An interview with....Louise Richards

An interview with....Louise Richards

I was always doodling, colouring in or making something when I was little. I’m really showing my age now but I used to love Spirograph and Fashion Wheel and spent many a happy hour enjoying those. When I was a little older I loved creating and drawing different outfits.
                              
What illustrated children's books did you love?
Books were a huge part of my childhood and I still love them now.
My little girl has many of the same books I had as a child and she adores them just as much as I did. From stories like ‘Tiger who came to Tea’, ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’, and ‘Whatever Next’, to authors like Enid Blyton and
Roald Dahl when I was a little older. It was always the stories that would capture my imagination more so than the illustrations as a little girl. Getting lost in the magic of stories and your own imagination was just the best thing growing up. I also remember being fascinated by ‘The Secret Garden’ and reading that over and over again.
I can still picture the paperback copy of the book I had now, with a bottle green front cover and a beautiful scene of overgrowing flowers and foliage.
Charlottes Webb was another real favourite as a child and I still treasure my well worn classic pun paperback edition now.
When you was little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet 
When did you know that you wanted to become an illustrator / artist?
I can’t really pinpoint a time if I’m honest. I don’t think I ever anticipated being lucky enough to make a career out of it. I just always loved drawing and being creative when I was little, and throughout school I enjoyed art and graphic design, so I just followed my passion and pursued that really, and thankfully it’s turned out well! 
I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do whilst at art college, I just knew I loved design. My degree in Surface Pattern couldn’t have been more perfect as it covered everything, and I was able to and the direction I was most passionate about, baby & kids print & graphics.
Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator / artist?
My parents bought me the most amazing sets of Derwent pencil crayons as a child and I have really clear memories of my Mom sharpening and organising them for me while I drew, so clearly they were both my biggest and earliest cheerleaders!
I had great art & graphics teachers at school & college and the most amazing group of tutors on my degree course...so supportive and encouraging. Work placements and live briefs I did throughout my time at University were really invaluable too for gaining an insight to working in the design industry too.
What are three things you cannot live without as an illustrator?
Sketchbook - don’t think you can beat good old pencil and paper to sketch out ideas.
Music - I always have music on while I work. Usually radio 2 or a good playlist or new release on Spotify.
Inspiration - Instagram, blogs, comp shops, Pinterest, magazines, kids books...
image of a swan poster and a girl on a bed looking at a swan poster.
When or where do you feel most creative?
I’ve never really been a morning person so it takes me a bit of time to warm up and get into the day generally, so I’d probably say I feel most creative after lunch and into early evening. I always and some of the best ideas can come when you least expect them to as well, like in the shower, walking the dog or trying to sleep! I kept a notebook by the side of my bed for a while for these very moments!
Who is your illustration hero?
I don’t really have an illustration “hero” and there are so many amazing designers to mention that I love, but when I first hoped to get a job in the design industry I looked to other surface pattern & print designers and was really inspired by the work and careers of Jilly P, Lotta Jansdotter, Mini Labo, Suzy Ultman, Jill McDonald and Naylor Faulkner.
Tell us one thing from your childhood bedroom that you treasured...
A Sebastian cuddly toy from The Little Mermaid.
Tell us about your workspace: is there anything you keep around you while you work to inspire you?
I like to change things up every now and then but at the moment I’ve got framed prints by Rose Jocham and Candice Gray, a concertina style book by Louise Lockhart, a selection of postcards/cards I’ve collected over the years, a ridiculous collection of children’s picture books and a beautiful dried flower bouquet from Happy Blossoms which make me very happy!
image of a desktop with a pink old school radio , some books and pens.
How does your working process usually start?
I always start by gathering ideas and research, then grab a sketchbook and pencil to sketch out my thoughts, characters, typography and any other elements, to get the general narrative and feel before taking it into Adobe Illustrator.
What inspired you to create your favourite M i N i B E A U design?
We wanted a piece of wall art in the collection that parents could really engage with their little one, looking at each letter, asking questions and talking about the animal, object or icon related to it; what are they doing? What colour is it? What shape is it? etc...
What is your favourite piece from the M i N i B E A U collection and why?
My favourite piece would have to be the ‘Cute animals alphabet’. I just adore creating baby & kids graphics and I love all the different animals and the colour palette. It would be at home in any nursery, playroom or toddler bedroom.
When I had my little girl I kept her nursery very neutral and bought in colour using decorative pieces, accessories, toys and wall art, and the muted palette we used for this piece is perfect for that. My daughter loves this print and points out all the animals, but her favourite is the star!

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