almost party-like atmosphere, buzzing with creative energy, conversation and ideas. One day a message arrived from Vogue (before e-mail) for me to come in with my portfolio as I’d recently won an illustration competition they were running. I was immediately commissioned by Vogue to illustrate a story about New Orleans which ran over about six pages and included a whole double page spread. I remember buying a copy from a newsstand as soon as it came out, feeling on top of the world. I used coloured oil pastels on black card for this first important commission, giving the work a very direct and vibrant look. I then became a regular contributor to Vogue under the wonderful art direction of Paul Eustace. I used it as an opportunity to experiment with different media and styles in print, including some early computer illustrations, so I was the first to use a computer to illustrate for Vogue back at the very beginning of the nineties.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

You’ve drawn at Paris Couture shows for The Independent, which led to more catwalk illustrating for a range of publications like Elle and Visionaire magazine. What do you love most about drawing at the shows?

Backstage is the most interesting place to draw at a fashion show. Not only is everything much closer, but the variety of poses and activities going on provides a whole range of Degas-like subjects. Models sitting in front of mirrors being carefully made up, impromptu fashion shoots going on, camera crews, interviews and striking people are everywhere as subjects. Drawing directly from the catwalk is more difficult to do well because outfits are only visible for a limited time, but nowadays it’s easy to take lots of digital photographs and work up drawings later. I love the drama and art front of the catwalk at fashion shows too, the crowd is always fascinating. The fact that every catwalk show is a one off performance, with high stakes for those involved as well as ever-increasing production values can create really intense theatre, so I love that too.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

What advice would you give to a graduate who wants to get some experience in illustrating from the catwalk?

I started off by working for magazines who would give me accreditation and passes to go to shows as a photographer, after a little prompting from me. I would then simply take my sketchbook instead of a camera. I think when you are starting out it’s all about first of all putting together a portfolio that you feel confident to show people, and then making appointments and really pushing your work out there. I would speculatively arrange lots of ‘go sees’ and then jump on a plane to New York or Paris and try to get work, but perhaps business was more often conducted in a face-to-face way at that time. Going to the Paris couture shows with the Independent began because their editor Marion Hume approached me after I left the Royal College of Art. Luckily, I had work and sketchbooks from travelling to different places that I was able to show, so I would also say that travel drawing is a great foundation for drawing fashion. As a graduate, or anyone for that matter, some catwalk shows are much easier to get access to than others, so if you are interested in drawing at shows it might be best to start with more accessible fringe and off-schedule designers at fashion week and then work up from there.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

Thanks to the rise of digital design, a lot of Fashion Illustration has a slick, smooth, and sharp look to it. You were doing this long before it became popular. What drew you to this technique?

I was striving to create a look from using areas of flat colour for a long time before I started using computers on a regular basis. As with my Vogue commission, I used oil pastels to try to achieve this but I also really liked collage, cutting up books and magazines and experimenting with very flat gouache paint. Computers first came to my attention as a way of making pictures in the late 80′s and early 90′s, and once scanning drawings became an option I was able to combine my familiar drawing on paper with computer colouring techniques, and that particular look was born.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

Your style is undoubtedly feminine and luxurious. Has this always been the case or did it develop gradually?

The luxurious aspect perhaps is just from my idea of drawing things that are well designed and have an aesthetic appeal to me, so it was never a grand plan, just something that has happened quite by accident. I suppose it has developed over time to a certain extent because my taste has changed as I’ve learned more about architecture, fashion, design, film and so on. Looking back, I think my work has also been a reflection of a glamorous time for the western world where mid-century modernism has really come back and been reinvented through magazines like Wallpaper and through the activities of a whole generation of tastemakers in all areas of design. I happen to love drawing women because I think they can create powerful images, so in all it has been fun for me to reflect our culture’s interest in luxury and design through my illustrations.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

What are your favourite materials to work in and which digital techniques do you find yourself using again and again?

I love good old pen and paper. Biros are actually very subtle drawing tools, but I also use 4B pencils to draw out ideas and sketches which I then scan into my computer. I mainly use Photoshop and Illustrator to create my pictures digitally so I definitely still combine very basic old school technology – the dip pen, the pencil, etc. with the latest computer programmes. They are however all just tools, and I would be equally happy working in clay or building a sculpture out of sand on a beach.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

This year was your first as a guest artist at graphic design fair PIck Me Up at Somerset House. What did you enjoy and what surprised you about the whole experience?

It was a great chance to simply play with inks and coloured pencils. I made about 30 pictures or so, scribbling in an old french dictionary and on pieces of coloured paper throughout the day, which made me really enjoy the experience creatively. What surprised me was meeting so many new people who were interested in what I was doing, it was really rewarding to have direct contact and chat to them about their creativity too.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

You’ve had an impressive career so far, what do you think has been the reason(s) for your success?

Thank you, although I really don’t see myself as being successful yet. I guess any success I’ve had so far could be because I started at a very young age and have put a lot of effort and practice into my illustration because I enjoy it so much. I was fortunate in a way to have had a childhood without the modern phenomena of ‘screen time’ so I was able to immerse myself in my imagination through drawing worlds of my own instead of exploring ones created by other people. This lead on to college when creating work on paper was still very important, giving me the benefit of a ‘traditional’ academic art college experience with very little modern technology available unless I sought it out. I’ve always loved experimenting with all kinds of art forms and media, so when the digital revolution arrived in illustration and art I was very open to it and in a lucky position to be able to ride that particular wave from the beginning.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

What can we next expect from Jason Brooks?

I’m just finishing my first book called ‘A Paris Sketchbook’, which is due out in 2013. It is an eclectic collection of my own drawings and illustrations and a homage to a city which I love, published by Laurence King. My dream is that it will be the first in a series of travel sketchbooks covering different iconic cities. Aside from this I’m involved in a number of commissions with different companies and brands around the world, which is a part of my work that I really enjoy because it gives me the chance to collaborate with so many interesting people, adding a sometimes unexpected variety to what I do. I’ve also just signed with a new agency in New York called Traffic, so that’s exciting. Recently, I’ve completed a new collection of artwork for sale on my website called ‘The Gelato Series’ – all about girls eating ice cream in retro, sexy colours.

Jason Brooks Pick Me Up 2012 by Alia Gargum

It’s fascinating to hear from someone who has managed to carve such an astonishing career in fashion illustration. What a lovely guy. Be inspired! See more of Jason Brooks’ work online hereAmelia

Jason Brooks portrait

Categories ,2012, ,80s, ,90s, ,Alia Gargum, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,catwalk, ,Central St Martins, ,collage, ,couture, ,Covent Garden, ,Creativity, ,Degas, ,Digital Art, ,Elle Magazine, ,Emma Block, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Feminine, ,gouache, ,illustrator, ,Jason Brooks, ,L’Oreal, ,Luxury, ,Marion Hume, ,New Orleans, ,new york, ,paris, ,Paul Eustace, ,Photoshop, ,Pick Me Up, ,portrait, ,Royal College of Art, ,Somerset House, ,The Independent, ,The Sunday Times, ,travel, ,vogue, ,Wallpaper

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Augusta Akerman: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Augusta Akerman 'a section of my first litho print'
Augusta Akerman is yes, you got it, yet another Camberwell College of Arts graduate. She contributes a painterly image to my colouring book inspired by a love of 50s modernism. Find her in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available now on Kickstarter.

Augusta Akerman 'Couples and Technology'
I love the way you draw figures, which artists have inspired you? I think they look very Henry Moore-esue
Yes you are very right! I have always been very inspired by that particular period around 1950‘s modernism, Festival of Britain era, having been brought up on artists like Moore, Hepworth, Ravilious and Bawden. These were the artists my parents loved, so we were always going to galleries to see this kind of work. Every summer we go to Cornwall and St.Ives was and still is an annual pilgrimage to see Hepworth‘s studio and garden, I could probably draw it from memory. After finishing my MA I had been introduced to what I would call ‘Now Illustration‘ and I found myself constantly looking at contemporaries’ work and worrying about my style. Earlier this year I decided that I was just going to let myself be influenced by the painters, sculptors and designers I grew up loving and have found myself much happier with my work.

Augusta Akerman 'Swimming Against'
Why did you decide to move away from your first degree in fine art photography towards illustration?
Towards the end of my BA at Glasgow College of Art I was already starting to move away from photography. I was making small artist books with a combination of illustrations and photographs and enjoying putting them together, designing covers and hand binding them. I returned to London and worked as a photographers assistant all the while drawing at home in the evenings and weekends. I think this was a real time of discovery for me. I was so embarrassed about my drawing skills that I didn’t really show or tell anyone but kept hundreds of small A5 sketchbooks with random illustrations in. In the end I became more and more confident and illustration naturally took over. I also wasn’t particularly interested in digital photography as I enjoyed using film so I think cost and lack of regular access to a darkroom also contributed to me moving away from it. However I still take photographs, film and digital, who knows what will happen next.

Augusta Akerman 'Sea to Stone'
What did you do in the period between your BA and MA studies?
I worked as a Set Decorator in film and advertising. I fell into this career, starting as an art department assistant and gradually working my way up. It was a very enjoyable job most of the time but could be also be extremely intense and stressful. In the end the feeling that I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted to do took over and I made the decision to do the MA. I was so frightened to leave that job, because in that world you spend years making contacts and working for little money in the hope of getting somewhere. I am very lucky to have made some good friends whilst working in film and still do the odd job here and there.

Augusta Akerman 'mono print portrait'
Why did you choose Camberwell for your MA?
I chose Camberwell because it was the nearest illustration course to my parent’s house! In order to do the MA I had to move back home and save as much as I could, and I could walk there in under half an hour. The MA represented a way to take a year off from film and see if Illustration could possibly be an option for me. I didn’t apply anywhere else so it was Camberwell or nothing. When meeting the head tutor Jan Woolley and visiting lecturer Chloe Cheese, I had an overwhelming feeling that this was it, I was very close to making a big change in my life, I would have cried my eyes out if they had said no!

Augusta Akerman 'Plastic Sea Soup' nominated for One to Watch
You have described your work as a combination of classic illustration and abstraction, what does this mean in practice?
This is because I think it sits between these two worlds, sometimes I can be quite real in my representation of animals and people, and at other times I just want to work with shapes and textures. I also tend to prefer work that takes a theme or idea and presents it not as a realistic depiction, but one that leaves room for the viewer to project their subconscious onto it.

I definitely think there is an influence of the classic in what I do as inspired by great artists like Tove Jansson and Pauline Baynes. But I aim to give a sense of modern movement and sculptural weight to some pieces by working with dark texture and light washes. I spent a long time being quite soft and delicate with my line and colour choices, so I’m enjoying this moment right now where I’m being braver using black crayons and ink to be more blocky and meshing them with the silky lace lines of water colour and gouache.

Augusta Akerman 'a section from the Great Migration'
What is your preferred way to approach a new piece of work when first starting to create it?
Depending on whether it is a personal project or a commission I tend to do things differently. However they both start the same way, with research. I love researching the subject and finding out different meanings or views or small snippets of information that can be included in the work to give a little extra detail that maybe only 2 percent will ever ‘get’ but will still interest others. I work either at my desk or sometimes in my dad’s studio. When at my desk I usually put on Radio 4 or a documentary on my computer that I listen to like a radio play, otherwise I get distracted by the images if I can see the screen! When in my dad’s studio I’m usually doing something a bit more messy like mono printing or lino, he tends to listen to the radio too or is working on the computer.

How do you combine pen with litho and other methods of production?
I always work by hand, first sketching in my sketchbook, then taking the images to another level of finish either by painting over them or developing them with mono printing or another print process until I like the way they look. I like the play between hand and digital imagery, computers are extremely useful when cleaning and adding colour to images but I sometimes feel I get overwhelmed by the possibilities. I think in this extremely accessible digital age it’s easy to put off the actual thinking of the development of a piece until it is staring you in the face with 100 layers in Photoshop. I find it hard to think clearly with the back lit white screen and feel more in control with a bit of paper in front of me.

Augusta Akerman 'Amelia's Colouring Book' for online interview RGB
What inspired your piece for my colouring book?
Whilst on holiday in Cornwall I had been drawing in my sketchbook, letting my hand and brain sort of automatic draw. I was not thinking about anything in particular but allowing what I had seen or heard that day come out onto the paper. I thought it looked like a diary in a pattern format. When I came back from holiday and thought about the colouring book I returned to the pattern idea and thought it might be nice for people to colour it in. I started automatic drawing again but this time I thought about all the themes I would like to explore in new projects and shapes and images I was interested in. I decided to create a seated figure drawing what would eventually become the wallpaper as I felt this developed the idea of a dreamy state of doodling, of letting your mind wander around your worries and dreams. The male figure was added later and I liked the idea of it also speaking about a relationship with another person who understands your dreams and helps you conquer your worries. They are both just quietly enjoying a moment supporting each other to make this big mural that charts all the ups and downs of creative making. It’s the most colourful piece I’ve made in a while so the brief did pull me out of my comfort zone a bit.

You recently took part in New Designers One Year On – how did you get involved and what project were you showcasing?
I applied to New Designers One Year On on a whim, because I wanted to be proactive to see if I could promote myself and my work in a professional situation. When I was selected I was very happy but also a little terrified as I knew there would be a lot of preparation and self promotion needed to really get the most out of it. I was showcasing the wallpapers and textiles I had made on my MA as well as newer designs and illustrations. I was very lucky to be surrounded by some amazing designers and illustrators and got a lot out of the experience. I had done Pulse earlier in the year with UAL and do think that in the future I might only do one design fair a year, not only due to cost but also due to the amount of energy you need to sustain that level of self promotion to justify it.

Why have you chosen subjects such as climate change for the basis of your designs?
I am very influenced by nature and the natural order of things and have developed a huge respect for the world around us. I am also a constant watcher of all of David Attenborough‘s programs which means I’m a little obsessed with life cycles and repeating patterns. During my MA I knew I wanted to work with pattern and create an illustrated collection of wallpapers and textiles. The life cycles seemed to be a perfect subject as they repeat over and over again. Climate change sneaked into the work, because of researching the migration of animals and reading about the effect climate change is having on their lives, habitats and evolution. For me this is an ongoing theme and subject, I wanted to introduce and present the many circular structures that exist around us in a beautiful and accessible way, as well as providing a piece of information that some may not already be aware of.

Augusta Akerman 'Botanical Institute Wallpaper'
How do you create DIY wallpaper?
There are many ways! I have recently taught a DIY wallpaper class at the South London Botanical Institute where we used craft foam stamps, lino, foam rollers, stencils and direct printing (covering leaves and flowers in paint and pressing onto paper) to create repeat imagery. If you have the time and the space you can buy a roll of lining paper from B&Q and create your own.

What does your residency at the London Print Studio encompass?
I have been working with Lithography, a process I’ve been wanting to explore in more detail for a long time. I love the quality and possibilities of this particular printing process, you can use a number of materials to make your image as well as scratching away layers in the drawing that gives an almost etching like quality. Lithography is a lengthy process which I think puts a lot of people off. I spent 3 and a half hours grinding my large stone to get it right. I have the blisters to prove it! But even this I really enjoyed, it feels quite ancient grinding and preparing the stone then working into it with litho crayons and tusche. You can get an extremely varied quality of line that is then perfectly replicated when printing, but each print is unique with minute changes due to ink placement and roller pressure. I just love it! Although I did find the printing the hardest part this time. I was working one Saturday printing the largest stone and realised I had no more strength left to turn the wheel on the press, thank god I had nearly run out of paper!

How do you hope to grow your fabric design and wallpaper business?
After the Homes and Gardens Fabric Awards, I felt encouraged to continue with my new collection of wallpapers. I have to admit I was starting to feel a little helpless, I had applied for funding to help build the business which I didn’t get and had thought I might need to put it on hold for a while. I am now working on the new collection and hope to have it done by March 2016. It’s very hard trying to start a side business when you’re looking for freelance work and working a part time job, but I enjoy constantly working and thinking up ideas for projects. This is what I wanted! This is why I gave up other careers; in order to be in charge of my own creativity.

Augusta Akerman contributes her work to Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available now on Kickstarter. Make sure you grab a copy before the campaign closes later this month! Read a previous interview with Augusta here.

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