Well, you probably already know that both Dave and I have a big ol’ design crush on Gemma Correll. Her work tickles us pink every time we see it; we love her illustrations of pompous cats and super-cute pooches, and are hooked on her addictive daily diaries (we still feel ridiculously proud to have been featured in one of them).
Gemma recently won a competition to become an ADC Young Gun, a prestigious title that recognises her talent and is certainly an indication of greater things to come! If you fancy finding out a bit more about Gemma and her pug, Mr Norman Pickles, have a gander at our interview below...
Tell us a bit about yourself... Who are you, and what do you do?
I'm Gemma and I am a freelance Illustrator. I draw pictures and I also design and make things like tote bags and greetings cards (and tea towels!) I have a Pug called Mr (Norman) Pickles and I live in Norwich for the time being, although I'll be moving away fairly soon... hopefully.
When did you first realise that you wanted to work as an illustrator for a living?
I knew when I was very young (about five) that I wanted to draw pictures for a living, although I hadn't heard the word "Illustrator" at the time. I used to draw all the time at home and at school. I would always make the posters and flyers etc. for School plays and fêtes and I also, geekily, had my own page in my parent's Church's Newsletter. It was called "Kidz Korner" ....CRINGE. I also made a comic called The Chatterbox while at Primary School. I was most interested in combining illustration and stories - narrative illustration, if you will.
I'm torn between cats and pugs. I like drawing cats because I've had a lot of practice (I've been drawing them for years and years) so they come quite naturally to me now. But Pugs are fun- they have silly faces and wrinkles and curly tails, which are perfect for drawing. Plus, I have the best muse ever in Mr Norman Pickles.
Which other people working in the same industry do you admire the most?
Oh, there are so many! I never cease to be amazed (and slightly intimidated) at the number of super-talented people out there... But, let's go with: Meg Hunt, Mel Stringer, Jeffrey Brown, Tom Gauld, Harriet Russell and Camilla Engman, to name but a few.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I'd probably be a Teacher. I was a special needs TA for two years but in the end, I had to make a choice between that and illustration. It's something that I will probably go back to in the future.
What’s the hardest thing to illustrate, and why?
Anything that I don't draw or look at very much. For example, I had to draw a gun yesterday and my first attempt looked like some kind of malformed banana. I also find cars quite difficult to draw.
What’s been your favourite project to date?
I'm working on a really fun project at the moment, but it's top secret!
I enjoy designing motifs for T-shirts, etc. So my favourite past projects have been designing products for All-Mighty, Monoblock and of course, To Dry For (I'm such a suck-up! But really, I did have a lot of fun designing the Kitty-in-a-teapot.)
If you could be any animal, what would it be?
I'd be a Pug, naturellement.
Can you tell us a joke?
What's brown and sticky?
And finally, who does the washing up in your household (and do they use your ‘Tea Time’ tea towel)?
Me and Anthony both do it - but Mr Pickles helps (by snuffling around our feet).
We don't use the Tea Time tea towel (I don't often keep my own products) but I know that my grandmothers both use theirs (they got one each for Christmas last year).
You can find out more about Gemma Correll on her shiny new (and incredibly cool) website: www.gemmacorrell.com