Our artist of the week this week is Katie Walker. Currently completing a Masters degree at Cambridge art school, Katie specialises predominantly in animal illustrations. This artist always felt a connection with animals and takes interest in the current global issues with them. Katie has done a lot since her graduation back in 2013, from illustrating children’s books to board games and putting her art on textiles. We hope there’s lots more in store from this creative woman.
What are you doing today?
I stated my day today by doing a couple hours of gardening! Its nice to be active first thing, it helps my brain to get in to gear and the plants look much happier now and they will be fun to draw from later. As for the rest of the day I will be working on some sketches based on endangered species, most likely from one of David Attenborough’s documentary. I love the way the animals are captured in these documentaries which makes for some interesting sketches. Then later, I’ll create final artwork from them. This evening I will be doing some throwing on the potters wheel at the wonderful Painting Pottery Cafe!
Describe where you do most of your creative work
I tend to split my time between Beaconsfield Studios in Brighton and working from home. Sometimes its nice to cosy up at home and get bits done and go for a lunch time stroll along the sea. I also like to get out and about doing observational drawing in the parks and at coffee shops!
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
I’ve been very lucky since graduating Norwich art school in 2013. I’ve worked on lots of different types of projects, from home wares, textile prints and children’s books to wellington boots and umbrellas. However one of my most favourite projects was a animal themed board game!
What made you decide to become an artist?
I struggled with the academic side of education during my schooling years, however I found art class to be a welcome change. Since finding my feet at college and art school I realised that I was actually doing quite well in the creative world which inspired me to keep going.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently work on a children’s book for my final project of my masters degree in children’s book illustration at Cambridge art school. The book is a work in progress and is going to feature issues of climate change/crisis and endangered animals.
What are the key themes in your work?
Animals and nature are a recurring theme in my practice. I have always been drawn to animals in particular as they are so beautiful. Even as a child I felt a connection with animals – their unassuming and warm temperament grants so much joy and comfort. I tend to hide away from drawing humans, there just not the same!
What would you like people to notice about your work?
I would like people to notice the little details within my work, I like to hide little things here and there. I have been known to add our family dog in to lots of different things, she been featured on a few Sainsbury’s umbrellas through out the years.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
I work with a few different mediums, usually sketching and painting later to be collaged together digitally. I mainly use the ipad pro these days to complete my artwork. I like the flexibility of working in these ways and being able to add and remove bits as I go along.
What equipment could you not do without?
A good old pencil, a fine black pen and the Ipad pro.
Who or what inspires you?
Usually different illustrators get me excited and inspired, however, this can also cause me a lot of anxiety because they are so amazing! Two of my favourite illustrators are Carson Ellis and Beatrix Potter.
How is your art affected by living in this area?
I think my practice is effected by the creative energy that Brighton has, there is always something interesting going on within the art world.
What’s your favourite thing do to locally?
I really enjoy taking a walk along the sea and having a drink on the beach with the sun reflecting in to the sea. It brings a sense of peace and wellness which is always welcomed. I also love trying out of of the vegan foodie places! V360 Ice cream shop is super yumtastic!
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
I tend to enjoy the pop exhibitions at the V&A, from the Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic to you say you want a revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970, the content is always exciting to me!
If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
I would love to have an original Beatrix potter artwork to look at everyday, I love her creativity along side her anatomically correct drawings. I also hope that one day my home is full of artworks from amazing artists friends!
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
Its very hard to chose one artist who I would like to work with. A collaboration with Davide Lakshmanasamy or Ivan Chambers could be a fun project! Also I’d love to work a writer with a passion for animals and children’s stories. I find the writing side of children’s books rather overwhelming.
Who do you think is the most underrated artist?
I think that there are so many artists out there that are incredibly underrated that work very hard, in particular Mr Jake Francis!
What’s your favourite colour?
Indigo! I love the blues!
You can find Katie on Instagram: @katiewalkerillustration